James and Prue Woodford came up with the idea for Youcamp while camping on their own property.
“We used to love sitting around the campfire on our land and realised all around us were other private properties with beautiful potential campsites,” says James. “All that was needed was a way to bring landholders and travellers together.”
James and Prue founded Youcamp.com, a website that connects holidaymakers with private landowners. The site has properties listed across the country; from basic bush camping with no facilities on Ovens River in Victoria, to glamping in Western Australia with yoga and massages, retro caravans on a sheep station in South Australia and luxury cottages in Tasmania. Once a host builds their listing they can add activities such as horse riding, fossicking or cooking lessons for guests.
“We find people are particularly interested in properties that are dog-friendly and allow campfires,” says James. “We’re no longer surprised by the variety of special requests or the offerings that hosts make available – everything from tarot readings to reiki massages.”
And though the peer-to-peer marketplace is thriving, with sites such as Car Next Door and Airtasker, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing for Youcamp. The couple has been working hard with local councils and government at all levels toward updating regulations. And with hosts to ensure guests have great experiences.
Realising hosts don't share their land just for the money has been a revelation. “I am staggered at how much people get pleasure out of inviting responsible visitors onto their property and making new friends and acquaintances,” James says. “And how good and courteous people really are.”