Why We Love Home Exchange – Our Tips on Advantages and Cautions

Home Exchange makes our travel affordable!

If you have been to Laugh Quotes anytime in 2012 then you probably know that we spent the better part of the year traveling around the world. We stayed in a variety of accommodations including hotels, hostels, apartments, tents, casbahs, riads, cruise ship cabins, friend’s homes but we love home exchange. (OK, if I were being really honest, my favorite was probably the 5 star resort or the cruise ship, but this post is about a home exchange).

Home Exchange is simply making a deal with another person or family to trade homes for an agreed upon period of time. We know people who do it for a weekend, but we prefer longer exchanges and have so far done a 9 week, a 5 week and a 2 week exchange. For two of the three we swapped cars as well. We do “meet” our partners on-line, and by the time we agree to swap we usually feel like we know them fairly well.

Here is one of our Home Exchange streets:

home exchange giveaway

We love Home Exchange for so many reasons.

  • It makes travel so much more affordable as no money changes hands for accommodations.  In New Zealand this means there is no impact on our home/car insurance and our “guests” are covered.
  • Lot’s of space – we were staying in a home, rather than a hotel room.
  • Everything we needed was in the house, including a kitchen and laundry facilities.
  • Getting local rather than being in a tourist location really changes the perspective on travel.
  • Living in the community also reduces food costs as the extras are in the house and we shop local rather than tourist.
  • Introduction to neighbors, two of our three partners left us a list of “English” speaking friends should we need it.
  • Our exchange partners were available via email to answer questions, plus they left us ideas on things to do.

Since nothing is perfect, here are our best tips for a successful home exchange:

  • If you are exchanging cars, be sure to include in the discussions who is responsible for normal wear and tear – so if a part wears out whilst you are in the exchange who will pay for that piece.  We used the sample letters and agreements supplied by home-exchange.com but they didn’t include this contingency – which resulted in a rather expensive problem for us.
  • Look closely at the photos of the exchange partners house and assume that this is as good as it gets for these people. So, if the place is a bit untidy in the photos, they are probably not people who keep things in perfect order -which may or may be what you want, depending on who you are.
  • Cultural differences are huge, so don’t assume what seems obvious to you – one of our home exchange partners didn’t have an oven – something we never thought to ask.
  • Ask for a map highlighting the house and any major locations you are interested in – “walking distance” had very different meaning to different people, and while two of our partners referred to beach as walking distance, we would have only used that description for one of them, while the other we would have described as a 40 minute walk to the beach.

Related Links:


Top 10 Around the World Travel Highlights
Giveaway! Win A 3-Month Membership to Home Exchange.com
About Rhonda Albom

When I met my hubby he was looking for a traveling companion. Together we have moved to New Zealand and visited over 42 countries, most with our now teenage girls. Things rarely go as planned, and generally we have an amusing tale to tell. That's what Laugh Quotes is about - the fun side of our adventures and our expat life.

Comments

  1. I’ll take the hotel room and my home is locked up with the alarm on. This is just not for me. Not one bit, but I’m so happy it works for you.

    Have a terrific day. :)
    Comedy Plus recently posted..Feline Friday #17My Profile

    • LOL – If it’s the five star hotel resort I am right there with you. However, if it is longer term, and you want to save the budget, and you are not bothered by other people living in your house, then home exchange is a great way to go. So, I am guessing you didn’t enter to win a free membership :)

  2. Loretta from home swap says:

    Hi Rhonda! I agree with you that home swapping is a smart way of travelling. A lot of people are now interested with this concept because it makes us save during travels big time. We also run an online community of home swappers and we noticed a significant increase in traffic. Our seasoned members say it’s a great way of gaining friends too. Please include us in tour list. We are . :)

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