Youngest man to travel the world creates app to swap homes for holidays
The youngest man to travel to every country in the world wants to make conquering the globe easier for everyone else — and he swears it has nothing to do with making money.
London banker James Asquith, who became the youngest person to visit all 196 countries at the age of 24, has recently launched an app that is considered the Tinder of travelling - it's called Holiday Swap.
"You have a picture of a property and you swipe," Asquith told Business Insider. "A lot of people who've used it said 'I feel like I'm on Tinder".
Although still in its early stages, the Holiday Swap app is an interesting app ideally made to connect travelers, and unlike Tinder which localises your search based on your location, Holiday Swap creates search on an international scale - meaning that you can see properties on the more than 40 countries across six continents the app currently covers.
Asquith added that you can filter your settings "for things like 'I want a place with a good atmosphere or a young crowd,' by country, or whatever."
When someone "matches" with you, you get a notification and a "pin" added to your map, as well as the ability to chat with the user and see their availability calendar.
"Then you basically have that connection," Asquith said. "Say you're going away for a week — you might look at your map have had 30 cool places (you can go), but the people as well."
The cost is only R13 ($1) per bed a night to swap through the app, and the users can also request a fully refundable deposit if it makes them more comfortable, money which the app protects.
"If you're swapping a place but you want to protect against them cancelling on you or you want to protect against damage or whatever, everything is covered on home insurance, but it's beyond that as well," he said. "We keep the deposit fee in a third party account then it's all returned when it's done."
The new app is now available on both iOS and Android, and Asquith says some users have already started swapping.
While the company has yet to do a marketing push, Asquith said the app is "starting to market and expand our user base largely and internationally."
Holiday Swap as a social media travel tool
While you have to have a space to list in order to register on the app, it's about more than just home swapping.
"We are aiming to become a fully integrated travel tool that reduces the cost of travel," Asquith said. "Another way of looking at Holiday Swap is a social media travel tool, that gives real savings and new experiences to all of us, by taking out one of the largest costs of travel."
One of the ways he's aiming to do this is through MyMap, an interactive tool where users can place and browse pins of places to visit and things to do "building further on our community feel."
The company is also building a "guest blog" for travel experiences online. The goal is to allow users to find other uses not just through the places they have listed for swapping, but also through their blog posts and travel tips.
"People may never swap," Asquith told Business Insider. "If I've matched with someone that looked cool in Toronto, now I know someone there. You'd link out and make that connection".
Asquith added that ultimately "We just want people to be able to use it and to have a tool to actually travel."
"We don't want people to use it and then shelve it, we [want them to be] actually going and finding cool things and being able to have it in your map. Everyone loves the aesthetics of a map with pins you've travelled to and places you could go to".
"Our mission is to really open up travel to more people and to more places, so all money is put right back into the company to allow us to continue to grow and offer more products to users in the future, of which we have some very exciting ideas".
The original article appeared on Businessinsider.com.