TRAVEL

Want To Travel Like A Local? These Sharing Platforms Will Help

And they'll save you some dollars.

20/01/2017 3:57 PM AEDT | Updated 21/01/2017 12:15 PM AEDT

You've heard of AirBnB -- the home-sharing juggernaut that is slowly but surely taking hold of 'the holiday' as we know it.

But, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

With a generational shift towards cheap and cheerful trips and a yearning for 'authentic' local experiences, the 'sharing economy' is now embedded into how we travel.

And whilst it has its drawbacks, it creates convenience and saves dollars -- all the while bringing travellers and locals together.

What is it?

The term 'sharing economy' is not a new one. Also coined peer-to-peer sharing or social lending, it refers to new age social and economic activity.

In the travel space, we're talking about the host of ways travellers can now save or earn money by renting, lending or exchanging unused or underused items or services.

For many, the idea of 'sharing with strangers' is met with unease or scepticism -- and for good reason. But when used in good nature, these platforms can open up a host of adventures and possibilities ...

Share a meal

Eatwith

Think back to your last trip. What comes to mind?

A night of pintxos bar hopping in the Basque food capital, San Sebastien? Or that plate of paella you found in a Valencian hole in the wall?

Food brings us together -- no time more so than being on the road.

GMVozd via Getty Images
Home-cooked is ALWAYS better.

This is exactly the premise of EatWith -- an online platform that connects travellers with locals offering a home-cooked meal.

Launched in 2012, it's now thriving in over 200 cities. Travellers can book a seat at a host's table (or visa versa) and bask in a dose of local cuisine and conversation for a fraction of the cost of that tourist menu.

And if you're lucky, you'll catch a meal cooked by a Michelin-trained chef.

Share an experience

Advlo

Second to food, travel is defined by experiences. But when it comes to experiencing a city, there's a way to go about it. One can only sit through so many hostel walking tours before deciding to guide oneself.

Adventure Local is one step better. It allows locals to be your guide.

From a surfing day in Los Angeles with a local surfer to an Inca Trail hike with locals in Peru, the website allows travellers to find their adventure and contact the host directly.

David Lees via Getty Images
Who knows who you'll meet.

Dabble

Dabble is similar -- with a wider cast net. Keeping up with hobbies -- or trying something new -- is the Chicago-run platform's premise.

For longer travelling stints, a language course in a local community may be just what you're after.

Get around

BlaBla Car

Car and ride sharing is a saturated space -- and a surefire way of saving dollars on small flights or train trips. If you're comfortable with carpooling, Blabla Car is one of the trusted platforms.

This French online ride-sharing company pairs people travelling between cities with drivers who have empty seats in their car. And it has created a global transport network.

Plug in your current city, where you're heading and the platform will scan free drivers for your required date.

Outdoorsy

Are camper vans more your jam? If you're planning a road trip across the Americas, this could be your ticket.

Outdoorsy allows users to list their unused RV or rent one for their journey. All vans are fully insured and are offered at hugely discounted prices.

pixdeluxe via Getty Images
Hopefully your future car chats are this enjoyable.

Find somewhere to sleep

Couchsurfing

There's hotels, hostels... and then there's couch surfing -- an alternative for intrepid travellers on a budget to connect with willing hosts and stay with them for free.

Beyond the obvious red flags surrounding safety and security, the online platform has created a vibrant community of like-minded travellers and locals.

Whether you're willing is entirely up to you.

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