Two weeks ago, I spoke to PLU and travel writer Louise Goldsbury about the People Like Us experience in the pandemic.
Louise lives in Manly, Sydney but is currently on a round-Australia trip started months ago. Louise was researching how the pandemic has affected travel in general and home exchange in particular.
"Under the radar, one of the biggest boom areas is home exchanging. As people feel more anxious about crowds and shared spaces, staying in private properties in nice neighbourhoods provides peace of mind. Financially, it’s also a winner because no money is traded between swappers. They might pay a small admin fee or subscription to the home exchange website, but it’s less than the cost of a night in a cheap motel for a stay that could last a week, a month or a year."
I spoke to her about my observations of People Like Us and how it has actually brought us together and made us stronger.
"Running a home-exchange community in a global pandemic is challenging,” said Mr Seitam. “A funny thing happened for us, though. We couldn’t travel and so the website was quiet, but our Facebook community was buzzing. We spent most of the year talking to each other about baking or hobbies or where we’d like to be travelling."
“I often felt we had better information about the pandemic than others because we had real stories from people living through the worst of circumstances. The community was there to support each other. We had a community before COVID, but now we have a community who’s lived through COVID together and we’re stronger because of it.”
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