A house exchange or house
exchange is - we trade house, apartments, flats, houses,
condos for short or longer stay vacations. You stay at my
place while I stay at yours.
Most travelers think of
booking a hotel whenever they travel. There may be many
reasons for this, but the biggest among them has to be that
most people do not think they have any options.
By swapping homes for a
vacation, two families,
from different parts of the area you live in, from other
regions of your country,
or the world
- agree to exchange homes for a vacation or holiday. Typically
home swaps are arranged for 1 to 4 weeks with cars an option
to be included in the arrangement. There is also the option of
exchanging homes for a relaxing weekend getaway to a nearby
location. Some travelers use a home exchange as a means of
affordable longer term free accommodation. Since no
money changes hands between the parties - you can have the a
first class vacation anywhere in the world and free home
Home Exchange Club
Where do I start?
This web site is for
you. To learn about a vacation home exchange, about trading
spaces for short term and longer
term holidays and perhaps to join the thousands of
individuals and families that travel on a vacation home
exchange each year. Here are some ideas on how to
arrange and prepare for a successful home exchange.
Home exchange has been
around for decades. It might take a few e-mails, faxes
or phone calls to arrange the swap, but once you have agreed
most things fall into place.
Together with exchanging homes you may swap cars - brilliant
for low-cost touring or day trips. You also swap advice about
local sights, services, pubs and bargain shopping.
People unfamiliar with the process are often concerned that
their home won't be suitable - perhaps too small, or in an
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 self-employed
people often have the flexibility to take holidays.
Not that holiday home swapping is purely for international
travel. Many travelers happily trade homes around their own
"Once bitten by the
vacation home exchange bug, many people choose to swap homes
in different locations every year. Some have made over 50
vacation 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
From a home exchange
article featuring Global by Arthur Frommer, world renowned
Because, when all is
said and done, a home vacation exchange is the single most
logical, reasonable, sensible, indeed brilliant, method of
vacationing in travel today. Instead of leaving your home or
apartment empty and unused during the time of your vacation,
you derive a benefit from it, you treat it as an asset. You
trade places temporarily for another home or apartment,
eliminating all costs of lodgings from your vacation budget.
One of the first
questions to ask is when would you like to go? Some home
exchangers like to plan years ahead, while others are open to
swapping homes within a few days. Most home exchangers,
however, start looking for exchange partners 9 to 12 months
ahead of going. Start by exploring the home
exchange listings. Then have fun planning and
writing your own listing.
ON HOW TO GET AN EXCHANGE
List your home.
Be sure to include photos of your home or area you live
in. Give yourself some time to find an exchange.
Many experienced home swappers plan to start seeking an
exchange 6 to 9 months before they travel.
Creating the initial
The first letter you
send to potential exchangers should express your tentative
interest, pending further correspondence.
Introduce your family, the
ages of your children, careers, hobbies and special interests.
Especially when teens and kids are involved, including a
family photo is a good idea.
Outline the advantages of
your home–i.e., its proximity to tourist attractions,
shopping, safe and quiet neighborhood, climate.
Provide a detailed
description of the interior and exterior of your home, listing
features like working fireplace, oriental carpets, antiques,
childproofing, barbecue and outside eating area
If offering a car, give the
make, year and condition. An automatic makes driving on an
unaccustomed side of the road much easier.
Provide references if you
are an experienced exchanger.
List your preferred dates
and length of exchange. The more flexible you are, the better
Be honest. Your abode may
be humbler than that villa in Tuscany where you’re hoping to
go, but if the time and the place are right, your potential
exchange partners would probably prefer your home to a hotel.
-YOU HAVE A HOME EXCHANGE! SO NOW WHAT?
Here are several
"class" ideas that experienced home exchangers have
contributed. You may have other helpful ideas. You are
warmly welcomed to share these with others.
No need to redecorate,
but leave your home spotless. Dust, mop and vacuum floors,
clean out the refrigerator, scour the stove and oven, and
clean the windows. Make sure bathrooms are free of mold and
Clear away enough of
your own things in drawers, closets and bathroom cupboards so
your guests have room to empty their suitcases and make
themselves at home.
Leave at least two sets
of linens and towels.
Arrange for people to
tend the garden and pool, as well as clean the house if you
and your fellow exchangers have not agreed to do these chores
Write your house and car
insurance companies to inform them of the exchange dates. Your
home insurer is likely to consider the presence of house
guests to be a plus, since an empty home is a target for
burglars. (In fact, some insurance policies are nullified if
the house is left empty for more than 10 days.) Let your auto
insurer know the names and driver’s license numbers of those
who’ll be operating your car. Car exchangers
might want to consider increasing their automobile coverage
during the exchange period by lowering the deductible and
raising the third-party liability.
Ask a friend, neighbor
or family member to welcome your guests and answer questions.
Make sure all appliances
are in good working order.
Lock away any valuables
and important papers, preferably away from your home.
Compile a guide to your
home and surroundings, including recommended local restaurants
and attractions, nearby public tennis courts, swimming pools,
golf courses, pool and garden maintenance, when trash goes
out, phone numbers of doctors, dentists, plumbers,
electricians, babysitters, the nearest hospital.
by having a written agreement about exchange dates, the number
of people involved, use of the car, and who pays what in terms
of utility and long-distance bills, etc.
Leave the makings of a
simple meal and a small welcome gift–for example, a bottle
of wine or a guidebook on your area.
Gifts are a nice touch but aren't a
necessary part of a home exchange.
Have fun planning your trip.