Nightswapping is highly inspired from home exchange and couchsurfing. Used by thousands of people in the world, these two concepts have created year after year a travellers community, gathered around the same values of sharing and open mindedness.
Home exchange, a smart but still too confidential concept
Born in the 50s, Home swapping initially appealed to teachers, before spreading to Americans, Australians, Canadians and Europeans. For a long period of time, home exchangers had to show lots of patience in order to finalize their exchanges. Before Internet and the creation of several websites of home exchange, travellers who were interested in this type of stays used to check printed brochures and contact exchangers by mail or by phone at the 4 corners of the world.
These last few years, even though tools have improved a lot, the concept of home exchange is still not used by many travellers from all over the world.
“I’ve fallen in love with the concept of home swapping right away. But I have to say I’ve always had troubles finding what I wanted. The process is long, the websites are sometimes poorly designed and you feel you have to do everything on your own… So even if at the end everything goes well, it requires lots of time and anticipation”, says Serge.
“We decided to try home swapping for 2 weeks abroad with our 5 kids, however we weren’t ready to go anywhere, at any given time. After we signed up to a home swapping website, we sent several requests in Canada. Unfortunately our requests were always declined. At the same time, we received many requests, but none of them was appealing to us. ” says Eric, who owns a house in Lyon.
Couchsurfing, a strong community still not suitable for all kinds of travellers
The story of couchsurfing goes back to the late 90s, when Casey Fenton – who at the time was travelling in Iceland, contacted some students of Reykjavik University in order to be hosted for free and, above all, to immerse himself completely in the culture of the country. He quickly received many positive answers and this is how Casey decided to create, a few years later, with Daniel Hoffer, Sebastian Le Tuan and Leonardo Bassani da Silveira the CouchSurfing association. The objective was clear: create a community of travellers focused on the human aspect, that hosts for free everywhere in the world.
9 years later, the community counts 4 million members. The website is still free and open to everyone.
“I’ve been a couchsurfer for a long time. Adventurous at heart, I registered to the community when I started my world tour 6 years ago. The first time I did couchsurfing, as a traveller, I had a great experience. So I kept on, not just as a traveller. I also hosted quite a few people at my place. It’s a good way of sharing a culture, a language, meeting new people. It’s also true though that the website lacks a bit of structure, sometimes you can find parasites people. It also happens that comfort and hygiene are not really, let’s say, at its best!” says Laure.
Nightswapping, at the crossroads of couchsurfing and home exchange
Keeping this notion and values of sharing, Nightswapping brings old practices up to date, opening it up to all kinds of travellers. Couple, students, families, backpackers… away for work or on holiday for a whole month, everyone can travel for free only by playing the game and hosting as well.
Not easy you’ll say? Not so sure…