How the sharing economy can fit into your next trip

How the sharing economy can fit into your next trip

Washington - In 2019, you can turn your phone into an arsenal of travel tools. 

When you fire up the app store, the first options are to be expected - Kayak, Expedia and other traditional online travel agents; in-flight shopping; TripAdvisor; and airlines. But if you keep digging, you'll find options that wouldn't exist if not for the sharing economy.

Peer-to-peer transactions, in which one party buys a service and the other lands a gig, are on the rise and can be found in seemingly every category. In lieu of boarding your pet at a doggy day care, you can find an independent dog-sitter to come stay at your house. Instead of renting a storage unit, you can reserve space in the garage of a stranger who has the room.

There are plenty of these so-called sharing-economy websites and apps to check out for travel purposes, whether you're taking care of logistics or just want to have a good time in a new city. Here are a few to try on your next trip.

We don't have to tell you about Airbnb. You probably already know about some other popular hotel alternatives, too, like Vbro and HomeAway. But there are some other platforms out there that cater to different groups and interests worth exploring.

Love Home Swap, also only a website, is another pick that's great for your budget. The service connects travelers who want to trade places for an agreed-upon amount of time. Both parties get to stay somewhere new without extra housing costs. Think "The Holiday," but with fewer celebrities.

The classic sharing-economy method of transportation (in countries and cities where the services are legal and available) is using ride-hailing services like Uber or Lyft. The former is more prominent abroad and can be a stress-saver when you don't speak the local language. 

Not only can you simply communicate your destination through the app, but you also enjoy added perks of not having to fumble with foreign money or worrying about tipping culture. But there are additional options.

Getaround is a car-rental that's peer-to-peer, eliminating a swing by your traditional Hertz or Avis and letting you get into the driver's seat faster. The app allows travellers to unlock another user's car with keyless entry by using a smartphone.

Spinlister is the most lo-fi way to get around on your trip, with no cars in sight. The app connects bike owners with the bikeless around the world, and also extends to other man-powered vehicles like surfboards and snowboards.

You've arrived in a new place, you dropped your bags in your temporary home and now you want to see what's out there. To explore the surrounding area the share-economy way, turn to the help of locals through services like Vayable, Eatwith and Withlocals.

The sharing economy has eased the trade of goods and service for travelers, but there's no expectation to rely on them fully on the road. The best way to use them: Complement your usual tools or add some excitement to the trip.

The Washington Post