How expensive are hotels during the National Day holiday this year? A room that originally cost one hundred and twenty Dollars a night has increased to one hundred and eighty dollars. According to reports, a “stairwell room” in a hotel has increased to$200 a night.
But this is not a problem for the “stingy” young people. They find a new way to live in other people’s homes instead of hotels. They only need to spend two to three hundred dollars. Some even don’t spend a penny. They exchange accommodation with each other and wait for the right opportunity. Let roommates come to your own city and live in your own home.
On the eve of the holidays, such solicitation posts with keywords such as “exchange travel”, “house exchange travel” and “stay at my house during the National Day” dominated the charts on multiple social platforms, with netizens from all over the country matching themselves in the comment area of the post. This generation of young people is engaging in a very new kind of tourism.
In fact, “house-swap tourism” has been popular in European and American countries for many years. The first time many people heard this term was in the 2006 movie “The Holiday”, in which the two heroines living in rural London and Los Angeles, respectively, After being emotionally frustrated, they met online and discussed exchanging their homes for a vacation at Christmas.
The original purpose of “house exchange tourism” is to enjoy the fun of “living elsewhere” by exchanging residences, save money and worry (you can use the living facilities at home), and also appreciate the local customs. Among the “house-swap travel” group, many people have the dream of spending tens of thousands of dollars and a few years to travel around the world.
However, unlike foreign countries, the primary purpose of “housing exchange tourism” that is currently popular among young people in China is to reduce costs, while cultural experience, socializing with friends, and integrating into life still require more trust and time.
What do young people think about staying in other people’s homes instead of hotels?
A large part of the reason why “room-swapping travel” has become popular is that during this year’s long holiday, prices in hotel chains and B&Bs have frequently risen, ranging from double to triple.
By this year’s National Day, topics such as “The 680 dollars B&B was quietly adjusted by the platform to 2,780 dollars for the National Day” and “Shanghai hotel room prices generally increased two or three times during the National Day” were on the hot searches.
As early as early September, Nan was busy booking a hotel for a music festival. She finally booked a hotel chain with a price of 506dollars a night. When she arrived at the hotel, she found that the price of the same room type had risen to nearly 900 dollars a night. On the way to the hotel by taxi, the driver told Anan that this hotel just opened this year, and the usual price is only two to three hundred dollars.
With hotel prices rising in various places, keywords such as “stay at my house during the National Day”, “room exchange travel” and “exchange travel” have become popular.
Yueyue traveled to Beijing on November this year. Just when she lamented the high cost of accommodation, she accidentally saw the post “Stay at my house on November” and privately messaged her roommate to book a house. She spent a total of 2,000 dollars in ten days (a deposit of 200 dollars). And if you spend the same money to book a hotel in the same location, you can only stay for two days.
” The reason why I choose this mode of travel is to save money. ” Yueyue said bluntly that she visited many hotels, but the prices were generally too expensive. If it was a hotel near the subway, the rooms were small, the equipment was old, and the sanitary conditions were average. Some even had no Windows, after comprehensive consideration, I decided to try to change rooms for travel.
The popularity of this type of travel can be seen as a decent choice made by stingy young people between traveling experience and reducing costs.
In the first half of this year, special forces tourism sparked the “low-cost for happiness” mentality among young people. In order to travel to more cities and save money on accommodation, these young people chose to sleep in Haidilao or bathing centers. At that time, there began to A group of college students choose to travel through exchange dormitories. Subsequently, the group of people changing accommodation gradually expanded to include migrant workers and parent-child tours.
In addition to saving money, some people choose to “exchange accommodation” and “swap travel” in order to make money.
Among them, a group of B&B hosts in tourist cities have noticed that room exchanges can be carried out during the off-season to improve room mobility. During the peak tourist season, a group of homeowners rent out their houses for short periods of time to earn extra money.
Nuanfeng renovated a house at the beginning of this year. Because he wanted to travel to many places, he posted a post about “house-swapping travel”. People responded one after another, but the trip never happened, so he decided to change the house into a B&B. If there is a suitable time and city, the exchange will be carried out. Normally, it is used to receive tourists. Now it has received more than a dozen guests.
A girl who rented a house in Nuanfeng had already gone abroad to study. At that time, the girl was heartbroken and had to take exams abroad, so Nuanfeng gave her a very low rent. “Everyone has dark moments in their lives. If you give others a little warmth, you will be very happy.”
However, the popular tourism methods such as “Staying at my house during the National Day” and “exchange travel” have become more general in meaning and have evolved into the form of “low-price B&B”. In fact, the real “house exchange travel” does not involve money exchanges . Experience and test trust.
Chunya, who has been practicing “house-swapping travel” for many years, has been hosting strangers in her home since before the epidemic, and she has hosted them five times in total.
For her, “house-changing travel” can not only save travel expenses, but also improve her travel mentality – she can stay longer and doesn’t have to worry about losses caused by delayed check-out time, and she doesn’t have to arrange a full itinerary. Have a more life-oriented and casual experience.
What’s more, you can book a travel destination. In September this year, Chunya went on a trip to a small city in Inner Mongolia. One of her roommates planned to take her parents to Xi’an, where she lives, in March next year, so Chunya made an exchange with the other party in advance. In her schedule, there are already roommates in Jiangxi, Qingdao, Guangdong, Hong Kong and Shanghai ready to exchange.
Can I really save money and worry by exchanging houses?
The popularity of the social topic of “exchange accommodation” has inspired young people’s desire to try it. However, after actual experience, many people find that this way of traveling is “very rational and very skinny in reality.” Although the original intention is to save money, it does not save worry, and there are even fewer people who actually succeed.
A major prerequisite for exchange to be established is that the conditions of both parties tend to be equal. However, in actual pairing, various “mismatching” conditions will be encountered that hinder the exchange.
For example, other people’s homes may not be available when you want to go; most people want to go to first- and second-tier or tourist cities, but the house they own is in a third- or fourth-tier city; different homes have different locations, The space and decoration style, even if the time and place are OK, a very warm and well-designed home will not be worth it if you change it to a home where you can barely sleep.
Nuanfeng is helpless about this. She believes that compared with standardized hotels, exchange travel requires more matching conditions. The question of “is it worth it” is a two-way assessment.
In addition to the matching of hardware, the software during the accommodation process also often appears to be unequal.
For example, the length of exchanges varies. Some cities can be visited in three or five days, but the other party stays for more than a month when they come to exchange. Based on the advice of friends in the exchange travel group, Chunya plans to try to pay 95 dollars/day as a subsidy for the extra time. The cost of water and electricity is also different in different seasons. In summer, if you use air conditioning and take showers frequently, the water and electricity bills are high. Chunya will consciously take pictures of the water, electricity and gas meters when checking in, and pay the water and electricity bills at the end of the trip.
“Speak clearly, and the requirements must be stated in advance.” Chunya concluded that in fact everyone can understand each other, and they are all adjusting and summarizing while running in.
Traveling by changing rooms also involves issues such as personal property safety and personal privacy. For example, it is difficult to define which daily necessities can be used and which ones need to be brought by oneself, which housing spaces are private areas and which are public areas, and how to compensate for theft and damage to items.
Many people’s solution to this problem is to set strict standards in advance. In terms of choosing tenants and houses, I only exchange with same-sex or couples. The house is a house that the owner has left unused or invested in in a resort city, or a house where the host and the guest are separated. For example, the upstairs and downstairs occupy one floor each, and the house is for guests to live in. Don’t leave valuables.
Li Sheng, director of Beijing Zhipu Law Firm, reminded that whether it is house-swapping travel or idle daily renting, because the law has not made specific provisions on such emerging phenomena, the current “house-swapping travel” market is mixed. If a roommate illegally installs cameras or fails to provide fire extinguishers, privacy, hygiene, and fire safety cannot be guaranteed.
Full trust is subjective, but some due procedures are essential. Li Sheng suggested that if you decide to “swap and travel”, it is necessary to retain each other’s identity information, and it is recommended to simply sign a contract and stipulate any legal issues that may arise. If there are no conditions for signing a contract, you can also reach agreement on specific agreements through WeChat chat or phone recording. In addition, it is recommended to properly seal and store the belongings in your room before making the exchange, and take photos and videos to avoid being unable to provide evidence in the event of a dispute.
In short, “house-swapping tourism” is a cooperation that requires extreme trust and consistent three views . But apart from trust, there are still many hidden risks and uncertainties, which make this travel mode more of a “post solicitation” level. There are many people joining in the fun and few people actually communicating.
Yueyue went through a long process of screening in advance, and her family members advised her not to take risks in order to save room fees. To this end, she made two preparations and booked a hotel for 10 nights to avoid being dissatisfied with the short-term rental and having no place to stay. Fortunately, the house is quite clean and tidy, but it is a bit far from the subway station, so I need to take a taxi every time I go out.
But Yueyue also believes that she is just lucky to have met a reliable landlord. Someone said under her “house change” post that she only found out that the place was dirty and messy, that there were many people sharing the house, and she did not save a lot of money. . “Don’t try it easily. Especially for girls traveling alone, it is recommended to stay in regular hotels.”
“House-swapping travel” is destined to be a niche
In fact, house-swapping travel, a seemingly novel way of traveling, has been popular in Europe and the United States in the last century. It allows you to travel to different places at low cost and experience different natural scenery and customs. Around 2011, it also became popular in China. For a period of time, most of the posts in the “House Exchange Travel” group on Douban were posted during this period.
Shenzhen Lang’s father has known about this way of traveling for a long time. As early as 2005, when he was still working at Nokia, his job was rotated to Germany for one year. A local colleague recommended “house-swapping travel” because of free accommodation. Save a lot of money on travel. After actual contact, he and his family found that the housemates who hosted them were very enthusiastic, and some host families even provided unused vehicles for use.
So far, Shenzhen Lang’s father has traveled to most European and American countries by “swapping houses”. After his son Lang Lang was 2 years old, he participated in sailing summer camp and golf summer camp in California, USA, and went to Australia to see kangaroos and Sydney. The opera house, skiing in Switzerland, seeing the Northern Lights and dog sledding in Alaska, etc., were all achieved through “house-swapping travel”.
But why is “house-swapping travel” currently more popular mainly in European and American countries, but is still rare in China?
First of all, the living environment conditions in the country are uneven. Most houses do not have garages and dedicated storage rooms. There are usually a lot of personal belongings in the house, which is difficult to use for “house-swapping travel”. At the same time, some houses have small living areas, and even if they are tidied up, it is difficult to accommodate another family living in them at the same time.
“You must ensure that the exchange house is stable within six months or one year. If you are considering long-term renting or selling, do not exchange it with others. At the same time, there should be corresponding infrastructure in the exchange house. If not, don’t do it. Exchange with others.” Chun Ya said.
Secondly, young people now have to go to work and have the same vacation time. During the off-season, more retirees and digital nomads are willing to “swap and travel”.
As a small branch of the tourism industry, “House Exchange Travel” still has a small domestic audience, which also makes the selection of housing options on professional service websites such as “House Exchange Travel Network” very few.
Finally, there is little incentive to host strangers in your home. What you get from a B&B is room revenue, but what you get from a room-swap trip cannot be measured in money.
Shenzhen Langba’s experience is that you can get a lot from one exchange. For example, you can gain friendship from the other party’s family. Some roommates are willing to help arrange local travel and even connect with local contacts, but the prerequisite is that both families have the same spending power and similar tastes and interests. At the same time, he also pointed out that the quality and education level of landlords who are willing to “swap and travel” are basically higher than those of B&Bs.
However, in the long run, house-swapping travel may become an active niche culture. Families with ideas, large living areas or multiple properties can interact with each other first, and then gradually form a circle based on mutual recommendations among house-swapping roommates. Expand , allow more people with exchange conditions to participate, and add a choice for everyone’s travel.
In recent years, tourism has continued to heat up, giving rise to a series of novel travel modes. From travel pick-ups to car-pool pick-ups, from “special forces-style travel” to “house-swap travel”, new ways of playing games appear during the peak travel season every year. Behind them is the mentality of young people who want to “spend small money to do big things”, but if they want to become more With many young people choosing it, it will take some time for it to become a mainstream travel method.
Lawyer Li Sheng also pointed out that with the intervention of supervision or intermediary platforms in the later period, the market will also move from barbaric growth to gradual standardization. During this process, we hope that both parties will retain the original intention of “swapping houses” and not let the “barbaric growth” destroy the originally beautiful mutual trust between people.
While considering cost-effectiveness, we must also consider the risks we may bear. Everyone has a different definition of travel. Some people like the ultimate cost-effectiveness; some people like to pursue “uncertain” wandering; some people like a safe and worry-free itinerary. No matter what, I hope everyone can have the freedom to “pack up their bags and travel around” and see different versions of themselves in different places.