How sharing in the worldwide travel community is offering great alternatives

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Photo: Flickr / Moyan Brenn

We love to travel! Yet we may hold back on travelling more often, either because of financial constraints, or because our friends and family are not able to join us and we dare not do it alone.

With the advent of the internet, not only has our access to information increased, but also our ease of communication. The worldwide travel community has thus devised ways of tackling both these issues in a safe way, offering cheaper travel and the golden opportunity to meet local people, and new friends, wherever we choose to travel.

This month I am travelling to Spain. When I arrive at Madrid airport, a 24-year-old young man will pick me up at the airport and drive me to Seville, over 400 km away, in his private car, for just 23 euros. He gains my company for the four-to-five hour drive, and a contribution towards his fuel cost; I gain the pleasure of cheaper travel, company, and access to local information. It is also likely that a friendship will be formed across four to five hours of chatting. In Seville, I will be staying in a private room in somebody’s home for 20 euros a night; I look forward to having a local host with whom to share my travel experiences.

I do not personally know my hosts, but both of them are verified users of two amazing websites that make these kind of arrangements possible, and safe, across the worldwide travel community.

Within just three years, the Bla Bla Car website already successfully serves seventeen countries, and no doubt more will be added as people become more and more accustomed to ride sharing in this way.

All you have to do is sign up and search for people travelling from your point of departure to your destination. Get in touch via the public messaging system, make arrangements and, when all has been agreed, pay the suggested contribution via the website, which also serves as your safety net. At that point, your private contact details are shared and you have a person to travel with for a minimum of shared expenses.

Just as trains, buses and taxis are no longer the only transportation available to the traveller, hotels, holiday apartments, guest houses and hostels are no longer the only types of accommodation available to them. Today it is possible to make use of other people’s properties to create our home from home.

With Airbnb, for example, one can choose to rent a shared or private room in somebody’s home, or even an entire private apartment, with the added benefit of having a local host, whether living in the same space or acting as a “landlord.” Since 2008, Airbnb has been inspiring more and more people to offer their homes as a way to meet others and help cover costs.

All that is required is to register and verify your identity, and then you are ready to start corresponding with thousands of common people worldwide in order to find the most suitable accommodation arrangement in your preferred destination; host accommodation is available in over 190 countries!

You never know how deeply such connections can go and where they can lead – sometimes you can meet wonderful people in the most unusual ways, and they may become friends for life.


Airbnb – Welcome Home – Rent unique places to stay from local hosts in 190+ countries

Bla Bla Car – Trusted ridesharing – Connecting people who need to travel with drivers who have empty seats

Monique Chambers

Monique started indulge in 2011 and has since created Indulge Me GIFT and Indulge Me FOOD and volume 1 of The Artists Directory - Malta. A marketing professional by trade, Monique's passion is to promote local talent and Malta in general. Free time is her biggest indulgence, when she can tinker in her craft room or the kitchen, or be selfish with a book, the sofa and good glass of wine (of course, wearing something beautiful and with freshly coiffed hair!)

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