You’re traveling to a new city, either on business or leisure, and you want to experience it the way the locals do. Before 2008, the idea of staying in someone’s home was only a viable option if you already knew someone there. Airbnb (and before that, HomeExchange) changed all that. Now you can safely stay in someone’s home or apartment and perhaps even share a meal with your hosts, providing a uniquely personal way to get acquainted with your destination.

Dairsie Castle, Scotland, a once-in-a-lifetime destination for travelers

It may not save you a lot of money, but travelers can stay in Dairsie Castle, Scotland as part of Airbnb.

While you may already be familiar with the shared economy of accommodations, did you know there’s also an alternative to the traditional rental car industry? Through companies like RelayRides, Zipcar, Hubber, Getaround, and JustShareIt, individuals can share their vehicles with travelers who need them on demand, or for as brief a time as one hour.

In some cases, the owners of the cars pick their renters up at the airport, saving time spent in rental car lines. If you’re looking for a different mode of transportation, Spinlister offers travelers the ability to rent a bicycle, snowboard, or skis. You can even rent a boat using GetMyBoat.

What if you want to extend your collaborative consumption experience to a meal? That can be arranged. Social dining sites such as Feastly, EatWith, Eatwithalocal, and Cookening offer options for home cooked meals in someone’s home that allow travelers an immersive and personalized experience that cannot always be found in a local restaurant.

Finally, most travelers know that the best way to see a new destination is to do it with a personal guide, like someone who lives there. Vayable offers just that: experiences that can be chosen according to personal interest with a vetted guide. These shared connections with locals can become the defining moments of the entire vacation, and not only benefit the traveler but the local economy. CanaryHop and GuidedByALocal also offer these types of experiences.

The next time you travel, consider taking advantage of some of these options. As Aristotle said, “Adventure is worthwhile.” With these alternatives, you might find more worth for your while.

What do you think? Would you share someone’s vehicle or home, if it will help you see the world more easily? Leave us a comment below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Andy Hawkins (Flickr, Creative Commons)