Home exchange is a way to trade between travelers and swap where you stay in their home while they stay in your home. Don’t worry it’s not going to part of some reality TV show like Wife Swap. It is part of the great sharing economy that is now helping families across the world save from the high fees of hotels, taxes, and travel expenses. Homes, bungalows, apartments, condos are all listed on home exchange marketplaces for people who want to experience the world and not be locked down in one location. One great thing about it is the experience of living like a local if you choose not to be in a touristy area.
You are enabled to list your home and to search other homes where you would like to stay in these marketplaces. They normally facilitate the trade between you and the other homeowners. You are expected to pay an annual membership fee for this service but if you consider the cost of a hotel rooms you may save quite a bit of money. Once you decide on your destination and family you would like to exchange homes with you communicate with them to discuss specifics. Your personal email is not involved so that you will not be spammed by some business that is acting like a homeowner. You then move on to the next step of agreeing to each others terms and prepare for travel and getting your home ready for visitors to enjoy.
How does this home exchange work?
You first list your home on a home exchange network with the details of your home, family profile, and what destinations you are interested in exploring. You then do some searching by finding homes that match your travel plans and exchange partners who share your interests.
A few of the home exchange marketplaces we found are Homelink, Home for Exchange, and Intervac. Intervac charges $99 USD per year for full membership, and they offer a free 14-day trial membership with no credit card required if you want to familiarize yourself with the experience before trading your first home. They also provide English speaking agents in case you need someone to help translate a homeowner in France or Germany and such. Try doing all of that from a Craigslist posting.
HomeLink.org allows unlimited exchanges and charges 120 EUR for a 1-year membership but offers long-term plans that will get that price down. The next one I like the best as they offer a 10 day free trial period and have over 10,800 homes listed. After the trial Home For Exchange charges $64.50 USD. There is no need to pay for the second year if you do not exchange homes in the first year. This home swap site is founded by Ans Lammers who says you can claim thousands in USD and Euros by using the service.
Home exchanges can be a hassle but can possibly save you lots of money compared to hotels. You may want to read through how to guides before dealing with an exchange or considering a service such as AirBnb or a management service to take care of everything.