Home Exchange – otherwise referred to as home/house swap – is one of the cost effective options for travellers seeking accommodation overseas.
As its name implies, home exchange basically involves you exchanging your home with someone else.
Say you plan vacationing in Paris but live in the US, and your travel budget isn’t robust enough to accommodate hotel bills. All you need do is to find someone in Paris who is also looking to vacation in the US as well, and then swap your home with him/her. It’s that simple.
Mind you, the exchange doesn’t necessarily have to fall on the same date. You could go first and your guest follow later, or vice versa. Either way, what matters is connecting with the right person.
Benefits of home exchange programs
Home exchange programs has several perks, and downsides, too. Here are reasons why you have to give home exchange a try.
- To save money on hotel reservation and lodging.
- Compared with other cost cutting alternatives like staying in hostels, home exchange is way more comfortable.
- A chance to carry your pets along. Most hotels don’t permit guests to bring their pets along. But with home exchange, that won’t be a problem
- Cost effective when taking your entire family on holiday.
- Gives you the opportunity to experience a new culture without feeling like a tourist
Now, before taking a dive, it makes sense to first determine if swapping your home with someone else would be ideal for you. Do that by asking yourself the following questions
- Are you okay with the idea of staying up in someone else’s home?
- How secured is the place where you will be staying
- How close is it from your intended final destination
- Do you have plans of touring different cities at a time?
If your answers are satisfactory, home exchange is the way to go.
Here are tips to make the most out of home exchange programs
Start your search on home exchange sites
Home exchange sites are there to connect travellers looking to swap their homes. There are lots of them out there, but not all of them is worth the squeeze. Additionally, some of the exchange sites are limited in their reach as they have connection in few countries.
However, the house swap does not always work out and you should avoid getting stranded somwhere with no other options. That said, have a plan b for unforsighted events. Consider checking some emergency options like nearby hotels or rentals. Especially if you swap with a person that only has little reputation amongst the house swapping communities, but better be prepared to fail at some point and be ble to deal with the situation accordingly. Some of the reputable sites you can start looking for emergency hosts: Couch Surfing, Airbnb, and Trust Roots. Couch Surfing alone has over 12 million registered members, so your options are near limitless.
Put your home in good condition and show it off
Since you will naturally want to stay in an apartment that is tidy and comfortable, it makes sense to put your own home in good shape, too. Also, when writing a description about your home, make it as detailed as possible.
Last minute search won’t cut it
Experts advise starting your search for a swap partner months before the planned departure date and you can expect your conterpart to do the same. Well, the reason is quite obvious; anything done in a hurry, more often than not, backfires.
Ideally, start your search 4 to 6 months ahead.
Save money by borrowing your swap partner’s car
Car rental can cost you considerably especially if you plan moving around with your family often. The best way to cut down on this cost is by borrowing your swap partner’s car. This will mean you lending out your car well.
Dream big but keep your expectations low
Surprises – both the pleasant and unpleasant ones – are inevitably when visiting a place you have never been before. Well, that’s is the actual fun of traveling. To avoid mind wrenching disappointments, keeping your expectations low is the best favour you can do for yourself.
Feel free to share the experiences you had the last time you swapped your home.