Photo by Josh Crow
Many ORU students spend time traveling overseas, and with the economy expanding, more people are able to afford to travel. Yet, the cost for hotels and lodging are also rising. Most lodging costs are about 26 percent of total travel costs and hotel prices range from $60 to $140 a night, according to Value Penguin.
James Asquith, the Guinness World Record Holder for being the youngest person to travel to all 196 sovereign nations in the world, decided to change the game and created a travel app called HolidaySwap.
HolidaySwap was founded to combat the travel costs and make international travel more accessible.
“I was in Romania, in a place called Cluj-Napoca, and people were saying ‘Oh, I’d love to travel more.’ I said, ‘Well look, airlines in Europe are so cheap. You can fly to London for like $20 and yet, the common consensus backing people wasn’t necessarily the flight costs,” said Asquith. “It was the accommodation. So we thought, look, most of us have somewhere to sleep at night, why not use that?”
The initial idea of HolidaySwap was to connect like-minded travelers and be matched with someone else to swap their residence for however long both parties decide for only a dollar per night.
“We’re trying to branch out and allow people to be able to make connections around the world,” said Asquith.
Business Insider describes it as “a Tinder-style social media platform that lets travelers swap accommodation around the world.”
While HolidaySwap started off with swapping accommodations in the beginning, people can now choose to host or be hosted for just a dollar.
Whoever users choose to swap or be hosted by is strictly up to the users. The traveler starts by searching specific cities or by utilizing the special feature called “Bags Packed” where the user is matched with other users from all around the world. Once the destination is set, the app matches two users in which they can then chat and see if they are compatible.
A dollar might seem too good to be true and one might wonder how people can profit from this app.
Asquith says HolidaySwap is not a corporation that only cares about profits.
“We’re bringing it right back to the shared economy and try to do something for us all to be able to travel more,” said Asquith.
Many travelers have compared HolidaySwap to already popular Airbnb. Asquith argues HolidaySwap is the better traveling investment.
“Most people can’t put their place on Airbnb because you can’t sublet if you don’t own your place, but with this, no one’s profiting from it so you can,” he said. “You can swap and you can host as well. You have the power to swap your room or your house with someone there and save on the accommodations, which is about 28 percent of the costs to travel or sometimes even more.”
A unique feature about HolidaySwap is the user gets to choose what they want to swap. Those who want to let out their entire house can or even swap a shared bedroom is fine, taking into consideration that the roommates and housemates give their permission.
To ensure that the community of HolidaySwap is as safe as possible, the app has rating systems which people can leave reviews as well as achieve the title of “Top Swapper.” The “Top Swapper” status is given to those who have completed two or more successful swaps with others and have received good reports and satisfaction. It implies that there has been 100 percent success without damages or cancellation.
For ORU students who wish to travel this summer, HolidaySwap is an affordable and immersive option for travel lodging.