The collaborative economy opens up for all kinds of sharing: gadgets, services and knowledge – and more people are getting interested in travelling in a way that brings you closer to the locals. But how does it work? We give you a beginner’s guide to the sharing economy that might help you take the first step.
It might be to share a ride, go for dinner at someone’s house or just meet a local for coffee. Here are some of the most common things to share:
Dinner at someone’s house
It has never been easier to eat like a local, when passionate foodies and chefs turn their kitchens into small-scale restaurants. What better way to try local delicacies and meet locals than to dine at someone’s house?The underground restaurant trend lets you have a laid-back and personal dining experience, while still meeting new people and trying the local cuisine. The atmosphere is often more relaxed than in a restaurant, plus you get a glimpse into your host’s everyday life by being invited to dinner. The concept is available in various forms from apps like AirDine where you book and pay for dinner to informal facebook groups like Bjud en okänd vän på middag (Invite an unknown friend for dinner).
Share the experience
The collaborative economy opens up for all kinds of sharing. Learn more from the locals and explore things you might otherwise have missed out on. Peer-to-peer services based on sharing are everywhere these days with clothing libraries, communal bike workshops and peer-to-peer renting of cars. Many of us also share knowledge in social media and online, as well as in the real world with guided tours and walks. A holiday based on collaborative consumption will not only make it more sustainable, but you also get close to the local lifestyle.
Share a ride
How about sharing a ride on your next holiday? It’s sustainable and cheaper than airfare and public transport and it might well be nicer too. Travel with a local and take the opportunity to learn about West Sweden.The Swedish ride-sharing movement Skjutsgruppen has over 60,000 members who share or offer rides. Other websites and platforms are also available to help you find or advertise a ride between different cities.
The cost of petrol is often shared, making it a budget-friendly way to travel and you have someone to talk to along the way. But finding a ride might be a little time-consuming, so make sure to have some extra time on your hands.
Stay at a local’s house
Do you want to live like a local? It is not difficult to organise anymore. Try Couchsurfing or rent a room in someone’s house on your next holiday.“How are you staying?” The question is not so much about where anymore, but how. These days, it is not all hotel stars, fluffy pillows and breakfast buffets. The peer-to-peer rental website Airbnb has made people more aware of the option to rent a house, flat or room from a local. The global network Couchsurfing is another option for anyone truly wanting to get close to everyday life in a new city. The idea is based on hospitality and you stay at someone’s couch or spare bed for free, while opening your home to someone else in return.
15 things to keep in mind
1. Be flexible with date and time to make it easier to find a dinner.
2. See this, first and foremost, as a social event. The cooks are often passionate foodies and enthusiasts, but not professional chefs.
3. Are you invited to a free dinner? It’s always nice to bring a small gift.
4. It might feel more safe and secure to bring a friend along to dinner.
5. Be on time – and stick to the agreed times. Don’t make the host having to tell you to leave by the end of the evening.
6. Research the neighbourhood and learn more about your host on the website, through ratings and social media accounts…
7. … And make sure to have a detailed profile yourself.
8. Be clear with your expectations – and ask about any house rules.
9. Show respect, be on time and think of the stay as being at a friend’s house.
10. Not quite ready, but want to meet people? Start by catching up with locals for coffee or city walks through networks like Couchsurfing.
11. Be flexible with departure time and destination.
12. Keep an open mind and see it as something fun…
13. … but always trust your gut feeling. Never share a ride if you don’t feel safe.
14. Do you have a lot of luggage? Make sure to ask if there is room in the car.
15. Offer money for petrol if the price has not already been agreed upon beforehand.
What is Meet the Locals?
Meet the Locals is an initiative by Turistrådet Västsverige to bring out collaborative consumption and show an alternative way to travel and experience West Sweden – closer to the Swedish lifestyle.