Holidays can be a real challenge for families where both parents have children from former relationships. Céline and Christophe have been living together in Paris since 2011 and each of them has three children. They have some free time available and are hoping to travel. However, six children makes things expensive and means that organising a holiday can quickly become a bit of a nightmare. However, since they have signed up on NightSwapping this summer, they’ve already hosted visitors four times and been on three trips themselves, both in France and abroad. We were therefore interested in meeting these two enthusiastic NightSwappers. Here’s what they had to tell us.

Céline & Christophe interview

What were your initial impressions when you discovered the idea of NightSwapping?

When you have a large family, it makes organising holiday accommodation complicated and very expensive. For this reason, I’m already used to searching for special deals and packages etc. I’ve been familiar with the concept of home swapping for a long time now. In fact I’m a big fan of the idea: it’s something the whole family enjoys and it means you don’t end up in a cramped, rented accommodation costing an arm and a leg. We also really enjoy both hosting guests and staying with other people!

When we first found out about NightSwapping I thought it was a really great idea, exactly what we needed for weekend breaks away.

Are you using the sharing economy in any other ways?

We’ve been really trying to get involved in it for several years now. We’ve both been members of a service exchange website for the last three years for example, and we’ve also begun using the car rental site Drivy.

For us, this kind of economy is the future! We’re looking forward to the day when it will be possible to join forces in order to buy a car or a washing machine. I think that all of us in our own way, even if we don’t have considerable resources, are in a position to be of service to someone by providing something we have that they don’t. Though this kind of economy is still in its infancy, I do think it will eventually become essential to operate in this way.

I actually think NightSwapping is a very good example of the sharing economy idea, much better than other services such as Airbnb, which have really just become businesses for many of their users .

What do you like in particular about NightSwapping?

What we like about NightSwapping is no money is involved between members. You do of course pay the website itself for the service it provides, but that’s only to be expected. There’s no money exchanged between the individuals who use it however, which makes it more honest and straightforward, and it’s more interesting than what you see going on with other services. The concept really matches our personal life philosophy well, which is namely to share what we have.

And also, we have free rooms during the week when the children aren’t here and it’s ridiculous to have them unoccupied when we can host other people and therefore help them reduce their travel costs. We see it as a way of providing a service, and that’s something we like doing.

As a final point, I do realise that you need to have the right attitude to do this kind of thing. You need to be willing to share your home, have a certain amount of faith in other people, etc. Each time we meet new people, we end up finding that we’re actually all on the same wavelength and a certain opening of the mind takes place. This is the reason why we are so enthusiastic about collaborative services: it’s really enjoyable getting to meet people like this.

The people we’ve got to know through NightSwapping have been wonderful. When we went to stay with a couple in Amboise, for example, they treated us like members of the family!

AmboiseThe royal Château d’Amboise, one of the Loire region’s most impressive castles

Do you have a particular NightSwapping experience you’d like to share?

When we went to Amboise in Indre-et-Loire, we immediately felt at home with our hosts. We had a small aperitif when we arrived and all had breakfast together the next day. They even made a cake especially for us!

Do you prefer guest rooms or having a whole place to yourselves?

We enjoy both! In Amsterdam, for example, we had a whole place to ourselves. The only disappointing aspect was that we didn’t get to meet our host. This was a pity, because I do prefer it when I get to meet the person involved. Nevertheless, we were delighted with the experience. The owner was nice enough to trust us with their whole apartment. The second person who hosted us in Amsterdam was wonderful!

Rianna is a lovely young woman who really took the time to show us round her accommodation and tell us the best places to go, such as the little restaurant she knew that we went to dine at in the evening.

Nightswap in AmsterdamNightSwap in Amsterdam, at Rianna’s place

If you had to describe NightSwapping in three words?

Easy to use, genuine, and pleasant to deal with!

A big thanks to Céline & Christophe for taking the time to talk to us. If you’re planning to visit the capital, feel free to get in touch with them to arrange a Parisian NightSwap. They’ll be delighted to have you stay!