Do I need a dedicated “home office” to join?

Definitely not. The only requirement we have is that you have a table to work from and a good Internet connection. Co-founders Bart and Sanne live in a 42 m² apartment in Amsterdam where the only table is the kitchen table, dinner table and also the workstation….

Can I only do a simultaneous home swap?

Our system is set up for a one on one simultaneous swap (you go to their home, they come to yours). But Urban Crabs aims to become a big community of friends who do many other things together. We expect many couches will be surfed – and you can arrange this (and anything else) by contacting a member directly.

Do I have to be a remote worker to join?

No definitely not. We expect most members will have a job that allows them to work from elsewhere for a period of time every year, but you are also welcome just to use Urban Crabs to swap during holidays or weekends! As long as you swap at least once a year.

Why do I need to swap at least once a year?

Most home exchange services have loads of non-active members. To make sure we stay an active community, we require you to do a swap at least once a year.

Who’s behind Urban Crabs?

First of all: our members! They are the most important people behind the Society of Home Office Swappers.

Urban Crabs was founded by married couple Sanne & Bart van Poll. Since launching Spotted by Locals in 2008 they’ve been social entrepreneurs and global nomads. Sanne & Bart live in Athens 🇬🇷 & Amsterdam 🇳🇱 when they’re not traveling to meet Urban Crabs around Europe. Read more about Sanne, or Bart.

Is there an Urban Crabs app?

Not at this moment. Our website is fully functional on mobile devices. Not having an app saves us a lot of money, and makes us less dependent on tech giants like Alphabet and Apple.

(How) can I cancel my membership?

Just send us email at We only want happy and active members!

Our Terms & Conditions state a notice of 1 month, but usually we process your cancellation much faster. 

Who can become a member?

Anyone with a home in one of our cities, and who agrees to do at least 1 swap a year, can apply to become a member of the Society of Home Office Swappers.

What if I’m not a global nomad / hybrid worker?
The majority of Urban Crabs are fortunate to be able to live and work wherever they want, either as an employee or as an entrepreneur / freelancer. But this is not a requirement! Not working or enjoying a long sabbatical or retirement? As long as you have the Urban Crabs spirit, we’d love to welcome you as a member.

What if I have a shared bathroom / kitchen / workspace?
That is no problem at all, just make it very clear in your listing.

What if I don’t have an Internet connection or workstation in my home?
All member homes need to have a good Internet connection and a place to work. This definitely doesn’t need to be a separate “office” – most members have small homes!

What are the risks of home swapping?

It would be odd if you’re not a bit nervous about your first exchange. The Society of Home Office Swappers is not just any home exchange website that anybody can join. Urban Crabs are good people. Founders Sanne & Bart have met them all individually.

However, accidents can always happen. We want to be honest to you about what the risks of home swapping are and what you can do to minimise these risks.

What happens in case of damage or theft?
Accidents are rare, but they can happen. As stated in the Terms & Conditions, members who agree to an exchange take full responsibility for whatever happens after they agreed on an exchange. We’d love to offer advice, but we cannot take any responsible for what fellow members do during a swap. Make sure you’re insured and store away valuable possessions.

In most cases a member will inform you if they accidentally broke something, and propose a resolution. In case this doesn’t happen, we encourage you to reach out to the person you swapped with and talk to them. When you disagree, we advice you to contact your insurance.

What happens when a swap gets canceled?
Just like holidays, home exchanges rarely get canceled. However there may be circumstances that require an a member to cancel an exchange. Like unexpected illness or a family emergency. We make it very clear to members who want to cancel that they’re not only letting the other party down, but that it can also be costly for them if they’ve already booked your trip.

As stated in the Terms & Conditions, members who agree to an exchange take full responsibility for whatever happens after they agreed on an exchange. We encourage members to make the cancelation up to the other member, or help find alternative accommodation.

Do all homes have a good Internet connection?

For our community of  hybrid & remote workers Internet is extremely important. This is why we check the speed of all members’ homes Internet connection with a speed test, and in a personal video call. We require a download speed of at least 10 Mbs and an upload speed of at least 3 Mbs. This is a minimum requirement for a high quality video call.

Can I take someone on a swap?

If your host agrees, you can!

Can I join without swapping my home?

Of course we love it if you’re here mostly for the community! But we require all members to do at least one swap a year. Why? We think it makes our community much stronger if we only have members who actively swap.

Is Urban Crabs a for-profit business?

Like the previous business owners Sanne & Bart ran for 13 years (Spotted by Locals), Urban Crabs is a social business not financed by outside investors. We’ve always operated on a shoestring budget. Our owners don’t care much about money and live a low budget life. Our members pay what they can.

That doesn’t mean we’re against making money though! The more money we have, the faster we can grow our community and our impact. But we will always choose social impact over short-term profit.

How much does membership cost?

Membership is free for everybody. After each swap, we ask you to pay what you can to support our society.