Everyone knows AirBnB or Roomorama, the successful global lodging agent websites. But there is even more what travellers can do to cut out the middleman (or women) and enjoy authentic vacation experiences: explore cities with local guides, and rent a boat, a bike or a car from a private person. As tourism professor Stephen Page explains: “The need for authentic experiences is there. It’s a natural evolution, facilitated in part by social media.”
Trip4Real offers unique activities in Spain, but expands already to Lisbon, Paris and Rome, all hosted by locals, and as one visitor describes: ‘Lovely tour around an unusual and non-touristy part of the city”. Another traveler: “Spend a morning with the shepherd in the countryside” or “Private Sailing and visit to a traditional fishing town.”
Other experiences could be:
- Mushroom hunting in the forest
- Jetskiing along the sea front of Barcelona
- Discover Granada on a Scooter in a 3h tour
- Photo Safari or Night Photo Tour of the Sea around Tenerife
- Learn how to cook Paella
US visitors to Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco or Seattle are giving car-rental giants, such as Hertz and Alamo the finger and use the service of private car renting. How they find a suitable vehicles? Flightcar lets people parking at the airport rent their vehicles out to other approved traveling members. Every rental is insured up to $1 million, and every renter is pre-screened. Members who offer their car get free parking, a car wash, and get paid if their car is rented out.
A great deal for both sides! “Fast seamless experience with ridiculous low prices. Keep it up and I might sell my car and just rent from FlightCar.”
Traveler who just don’t want to go through the hassle of bringing their own bicycle, snow equipment or surfboard to use them during their vacation, can rent from locals. Spinlister has contacts in 100 countries, and allows you to save money and meet awesome people, along with useful tips for your tours.
Spinlister allows renters to browse a map and access pictures of both owner and bicycle. The Santa Monica firm launched in 2012, and was created as a peer-to-peer bike rental platform to connect the cycling universe, help the environment, and encourage peer-to-peer sharing. Since then, Spinlister has expanded to skis, snowboards, stand up paddle boards (SUP), and surfboards. Spinlister provides a platform for listers and renters to meet. Listers make money by renting their equipment to like-minded people while renters find a variety of rides all over the world for an affordable price.
AirBnB and similar services, such as Roomorama, Wimdu, or 9flats make it easy for you to rent a room (or an entire home), often for a fraction of the price of most hotels. Not only can it save you money, it can also give you a more intimate introduction to your new surroundings.
EatWith / PlateCulture / Feastly
These three agencies provide you with unique supper and dinner party choices around the world, from US cities to Asia, Middle East and Europe. You don’t only get a great home-cooked meal for less, but also friendly local company.
Living in Paris or being there for a while: Don’t miss the Salon “Paris Soirées”. These dinner events - including performances and speeches - are called “Salons” in France and Patricia's have flourished for seven years. Patricia, the hostess: “Thousands of interesting people have attended. I make sure that each person personally introduces themselves to the group, so that we all know how original each person is.” Read an article by the “Part-time Parisian author John Pearce.
Pet Care: DogVacay
Kind of AirBnB for your furry friend. When pets need boarding, it can be costly to go to a doggie daycare and kennelling your beloved dog for days or even weeks can be very hard on it. This pet care site matches you to genuine pet lovers who will treat your baby like it's their own.
“The sharing economy represents the most seismic change for business since the Industrial Revolution”, says Benita Matofska, founder of Compare and Share in a CNN article, which manages a global directory of 7,000 peer-to-peer companies, growing every day."
In the same article Jamie Wong, CEO, Vayable adds: "This levels the playing field by empowering anyone to make a living monetizing their time and knowledge, and giving freelancers and individuals market share in lucrative industries like tourism, which until now have been monopolized by traditional companies."