My Home is Your Home

Would you like to travel more but can’t afford it? Accommodation is a major cost in any vacation but there is a way to avoid this expense altogether – Home Exchange.

Home Exchanging or Home Swapping is when you agree to swap homes, and often cars, with someone; you stay in their home and they stay in yours, and no money changes hands.

The idea of swapping homes for a vacation is not a new concept, indeed it was started in the 1950s by a group of teachers, however more and more of us, from all walks of life, are now travelling this way. The internet has certainly helped to increase the popularity of Home Exchanging by providing ease of contact around the globe. This, in turn, has led to an increase in the number of clubs and websites one can browse, increased the supply of homes for exchange, and offered new ways to display these homes and their locations.

Home exchange has now become a legitimate and reliable alternative to more traditional forms of travel and not surprisingly, baby boomers and seniors are becoming great fans. We tend to be more flexible on dates with more free time available, we don’t normally have to worry about school holidays as we are often empty nesters, and cost savings are very important to us. I also think we are of an age when we like the idea of seeing things from a different perspective, we no longer like being seen just as tourists and often prefer to live more like a local when on vacation.

My wife was horrified when I first mentioned Home Exchanging, “I can’t have someone staying in my house, anyway no one would want to, it needs too much doing to it” or words to that effect. She wasn’t worried about security or privacy, simply, that our house wasn’t smart enough to let others stay in it.

Many potential exchangers have similar thoughts, with others having more concerns over the security aspect of having strangers staying in their home, which to a degree is understandable, but don’t forget you are staying in their home. What do you think is better, leaving your home empty whilst you are away on holiday or having someone staying in it and looking after it as if it were their own?

Home Exchange is built around trust. Trust in the people you exchange with to describe their home and location honestly and trust that, when they visit, they don’t damage your home and belongings. Home Exchange is often the beginning of lasting friendships which are built around this trust.

Home Exchanging can take several forms. A traditional Home Exchange is when you exchange homes at the same time. A non-simultaneous exchange, which offers more flexibility, is when one or both of you have alternative accommodation available, often a second home, and therefore the dates for the exchange do not have to link and the exchange happens at different times for each party. One exchange takes place in the holiday home whilst the owner remains in the main residence, and then that owner visits the exchange partner’s property at a later and more convenient time.

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  1. What he said. We have done seven exchanges, all worked out great. Our house is usually cleaner than when we left it! The neat thing for us has been the countries we have ended up travelling to because of the home exchange process- Denmark for example. We got an email from a guy who wanted to come to Our city. Denmark was not on our radar at all for a travel destination, but it was awesome! He actually was travelling with his mother, who bought some teak oil and polished everything in our house to a shine!

    The first exchange is the toughest, after that you’ll be hooked. A couple of good sites are intervac – the original one started by teachers and homelink – we switched to this since it had more Aussie options. Also has a nice search option.

    Happy exchanging,

  2. Good to hear that your seven exchanges were all great and I am not surprised, Home Exchanging is such a great way to travel. Yes Bruce this is part of the fun and adventure of Home Exchanging, being approached by fellow swappers from locations you would not normally consider and then going there and having a great time. Many of our members list ‘anywhere’ as one of their destination options and ‘anytime’ for travel dates as they are flexible on where and when to go.

    I agree with you about the first one being the toughest as you don’t really know what to expect and are still worried and concerned about the person staying at your place, but get over this one and many more will follow.


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