Why will it matter in 2024? As the cost of traveling continues to climb, home swapping is an affordable alternative to splashing out on expensive hotels or Airbnbs. And while the concepts of couch surfing and house exchanges have existed for decades, several slick new platforms are redefining what home swapping looks like today.
Twin City, which operates in cities like as Lisbon and Los Angeles, has curated a community of over 1,100 carefully vetted users in just eight months. For an annual subscription fee of about $189, members can find Twins to connect with through the platform, and are encouraged to exchange local recommendations for their city as well as their homes, enabling members to feel as if they’re swapping with a trusted friend rather than a stranger.
Meanwhile, Kindred, a home-swapping platform where members rack up credits for each night that they exchange homes, raised $15 million in funding this year to expand operations across the US and Europe, and currently has more then 10,000 homes in over 50 cities. Members simply pay a cleaning and service fee for each stay, while the cost of the stay itself is free.
Travelers can skip out on membership fees entirely and head straight to TikTok, where Gen Z appears to be spearheading the home-swapping movement on social media. Inspired by the film The Holiday, trending tags #houseswap and #homeswap have garnered more than 23 and 20 million views respectively, with users utilizing the platform as a means to advertise their homes, discover like-minded peers to swap with, and document their adventures along the way. —Gina Jackson
4. Train stations are the new food destinations
What’s the trend? Train stations around the world are usually passed through as quickly as possible, having not been designed for commuters to stay and hang out. Nowadays, as travel delays increase and visitors want more local experiences, it pays for train stations to welcome travelers with shops, restaurants, and bars for them to explore. In an effort to create a more dynamic visitor experience, historic train stations are being revamped, with bespoke food and drink offerings as an integral part of the redesign.
Why will it matter in 2024? As train stations are renovated to accommodate more travelers and update old infrastructure, local restaurants and bars are being added to attract more customers. In 2023, the new Moynihan Train Hall in New York City became home to The Irish Exit, a bar from the team behind the acclaimed Dead Rabbit, and Yono Sushi by trendy BondST, plus outposts of beloved NYC restaurants Pastrami Queen and Jacob’s Pickles, with Mexican hotspot La Esquina coming soon. As part of its renovation, Toronto’s Union Station launched Union Market in May 2023 with favorite local food retailers Manotas Organics, Chocolatta Brigadeiro’s, Patties Express, and Kibo.
In the UK, Platform 1, a new bar and restaurant, opened in November underneath Glasgow Central Station. The cave-like space, with its historic brick arches, serves street-food-style dishes and craft brews made in the on-site microbrewery, plus there’s an outdoor beer garden. Meanwhile, in Somerset, Castle Cary station is in the process of a revamp, with nearby hotel The Newt creating a creamery, cafe, and co-working space, which is set to open in 2024.