Welcome to a new website that’s tapping into what might just be the future of ‘real’ travel. It’s still early days, but this new contender on the travel scene already has 11,000 members and is growing rapidly. If you’re on a travel budget or keen to enjoy life as a real local, this is a new resource that might just help you realise your very special travel dreams…
Staydu.com is the website to check out. Their homepage describes the service they offer like this:
‘Staydu is a social travel network for budget travelers. Host, travel and stay with locals from all over the world – for work, for money or for free… Perfect to get involved in foreign lifestyles, to exchange cultures, to learn another language, to try the local cuisine and to have unique experiences.’
An Idea is Born
The idea for Staydu was first born in June 2011 when twenty-something brothers Nico and Alessandro Schneider from Germany were sitting by a lake talking about how to improve the options available to the budget traveller looking for free or inexpensive long-term stays around the world.
Two Years Later
Just two years have passed since that discussion. In that time, they built the website staydu.com from the ground up – with no funding from anyone – and already have a community of 11,000 members!
Interview with the Founder
Nico shared with me the inspiring story of how they brought their dream to life. It’s truly impressive what two guys in their early twenties can accomplish with no money!
Nico has also answered some important questions below that might help you decide if this resource will help you to realise your travel dreams:
1. What are the prime benefits for users?
First, we’ve tried to create a win-win situation. We’re offering an opportunity for travellers and hosts to meet new people, explore new places, and learning about new traditions. Cultural exchange helps all participants to learn new languages, grow personally, and to broaden their horizons.
Second, travelers have the possibility to travel on a small budget. They can participate in the lifestyles of locals and their families. Hosts in return get a helping hand (financial or with their daily work) – and maybe the chance to visit in return with the person they’ve hosted.
2. How many countries currently offer hosts?
We currently have hosts in 141 countries.
3. How many users do you currently have?
In not even two years, we now have over 11,000 registered users and 15,000 visits to our site each month.
4. Staydu vs Couchsurfing or WWOOF?
We have three categories: travelers stay with locals for work, for money, or for free.
Couchsurfing is comparable to the ‘free’ category. The main difference is that Couchsurfing focuses on short-term stays up to three days. Staydu focuses on long-term stays.
WWOOF is similar to the ‘work’ category. The main difference is that WWOOF only focuses on organic farm work. On staydu we have hosts from surf and diving schools, eco and art projects, English schools, volunteer projects, hostels, hotels, B&Bs, yoga retreats, animal projects, private families, and many other interesting projects; not just organic farms.
5. How do you create community confidence?
After each contact, users get a ‘rating-reminder-email’ which prompts users to rate each other with the star system (1-5) and comments. The rating system is a great way to ensure safety.
Because people know they will be rated, they are always trying to do a good job and to be helpful and friendly with everyone they meet.
6. Do you have testimonials to share?
Yes, your readers might like to read some of these:
Emily at Sky Backpackers
I found the lovely Sky Backpackers – The Liffey hostel – through Staydu. I’ve absolutely loved my time here in Dublin. I’ve been here for two months, and I’ve got another couple of weeks left.
The hostel is fantastic. I feel like I’m part of a big family here, and I’ve made so many life-long friends from all over the world. I would recommend this opportunity to anyone.
Alana in Belgium:
I spent a whole month with Bert and Maria and never dreamed that an emergency, last minute plan would provide such a satisfying experience.
From the first day I learnt the basics about horses and Belgian beers, as well as meeting the community of Belgian cowboys who frequented the bar attached to the stables.
On my days off I explored Belgium, did my best to become a beer connoisseur (this continues to be a work in progress) and had cooking lessons from a guy down the road.
In hindsight, my only regret is that I didn’t find Staydu sooner and plan a work-for-accommodation placement into my trip – maybe even several – because this experience was definitely among the most rewarding and enjoyable of my time overseas.
Alexandra in Guatemala:
I just recently completed my first work exchange from staydu.com on the Rio Dulce River in Guatemala. My experience working in a remote Eco Lodge on this idyllic river can easily be my favorite memory of my 5 1/2 month journey traveling through Mexico and Central America.
Liebrecht in Berlin:
Nico hosted me in Berlin for a whole weekend. He was a very good host that provided me with clean towels and bedding (in my very own room!) and he even cooked food for me too.
Nico and his girlfriend Daní even took the time to show me around Berlin (at day and night) – they took me to a really cool flea market/park and to the legendary KaDeWe.
Arvo – a Host from the USA:
My place, the solarark, houses between 50 to 100 guests per year, through different social networks, so I have seen a lot over the last ten years. Ken and his girlfriend Allison did not even live in my house – they travel in an RV – yet they were a tremendous help with any variety of projects.
Ken fixed every computer in the house, reorganized my shop, helped build a greenhouse, and Allison spent days cleaning and cooking mushrooms, although she does not even eat them… REALLY GREAT GUESTS!!!
Traveller About Host:
Kathy is a great host, and I would recommend staying at St James Park! I had a great time working outdoors in the gardens and vegetable patches and helped with planning for a local festival in september, as well as long evenings drinking beer and rakia enjoying great conversations!
Host About Traveler:
Sam was a great volunteer – he stayed here for about a month and, amongst other things, he helped us to make a video to promote a music festival that we’re having in this village this year. I’d certainly recommend him as a volunteer or a guest.
Host About Traveller:
Line has been with us for a while now and has been a great help around our busy little B&B serving breakfasts, changing beds, cleaning and laundry jobs. Always busy in her free time running and sightseeing. Good to get on with and very pleasant to have around the place and Line has formed a good team with our other helper Carlotta. I would definitely recommend Line to other hosts.
Nico has also Shared
- Information provide by: Nico Schneider, Co-founder of staydu.com
- Written, formatted and edited by: Krista Beauvais
- Photos: all photos courtesy of Nico Schneider
- Travel Resource Shared: budget travel website staydu.com