Remote workers swapping homes

The basic formula on home exchange platforms is largely the same: you pay an annual fee to join (from $40 to $300 (£34 to £254)), accept a lower fee to book ( for things like cleaning) and must agree to host. Two parties usually trade for the same dates, although some platforms allow non-reciprocal trades where you can bank hosted nights to use as a guest later. In some cases, hosts may ask guests to water plants or take care of pets – terms that must be agreed upon in advance.

Proponents claim that home swapping, in addition to saving money, is a more sustainable alternative to short-term rental platforms because it doesn’t take real estate off the market and create the kind of housing crisis that many communities have been experiencing in recent years. Platforms such as Holiday Swap also claim that home exchanges emit 66% less CO2 emissions than hotels due to energy, water and waste reductions from things like less frequent cleaning and less food waste.

Only “mobility rockstars”?

Most home exchange sites allow anyone to join, although some high-end platforms, like design-focused Behomm or the new Kindred, are members-only and have waiting lists. These tend to attract the type of clientele that might have a Peloton and a wine fridge in their home and want to stay in a property that has the same.

Kindred, which has an annual fee of $300 (£255), acts as a sort of matchmaker for people with similar backgrounds or interests, creating ‘pods’ for alumni from certain universities or institutions. “It’s one of the ways we can heighten that sense of intimacy,” says CEO Justine Palefsky. “It’s more like a trusted connection, as opposed to a random stranger on the internet.”

Kindred was born out of Palefsky and co-founder Tasneem Amina’s desire to find a change of scenery for remote work during the pandemic. “We thought, how can we make it possible to live a life richer in travel, without having to incur huge costs or hassles to do so,” she recalls. “So we really started Kindred to solve our own problem.”

Today, the site’s primary demographic is remote workers “who make these spontaneous moves and say, ‘Instead of sitting at my desk at home, I’m going to go to Mexico City and work from there.’ “, says Palefsky.

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