Updated February 2016 review now available
This is an update to my original November review of Cosmopolit Home,
the site that relaunched as NightSwapping
Review date: July 2015
Founded in 2011
Free membership, €9.90 per swap
Founded in France, venture funding backed
English, French, Spanish, Italian
30,000 listings in 160 countries (reported by website, unverified)
Summary: NightSwapping offers a unique system of home exchange that combines hosted and unhosted points-based swaps. With the option to purchase nights instead of hosting guests, this website may meet the needs of people who don’t want to host strangers in their home, but do want to enjoy cheap lodging in the homes of locals while traveling. In many ways NightSwapping is targeting a different crowd entirely from the traditional home exchange folks. While the site can be used for simultaneous swaps, the points system is not set up to facilitate these arrangements.
Searching: Searches start with typing in a city and optionally adding check in and check out dates. It is not possible to search by broader geographic categories, which I think is a serious limitation. If you know you want to go to Spain but would like to see which cities have potential hosts, you will have to enter each possible city separately. Results can be filtered by number of travelers, whether it is the full home or a guest room offered, and the price of the property (in NightSwapping points currency). In theory users keep their calendars up to date with hosting availability so that date bounded searches only return available properties. Based on my experience having my membership deactivated, the staff at NightSwapping seem to be diligent about ensuring that listings are active and available to host, potentially improving the odds of finding a match for your lodging needs.
Listings: Search results return listings with overview information about the properties in an easy to read format, but NightSwapping does not offer much detail on each property, it’s up to the members to write a few sentences describing whatever they think is relevant. Amenities such as availability of wifi, parking, and other features are not included. The “cost” of each property is indicated on a scale of 1 to 7 which is calculated based on the NightSwapping algorithm using 5 criteria: “the type of the accommodation, the surface area, the level of comfort, the number of bedrooms available as well as the popularity of of the area.”
This site offers the following variations on house swapping:
- NightSwapping – earn points by letting people stay in your home when you are away or home, redeem these points to stay anywhere you like. Some people will host visitors in a spare room (which costs fewer nightswap points) and some will make their entire home available.
In theory users could arrange simultaneous exchanges, but some of the website features make this challenging. For instance, users have only one calendar and they can not distinguish availability for a traditional swap from availability to host guests. For those of us interested in home exchange but unable to host when we are at home, this does not work well.
Site design: Modern look and feel with good responsiveness but not enough features in the search and listings.
Additional features: NightSwapping automatically provides insurance for both hosts and travelers. In addition, if you have not earned enough points to stay somewhere, or for those who do not want to list their home, you can purchase points. The price of a night varies based on the luxury level of your chosen accommodation, with most properties in popular tourist destinations like San Francisco and Paris ranging from $25 to $48 per night. This is generally cheaper than rental properties and makes NightSwapping an interesting option for people who don’t want to host guests but do want the experience of staying in local homes while traveling.