Flight Departure Board, CDG Paris, France / Photo Credit: Pichenettes

Flight Departure Board, CDG Paris, France / Photo Credit: Pichenettes

With summer fast approaching,  traveling in Europe has a new trend emerging, sharing.  Cox and King International predict that 2015 is likely to see a new twist on the “sharing economy.”  What is sharing?  Instead of staying in a hotel or hostile, sharing allows you the opportunity to stay with local residents in their homes.  This  will provide you with a more personal experience as well as being easy on the budget.  Sharing is not only for housing, but also includes activities and dinner.  There are many websites that promote sharing so that tourists can have a unique traveling experience.

European Bedroom / Photo Credit: Paul L (ny156uk)

European Bedroom / Photo Credit: Paul L (ny156uk)

Finding Accommodations

There are many ways to find sharing accommodations, and stay with someone in their home.  This allows you to make new friends and to save some money while on holiday.    Airbnb, Couchsurfing, Tripping, and Crashpadder are just four website that can help you secure accommodations and each website appeals to a slightly different audience.  Airbnb and Crashpadder, both are great for singles, couples and professionals on a moderate to high budget.  However, Couchsurfing and Tripping are aimed at the same people just on low budgets, which works great for students or those travelers who are just like to save money.

Dinner with German Family / Photo Credit: Iwona Kellie

Dinner with German Family / Photo Credit: Iwona Kellie

Dinner is Served

When traveling in Europe eating out all the time can get expensive, however with sharing you can find a local who is willing to cook you dinner and all you do is agree on a price before booking.  This will provide you with an authentic home-cooked dining experience.  Peer-to-peer platforms like BonAppeTour, Cookapp, DineWithLocals, EatWith, Feastly, and MealSharing are just some of the popular websites.  Jay Savsani, founder of Meal Sharing (a site that started in 2013 and now includes 450 cities worldwide), says, “It’s obviously a new hot trend, but I see it as reimagining an old paradigm. Now we’re getting back to having meals in people’s homes.”

The art of sharing is growing.  Why?  Jessica Festa, editor of Epicure & Culture, an online magazine dedicated to immersive culinary experiences, suggests “Travel is largely about having novel experiences. I believe the meal-sharing trend is emerging because people want to try new things and break away from the same old.”

Market in Prague, Czech Republic / Photo Credit: Ryan Poplin

Market in Prague, Czech Republic / Photo Credit: Ryan Poplin (poplinre)

Can You Tell Me How to Find…

Instead of walking up to someone with a map and asking for directions, sharing allows tourists to find news means of seeing a city with a local.  And yes, there are websites or this as well.  Tourbylocals, allows travelers to see the photos, read their bios and communicate with the person prior to booking.  Tours are private, allow people to go at their own pace and the benefit with this option is the local’s personal knowledge.  The reassuring aspect of this option is website thoroughly screens the individuals they allow to represent them.

Konnektid allows tourists to find people in the neighbourhood, and get connected.  After setting up an account, all one does is put in what they are looking for say, ‘personal tour of the city’ and it finds people in the area.  The next step is to make an appointment to meet.  This allows locals who love their city to show off what in their eyes are some of the best sites to see.  Word of caution, is be prepared if someone cancels as it does happen and always meet in a public spot.

All that is left to do is book your holiday and give this new trend of ‘sharing’ a try.  If interested in hosting for the sharing experience to make some extra cash or just to meet new people, all the for mentioned websites are looking for new hosts.  Either way sharing will provide you with a one-of-a-kind traveling experience.  #SharingTravelExperience