Thanks to advancements in technology, the sharing economy has taken off in recent years. Apps like Airbnb, Uber, and others have become widespread all over the world.
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In a recent Vacation Confidence Survey conducted by Allianz Travel Insurance, 41 % of Americans responded they are either “very” or “somewhat” likely to use sharing economy services during their upcoming travels. We love hearing these stats because not only do sharing economy services allow travelers to save on their trips, but many of these start-ups are also great for local communities and for the environment.
Here are our favourite sharing economy apps that are great to use at home and on your travels!
Sharing Economy Apps That Are Perfect for Travel
As one of the first sharing economy apps in the world, Airbnb certainly deserves a mention on this list. Through the app, you can rent everything from spare rooms in small apartments to luxury living spaces, including penthouses, glamping tents, treehouses, and more.
Despite the popularity of Airbnb, the app has recently faced some criticism, noting that short term rentals were exacerbating urban inequality by driving up rental prices and making apartments in many cities inaccessible to local residents. As a result of these findings, we no longer recommend Airbnb rentals in big cities, but find that the app still offers an opportunity to stay with locals in smaller towns and off the beaten path destinations.
What we also love, is Airbnb’s recently launched Experiences, which allow you to book tours and activities with locals through the platform. This is an awesome use of your tourism dollars because it directly supports local tour guides as well as giving you an awesome experience.
Couchsurfing is an awesome app for travelers who are on a very tight budget. The premise is that you can sleep on other travelers’ couches around the world as long as you host people on your own. This opens up the possibility of free accommodations around the world for those who are willing to pay it forward.
With Trusted Housesitters, you can get hired by homeowners to watch their homes and sometimes even pets when they are away on a trip themselves. It does require a yearly membership fee, but if you get just a single house-sit over the course of the year, it is probably well worth it.
Camp in My Garden
Camp Space is a unique concept for those who want to save money by staying outdoors. The app allows you to rent spaces in locals’ backyards and gardens for very low prices. You have to bring your own camping gear, but if you’re already going on an outdoor trip, it’s a great choice.
Uber is the best-known ride-sharing service out there. You can book rides like you would with a taxi but at much lower prices. Uber is most popular in North America and Europe.
Grab is the Asian version of Uber. You can use it all over the continent to get rides in cars or even on the backs of motorbikes. Grab will also deliver food to your door.
BlaBlaCar is an organized carpooling app that allows you to find people driving in the direction you want to go and ride with them for an extremely low cost. It’s a great app for anyone who is looking to reduce their carbon footprint on the road!
Want to know what it’s like to eat in grandma’s kitchen around the world? With the Eatwith app, you can! Use this app to book food experiences in the homes of locals to see how they cook, serve, and carry on the culinary traditions of their cultures.
Too Good To Go
This is an awesome new app that aims to eliminate food waste around the world. When restaurants are close to closing time and haven’t sold all of their food, they can offer it on Too Good To Go at a discounted price. A lot of times, you won’t know what dish you might be getting exactly, but it’s almost always a good deal. Not only will you be eating cheap, but you’ll also be helping the environment by reducing food waste.
If you want to get to know a new city in a more refreshing way than through your standard walking tour, consider hiring a local to take you around. With Locals is an app that lets you do just that. Choose from a variety of different themed tours or customize your itinerary to fit your interests.
ShareGrid is one of the best sharing economy platforms for camera gear. On ShareGrid, you can rent things like cameras, drones, gimbals, GoPros, and more to capture your trip.
Sharing Economy Apps That Are Great for Home
OLIO is a great, hyper-local app that connects neighbours with each other and with local businesses to help eliminate food waste. Going on vacation and find yourself with a fridge full of food that you wont be able to eat before you leave? Put all the perishable items in your fridge on Olio and wait for someone in your neighbourhood to take it off your hands. You can also use Olio to share non-food items as well!
Deliveroo is also a food delivery company and operates in more than 200 cities worldwide. Lots of deliveries are done on bikes, minimizing the carbon footprint of your meal and helping a local earn a bit of cash on the side. Just a word of warning – if you are ordering delivery, make sure that you choose a restaurant with an eco-conscious mindset that uses recyclable packaging and not styrofoam.
Zipcar is one of the dominant car-sharing economy companies in the USA. With Zipcar, you can rent cars for minutes, hours, or days, but you do need to pay a subscription fee to use the service. Still, it’s a great alternative to buying a car of your own.
If you want a new wardrobe for an upcoming trip but don’t want to buy clothes that you may only wear once or twice a year, using a sharing economy app may offer a great solution. Style Lend is an app that lets you rent clothes online, and yes, even take them with you on vacation. So you can spice up your wardrobe with some fun vacation items without contributing to the fast fashion movement.
Fat Llama is a platform where you can loan out and rent just about anything from electronics to sporting equipment to campervans to bicycles. You can also buy things on this platform just like you would on eBay.
All of these apps have great potential for use either at home or on the road. You could use Airbnb to find your next vacation rental or you could use it to rent out your spare room to travelers. You could use Uber or Grab to take cheap rides around your destination, or you could drive for them and earn money to save for your next trip.
We love and use many of these sharing economy apps on our travels. If you haven’t tried out the ones on this list that are relevant to you, we highly recommend you do so and see for yourself how they can improve your travels!
What’s your favourite sharing economy app?
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post brought to you by Allianz Travel (AGA Service Company). As Brand Ambassadors we have received financial compensation from Allianz, but as always, all opinions expressed in this article are our own.