By Amanda Yiu
Ever travelled to a new city and wished you had a local to show you around? That’s the idea behind Tripping.com, a site that connects travellers (“Trippers”) with member hosts.
The site announced last week that it has partnered with some of the best vacation and short-term rental websites on the market, such as Flipkey, Roomorama and iStopOver, to introduce the largest aggregate search engine in the peer-to-peer home rental space. More than 500,000 home rentals are in the Tripping.com database, in more than 15,000 cities worldwide.
To find a local rental, you simply enter the location of your search and your specific criteria, such as price, type (room, whole apartment, whole house) and keywords. Members (it’s free to join) can make bookings online and connect with the host directly to ask questions.
To minimize potential risks and scams involved with homestays, Tripping.com offers the option of choosing “validated” listings—those whose hosts have submitted to face-to-face (via Skype) screening process with a member of the Tripping.com team. The site’s TripSafe Center outlines other safety features, such as a travel support hotline, traveller references and a commitment to gathering real names for members, and provides safety tips.
Tripping.com was launched in 2009 with the mission of building a global community and providing a safe and easy way for locals and travellers to engage in cultural exchange. A sort of Facebook for travellers, it is fueled by members who create account profiles and join various networks to find “friends” from more than 175 countries. Members upload and share photos from trips (friends can “like” and comment on them), and connect with local Trippers to meet for coffee, language exchange and, of course, homestays.