My First Cambioing Experience.

Coastline of south Ireland

Go Cambio is a unique new community in the sharing economy that allows people to travel the world and connect with locals whilst swapping skills and knowledge for a spare room. I was recently invited to Ireland to experience my first Cambio, and this is what I thought.

I’ll be the first to admit that if I didn’t have a specific reason to go there, I probably wouldn’t have made it down to this part of Southern Ireland anytime soon. I’d never even heard of Ardmore before I accepted an invite from my host Teresa, but as I caught a bus down to this stunning seaside village on the Southern Coast of Ireland, I was stunned, and realised what an amazing place I would have missed out on if I hadn’t accepted.

Ardmore is an enchanting place. It is as if every positive image and stereotype of rural Ireland has been bundled together in one neat package, and it really lived up to the hype! It still retains a friendly small village feel despite being hugely popular with visitors, (A large portion of the houses on or near the coast are holiday homes), and it is surrounded by stunning coastal scenery and dramatic, rugged cliffs that would not look out of place in a Mediterranean  travel brochure.

I loved strolling around the village, enjoying the coast and the scenery, and taking in some of the local landmarks, including the almost obligatory ancient ruins and religious sites!

This is one of the huge benefits of Go Cambio in my opinion. Of course there will be hosts in the major cities around the world that everyone heads to, but there will also be hosts in the surrounding towns and villages too, the places that aren’t necessarily on the tourist or backpacker trail.

It is a real incentive to visit places you may never have heard of or perhaps would not have visited otherwise, unless of course you were spending a significant amount of time in the region or country you are visiting.

One of the downsides at the moment is that because it is a relatively new community, there are still limited places you can visit, but this is becoming less of an issue as the community grows and of course this will change with time. It will be inevitable that the largest and most popular cities will be represented by a number of hosts willing to take travellers in, but it is these smaller places that will hold the most interest for long term travellers.

My host family in Ardmore were seriously welcoming and made me feel at home instantly, and I really enjoyed my chats over cups of tea and coffee with Teresa’s mum! Like any accommodation sharing service however there are ways to optimize your experience. I would strongly recommend before anyone goes on a Cambio however – or hosts anyone for that matter – to spend a little time getting to know your host or guest beforehand. Have a good idea of what each others expectations are and work out amongst yourselves exactly what it is you both want to get out of the experience. Go Cambio provides a great platform for you to do just that with their online reviews references and endorsements, you can chat safely online, and then make each other an offer once you are both satisfied.

Using Go Cambio as a traveller.

Going on a Cambio is not all about you however, you also have an obligation to give something back. It doesn’t matter what skill you have, whether you are a yoga expert or a dance teacher that can pass on your knowledge and skills, have a kick ass talent  in art, painting, photography or flower arranging, maybe you are an awesome cook that can teach your host how to cook a dish from your country, or you simply want to help your host practice your native language, it doesn’t matter. If you can give a couple of hours a day to do any of that or share whatever particular skill you have, you get a nights stay and your hosts hospitality in return.

This is why I like the concept far more than other sharing economies such as couch surfing, it is the true sharing economy paradigm that runs through it that I think really stands out.

As part of my Cambio I got to visit the Go Cambio headquarters and meet the team, and this was the absolute highlight of my time there. The whole team were absolutely awesome and welcoming to a fault, and I am really genuinely happy to have met every single one of them! It was an exciting place to sit back and watch people work too, with a lot of very creative people very excited about the work they do, there was a palpable energy in the air. With free office pizza on the day I was there and a mini sports day to take advantage of the sun, the staff morale there must be through the roof!

The team at Go Cambio wanted to pick my brains about working as a professional blogger, and I did my best to answer their questions as well as holding a little impromptu writing workshop. I want to stress though that this wasn’t in any way a formal presentation style teaching experience, I didn’t need to have formal teaching qualifications to do it, I simply had a conversation and tried to impart some of the knowledge I had that they wanted to know about.

And the same is true for when you set up your own Cambioing experience. This isn’t about holding a TEFL qualification or a teaching degree and formally giving a lesson in a classroom environment. It is about having a conversation. Imparting knowledge through mutual friendship, conversation and practice.

Through that amazing experience with the Go Cambio team, I was invited along to a charity fundraising walk around the village later that evening. An event where it seemed the entire village population turned out to raise money for community events. Quite apart from giving me a unique way to explore Ardmore, I felt included in a truly unique community event, and for any traveller that is a unique and special experience. The night out with the team in the local pub afterwards wasn’t bad either!

That for me was an absolute highlight of the trip and one of the real benefits of Go Cambio. You get to go far beyond being a tourist or even a traveller. You make friends, meet amazing people and can get the benefit of a local experience, you can get to see what peoples daily lives are like and you can get welcomed in by part of that community far more so than if you were simply passing through as a traveller!

Ireland Ardmore history

Being a host. 

Go Cambio isn’t just about travelling the world and getting a nights stay for free though, you can also sign up as a host, and have the benefit of a whole host of travellers giving you their time, experience and skills in return for your hospitality.

Say you want to become proficient in a language, what better way than to have a native speaker stay with you and talk with you for a couple of hours a day? For the price of a room and a few meals, you could save a fortune on expensive courses and meet a possible new friend to boot.

What if you want to learn to dance or gain a new skill? Specify that in your profile and you’ll have the benefit of skilled and experienced travellers giving you one to one tuition for free!

Maybe you have a family and would like some extra curricular tuition for your children? There are a variety of skills and languages out there that kids could benefit from for a couple of hours a day! Plus there are many travellers who have or want careers with children who would be more than happy to add the experiences to their CVs. It really is a win, win, win situation. Everyone benefits.

Did you enjoy this article? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below or on my Facebook or Twitter pages and please feel free to share it with any or all of the social media buttons. If you want to get more great backpacking tips, advice and inspiration, please subscribe to updates via email in the box to your right.

Related Articldes

Backpacker Accommodation Alternatives: Beyond The Hostel.

Go Cambio, A New, Alternative Sharing Economy For Backpackers.


This post has been brought to you in partnership with Go Cambio.

Michael Huxley is a published author, professional adventurer and founder of the travel website, Bemused Backpacker. He has spent the last twenty years travelling to over 100 countries on almost every continent, slowly building Bemused Backpacker into a successful business after leaving a former career in emergency nursing and travel medicine, and continues to travel the world on numerous adventures every year.

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26 comments on “My First Cambioing Experience.
  1. Paul says:

    Sounds like you had a good experience, I had a look into Go Cambio but to be honest they didn’t seem to have many hosts in the places I wanted to go to so I might just stick with Couchsurfing for now. Great idea for the future though once they’ve been going for a bit.

  2. Steph says:

    Who would have thought that beach was in Ireland? I need to explore more of the UK.

  3. Geo19 says:

    Sounds like an interesting idea! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Sounds like a great experience! I’m definitely going to look into signing up for my next trip to Europe in the summer after reading your other posts on it too.

  5. Duke Stewart says:

    I think you might’ve convinced me at the learning a language part. I’ve yet to try this and though we’ve mostly gone through AirBNB for our hopes of meeting some nice hosts, Go Cambio seems like a better deal in my opinion.

    Things like this are seemingly harder and harder to come by because I’ve run into quite a few people who only want to receive something without really putting in. Go Cambio sounds like a true exchange system with skills (and a little cash) as the main commodities.

    I’m really going to have a look here. Thanks for mentioning this, Michael!

  6. John says:

    Great write up. It does look like its a great idea, but after seeing the site it seems a little new to be totally useful just yet. I’ll stick to couchsurfing for now, but I’ll definitely keep my eye on it for the future!

  7. Gemma&Stu says:

    Oh this sounds fantastic!! Thanks so much for letting us know about it. We are planning a trip around Europe in August and this will save me loads. Do you know if couples are generally accepted and if they have anyone allowing stays in Italy, Spain and Germany in particular? (Those are the three big places I’m spending a lot of time in)

    • I’m sure you’ll manage to find someone to suit your needs in those countries, as for if they accept couples I don’t see why not? I’m sure some hosts may not but others will? Sign up and chat to people, you can work out a situation that works for both you as a couple and them as a host. 🙂

  8. Aileen West says:

    I’m always a little apprehensive about this sharing economy, I mean is it really that safe? As a solo woman traveller I’ve heard quite a few horror stories about couchsurfing, and this is pretty much the same deal, right?

    • Go Cambio is similar in terms of it is part of the sharing economy Aileen, but as for the safety aspect of it you have nothing to worry about. Go Cambio itself has tools such as ID verification, references, endorsements and reviews and so on to make it as safe as possible for you. Then you have your own common sense approach, chat and get to know people beforehand, stay with someone when you feel comfortable doing so, use your gut. There is a great community on Go Cambio already, be part of it and you’ll see how amazing the experience can be. Also remember that there are countless people Cambioing already, and people have been couchsurfing and using other accommodation aspects of the sharing economy for years, and the absolute majority have positive experiences.

  9. Megan says:

    This looks so intresting! I’ll have to check it out! Chris and I often stay in hostels, but this could be an intresting alternative!

  10. globalmouse says:

    I love the sound of this, what a great concept. I think being able to share a skill or something you do is a really nice way of bonding and just enhancing travelling in that town or country. It sounds like you had a great time – I haven’t explored this area of the world and really need to change that too!

  11. So glad I read this and learned something new before my kids try to tell me all about it. Sounds like a fun time and experience. 😉

  12. Melody Pittman says:

    I am so glad I read about this new experience before my kids tried to tell me when they discover it months down the line. Sounds like a great experience and fun trip.

  13. Sounds like a really interesting concept and glad your experience was so positive. We’ve just done our first AirBnB (so behind the times!) but we’re now totally on board with this form of travel, it’s definitely the best way to get local knowledge.

  14. Milosz Zak says:

    That’s a fantastic idea. However, the need for skills changes quickly, and from day to day. For example, today I need to do work in the garden, and tomorrow I will need to change my winter tires to summer tires – all things I can do myself, but would rather be writing this instead 😛

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