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Home Exchange for Vacations

What is a home exchange? 

A home exchange for a vacation allows you to enjoy all the benefits of a house accommodation at no cost.  Home exchange for vacations offer more amenities than hotels, such as multi bedrooms, fully equipped kitchens, fireplaces, and private hot tubs and pools.  House swaps give you tons of space. This is especially appealing for families. With a vacation home exchange, you have room to breathe instead of being cramped up in a hotel room. Home swaps offer more space and allow the entire family to stay under the same roof. This kind of accommodation is well-suited for both short term and extended stays. Home swaps offer more privacy. Free from the environment that comes with noisy hotels, privacy is one of the biggest benefits of any house swap. 

Home Exchange types

Simultaneous Home Exchange. You stay in their home while they stay in yours.

Non-Simultaneous Exchange. You stay in their home on one date, later they stay in your home. Typically this is arranged by two members with second homes or members who will be away and their home is open.  If you have a second home, the flexibility can really help with arranging an exchange. 

Hospitality Exchange. Guests come and stay with you as a guest in your home. Later, you visit them as a guest in their home. 


Why a home exchange?  Home exchange is the smart way to vacation.  By trading homes for vacations, families, seniors and singles can enjoy free accommodation wherever they travel.   Swapping homes for holidays is a practical and sensible vacation alternative. Not only do you save by not paying for lodging (hotel rooms, surcharges, resort fees and taxes), you can also save by not paying for restaurant meals, parking, laundry, internet connection, and much more. 

How is an exchange arranged? 
Swaps usually start with an offer emailed to a prospective exchange partner who has been selected from a number of listings resulting from a search. If the member feels an exchange might be possible, they reply to the email and work  out the details. There is no timetable for how long this will take or what must be done.

Trying to find the "perfect exchange match" may reduce your chance of a home swap.  Being flexible on locations, dates and accommodation will increase your chances of a good, successful trade which is all most people want.

When considering home exchange opportunities, most people aren't necessarily seeking a home similar to their own but rather they consider the location.  Is it somewhere they would like to visit?  Are there places of interest easily accessible from the home?  After location, members will check the number of people the home will sleep to decide if it will be suitable and, if they have any special needs, whether these are available in the home.

Each home exchange is unique; a bond of trust must be built as you get to know your home swap partners and their family through e-mails, letters or phone calls.  Most people traveling on an exchange love the idea of no cost accommodation especially because through their communications ahead of time, they find themselves not staying at a strangers home, but at new found friends, and they will be staying in your home.

How do I get started?  In life there are spectators and participants.  We want to encourage you to not be a spectator by sitting back and waiting for others to answer your listing. Participate in the fun by sending out heaps of inquiries. 

When would you like to travel on an exchange?  Some home exchangers like to plan years ahead, while others are open to swapping homes within a few days.  Most people who are open to swapping homes for vacations, start looking for exchange partners 4 to 12 months ahead of leaving on their trip.  

Where would you like to travel to on an exchange?  Many home exchange members are available to travel to  almost any destination, while others are more specific.  Perhaps it's to some popular worldwide city destination such as New York, San Francisco, London, Paris, Rome, Sydney and Vancouver. How about a beach home in Hawaii, the Caribbean, Gold Coast, Western Australia, Spain,  Florida or Southern California.  Maybe a the countryside location in France, Denmark, Thailand, Canada or Argentina appeals to you or maybe it's a ski resort in the Swiss Alps, Tahoe, Colorado, Alberta or BC Canada that whets your appetite for travel. Or you may be open to multiple home exchange destinations.  What ever your destination may be, city, country side or off the beaten path area, there are people open to exchanging homes.  Start by exploring the home exchange listings.  Then have fun planning and writing your own listing.


List your own home - A listing is an advertisement.  You are telling others that you are interested in receiving home exchange offers.  You interest others and attract responses by what you say in your listing.  We recommend that you include photos with your listing.  Then describe some of the tourist and community interests in your area followed by a little about your home and family.  If you have pets, be sure to mention this as well.  You can share more information directly with those who respond.   


Actively contact other members.  Besides listing your home, send out heaps of contact emails to others wanting home exchanges.  You are inquiring about the other members' interest in an exchange with you.  Be positive and tell then a bit about your home, your family and community.  You don't need to say too much but definitely don't be negative or say too little.  We exchange homes as well. Here's a helpful suggestion  that we have successfully used.   After you decide on an area that you might like to travel, contact every member that has listed their home regardless of their desired destinations.  Why?  It is true that some members have definite dates and destinations set that can not be easily changed.  However it is also true that several members have listed desired destinations, but would also consider offers from other locations.  They just didn't say that in their listing.  By emailing all members in a chosen area you can open up exchange opportunities that weren't stated.   


Do I need to accept an offer for a home exchange?  As a member you are free to choose which inquiry  you wish to pursue further.  Many of our members receive many offers for exchange.  One member from London indicated that each year she receives well over 100 inquiries to arrange an exchange.  Sometimes it takes a few emails requesting further information before one can make a decision.  Please be courteous and answer all inquiries.  Some people wait for a response to their home exchange offer before looking elsewhere and it gives them opportunity to still find another exchange partner if you are not interested.  Some of these initial contacts may very well be future home exchanges for you.  Trying to find the "perfect exchange match" may reduce your chance of arranging a home exchange.  Being flexible on locations, dates and accommodation will increase your chances of a good, successful trade which is all most people want.


When answering others offers for exchanges: 

Answer others listings  Be active.  Send out heaps of emails.  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  description of the interior and exterior of your home

If offering a car, give the make, year and condition.  An automatic shift makes driving easier for one unaccustomed to driving on the other side of the road.

Provide references if you are an experienced exchanger.

List your preferred dates and length of exchange. The more flexible you are, the better your chances.

Be honest

Avoid misunderstandings 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.




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