Home exchange or house swapping is a vacation alternative where you stay at someone's home while they stay at yours. A house swap may also include an automobile exchange. Other items that can be up for negotiation include the care of pets and plants.
Home exchanging has numerous advantages, including significant savings on hotel costs since neither has to pay for lodging. Additional savings can be had when an automobile is also exchanged. And who doesn't prefer a spacious house to a one-room hotel? Whether for a vacation, or a longer term sabbatical, a home exchange allows one to experience a vacation living like a native.
Unless you are exchanging a 5-star villa in the Caribbean or an apartment facing Central Park, finding a home exchange requires a little bit of effort and time. The most efficient way to arrange a home exchange is to search with a 'reverse search', which identifies who wants to come to your area.
The Internet has many websites that provide home exchange listings around the globe. You can determine how up-to-date the listings are by reviewing the proposed exchange dates - and good home exchange sites will include both the join and expiry dates within the descriptions so you know exactly how long each exchange offer has been in circulation. Home exchange websites provide a mechanism by which you can get in touch with other people interested in swapping homes. However, you are responsible for your own exchange arrangements.
To increase your chances of concluding an exchange you should post your home swap offer on several home exchange sites (look for those that include full contact details). Look for well established sites with a good choice of up-to-date listings in areas or countries you are interested in. It is recommended to post your home exchange offer several months before the dates you want to exchange homes. Compile an enticing exchange offer that includes details about your home, yourself, your destination and proposed dates. Periodically check home exchange sites for new home swap listings. And don’t forget to contact new members as soon as possible before they are able to conclude an exchange.
Once you’ve made contact and your potential exchange partner confirms their interest in your home, get to know them better by exchanging e-mails and agreeing to speak on the telephone. To reassure yourself and your exchange partner you should ask for and offer to provide references. Faculty will have additional questions related to logistics and course schedules; international programs offices can provide a lot of answers.
Clean and tidy your home before your exchange. You may also want to fix that leaky faucet that you’ve been meaning to get to for several months now.
Create a guestbook that provides information on using your appliances, local information (e.g. hospital, restaurants, grocery stores, transportation), and contact numbers (e.g. family member or friends, dentist, car garage).
Leave it in a state as tidy as you found it.
Who goes on a home exchange and why?
The answer is anyone with a home (houses, luxury homes, apartments, flats, villas, ski chalets, camper vans, cabins, condos, motor homes, river barges, house boats, rentals, and even castles have been offered for exchanges).
Reasons to enjoy home exchange travel
Many travel on a global home exchange, trading homes for international vacations. In the past few years, with a tighter economy, swaps nearer to ones home have become very popular. A vacation away from your home, that doesn't require airfare, a rental car or large expenses for fuel.
- Exchanging homes for vacations and holidays provides free accommodations.
- Job exchanges such as long-term teacher exchanges where individuals trade homes, jobs and often vehicles for six months to a year.
- Exchanging homes to be near family, friends, kids in college.
- Budget house swap accommodation while one attends university during summer or regular sessions.
- To attend sporting events such as the Olympics, Super Bowl, Wimbledon tennis or golf tournaments. Golf home exchange to great golf destinations and enjoy free accommodations with a house swap.
- To scout for job opportunities in another area of your or another country.
- Some are considering a community for a future move or retirement. They experience what it is like to live in that community through a home exchange before making the commitment to buy or move.
- To live in another community as a non tourist and experience the differences in culture.
- To get away to an isolated or off the beaten track location.
- Budget accommodation for a short term job.
- Exchanging homes for weekend getaway.
- To save money. In hard economic times home exchange provides the best vacation accommodation value. There is no cost for accommodation.
- A home exchange may allow one the opportunity to bring pets on vacation with them.
- With home swaps, one avoids hotel costs, cramped over priced rooms and hotel surcharges.
Home Exchange for Seniors
- See also: Senior travel
Seniors form a growing segment of the global home exchange network of travelers. Seniors are not usually limited to set periods for travel thus giving senior home swappers much more flexibility to arrange exchanges. Seniors often have the flexibility to travel in off-peak times to take advantage of cheaper air fares. Seniors can be open to longer term home exchange.
Although many seniors choose to travel alone, a growing number are arranging to travel with grown children and grandchildren. Home exchanges provide lots of space to stretch out and relax plus the convenience of staying in a real home from home.
Many seniors around the country and around the world share the common concerns about the high cost of travel and vacations.
All too often, the cost of traveling gets in the way of having a good time. For years, smart vacationers have been taking advantage of a unique way to see the world — at significantly lower costs.
Exchanging homes involves swapping your home with someone else’s for an agreed upon period of time. It’s free accommodation for both parties, with each side still getting to enjoy the comforts of home.
Seniors unfamiliar with the process are often concerned that their home won't be suitable - perhaps too small, or in an unfashionable location.
These concerns are rarely obstacles to a successful swap; after all, home is home, and if you're happy with your place, chances are someone else will be, too. Home swappers can be singles, family groups or retirees. Teachers have embraced the concept more than any other profession, perhaps due to their holiday or work-exchange opportunities, and seniors often have the flexibility to take holidays at any time.
Holiday swapping is not purely for international travel. Many travelers happily swap homes around their own nation.
Once bitten by the vacation home exchange bug, many people choose to swap homes in different locations every year. Some have made over 50 house swaps over several years. Although the majority of home swappers trade once a year, it is possible to fit two or three swaps in a typical year. Even local trades are possible–and practical–for those who don’t want to travel far.