Home exchangers are educated and entrepreneurial, always thinking about new ideas and possibilities. GuestToGuest is a new concept from France. They do house exchange and have added a twist, the ability to host and travel on a non-exchange basis using their own currency, “GuestPoints.” The idea is you can host someone without trading with them. They stay with you as a hospitality guest or they use your home when you are elsewhere. They pay you in GuestPoints. The advantage of this is you don’t have to make a trade with another specific family—you have access to a broader network.
Other home exchange agencies have considered concepts similar to GuestPoints. They also are interested in services similar to Air BNB. This company provides a marketplace for you to rent out rooms in your house and act as a bed and breakfast host. As a guest you can find rooms in interesting homes around the world. It is related to home exchange in that it is a more culturally immersive and personal experience than staying in a hotel. Similar companies include Wimdu and 9 Flats.
Other activities related to home exchange include apartment and holiday rentals and couch surfing. Many house exchange agencies allow their members to advertise their homes for rent. Couch surfing is a hip term and idea that is similar to what we call hospitality exchange, something that house swap agencies have offered for over fifty years. The good folks at www.couchsurfing.org deserve credit for taking this idea to a much higher level.
I think it is great to have travel choices that allow for interacting with locals around the world be it on a commercial or friendly basis. The photo shows my daughter couch surfing at home.