The problem: Living in Brooklyn is, of course, great, there’s so much to see and do: so much so that we all find ourselves inundated with friends and family wanting to visit us! The trouble is that hosting friends or family in our homes is often not an option and hotels and other short-term accommodations can be out of budget.
The solution: Eliot and his wife Meki, new parents, and Prospect Heights residents for 10 years, often faced this dilemma. As world travelers they’d already discovered the benefits of home exchange, but with so many visitors they needed something that was more flexible than the usual “direct swap”. They formed an unofficial collective of 4 families who traveled a lot and who also had many guests visiting them.
“It was really simple, if any of the families were away on vacation and their home was unoccupied, that family would offer their space up to any of the other families who may have guests visiting in the same time frame. Whoever needed the extra space would get to keep their privacy in their own homes, while offering their guests a comfortable, temporary place of their own, and all for free! The only payment was reciprocation from all families involved. It’s really was a win win for everyone and everyone was happy!”, Eliot explains.
Eliot and his wife Meki decided to make the collective “official” and created GuestVessel.
How it works: Members earn credit for letting other pre-screened members stay in their property (whole apt or private spare room), which they can redeem at any member’s home, not just the person that stayed at theirs. As safety and community are key to this, GuestVessel verifies all properties and conduct a criminal background check on all members. It also works if you want to use your credit for your next vacation. It can be hard to be in a hotel room with children, so being in a real home, where you can have separate bedrooms- can make your vacation go more smoothly.
After launching in June 2010 the membership and properties across the US is growing steadily. They will be launching internationally by the end of September, so you can get your overseas friends to join too and use their tokens!
Membership is currently free, as they build a base of properties across the world. The good news is you can join now and start visiting for free!
SPECIAL OFFER – After joining, mention “A Child Grows in Brooklyn” to firstname.lastname@example.org and they’ll credit your account with an additional 4 tokens, totaling 10 nights free accommodation. PLUS the 1st 20 people that join mentioning “A Child Grows in Brooklyn” will get lifetime memberships for free! Whoo hoo!