Exploring the Sharing Economy for Travel in Colombia

colombiaIn anticipation of my upcoming trip to Colombia (super cheap airfare deals from both American Air and Delta) I came up with some sharing economy travel services that seem to have traction in that country. I’ll be trying out some of these and reporting back after the trip.

Ridesharing

For ridesharing it looks like Tripda has a strong presence.

tripda in Medellin

100 rides show up on a search of upcoming offers from Medellín, Colombia

This is good to know because the country’s bus network is rather expensive and slow. In fact I found that flying from city to city is generally not much more expensive than taking the bus. So I probably won’t need long distance rides, but for visiting areas in between my main destinations this will be a good option.

Crowdsourced Delivery

Piggybee has a surprising number of listings requesting goods delivered to Colombia. Many of them from the United States.

Piggybee listings

The image above is all stuff that people want delivered to Colombia (page 1 of 3). I posted my trip in the PiggyBee system, but didn’t get any emails from people. So then I sent out some offers to carry stuff directly to the people who had posted requests. Unfortunately the responses indicated that these requests were quite old, but I did get one bite and I’m negotiating to deliver some vitamins to someone in Colombia.

The PiggyBee website has been revamped significantly since I last used it to deliver shoes to Spain, and it’s more flashy but still missing some key features like holding money with a trusted third party until purchase and delivery are completed. And apparently it shows old listings even after the request has been fulfilled.

Peer to Peer Activities and Meals

There aren’t many sharing economy activity sites that have listings in Colombia. Mealsharing does have a few options. One meal in Medellín and a few more in Bogotá.

Mealsharing.com

I’m not excited about having italian food in Colombia, but there are a few options that look like typical Colombian food that might be fun. I’ve reached out to one already to see if we can set up a meal.

I’ve found only two sites with listings for peer to peer activity guides in Colombia, Viable and ToursByLocals. Both only have expensive tours. While I’m sure these are lovely experiences, they are more than I’m looking to spend.

Vayable has 5 tours in Medellín. These 3 include the two cheapest options.

Vayable has 5 tours in Medellín. These 3 include the two cheapest options.

These Vayable tours are actually the cheapest options. ToursByLocals only offers per tour pricing, which means a $450 full day private tour isn’t too bad a deal if you’re traveling with a group of people. But if I’m there alone, or with just one friend, it’s far more than I want to spend.

Lodging

I tried to find a home exchange in Colombia but there were only a few options in the networks I belong to. I’m further limited because my wife is not coming on this trip so I need to do a points-based swap. I did find one very enthusiastic swapper with a large house in Bogotá willing to host my friend and I, but upon closer inspection I found that it’s really an hour drive from the center of the city. For a short stay I don’t think that’s very practical in spite of his kind offer to drive us into town for sightseeing.

I’m also looking at home stay options. These are hosted stays in a spare room of someone’s home, including a light breakfast. The website HomeStay.com has several options in each city I’ll be visiting.

Homestay.com Bogota

The prices run a wide range as they are set by the hosts. These are similar to AirBnb listings except that they are always hosted and there’s some expectation of interaction between the host and guests, with many hosts explicitly offering to take guests out on tours of the area. There are also a lot of peer-to-peer rentals on sites like AirBnb that I will be looking at. And finally there is couchsurfing as a good option, especially for the part of the trip when I’m traveling alone.

Aside from peer-to-peer rental lodging and couchsurfing I’m not seeing a lot of sharing economy traction in the Colombia travel industry. I’ll update my findings if I come across anything new, and I hope that readers will also share info on additional peer-to-peer travel services in Colombia.

2 Comments

  1. We now display the date an item was posted on PiggyBee (on the item detail page). We hope this may help! (In case a user didn’t delete an “old” ad, as he wouldn’t need this item shipped anymore) Working hard on more updates ; )

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