Are you new to home exchanging? Check out How I Lost My Home Exchange Virginity — the story of my first home exchange.
If you have questions in the meantime, drop me a note.
Home Exchange Basics
Home exchanging is exchanging homes with another traveler. You stay for free in their home and they stay for free in yours.
1) Your accommodation is free when you travel
2) You have the comforts and conveniences of a home
3) You connect with interesting people
4) You learn what life is like as a local (if you choose to live as a local while you’re there).
After doing more than 20 exchanges myself, connecting with countless exchangers and even speaking at length with people who own home exchange websites, I’ve never heard of a problem: theft, damage/vandalism or even misrepresentation of a home.
Is crossing the street safe? Yes, when you do it the right way –and that’s simple to do.
The first key is knowing what precautions you can take, to feel confident, comfortable and safe with home exchanging. The second is understanding the nature of home exchanging.
Ultimately, the decision to home exchange is entirely at your discretion every time you assess an offer.
The only direct cost involved is a membership with a home exchange website. The typical cost is USD $100-200/year, but they vary from free to USD $500/year.
Most people with a home can exchange. If you rent or belong to a condominium association or similar, there might be rental agreement clauses or rules for you to consider. Some exchangers don’t bother checking and simply view it as arranging for a house-sitter or having friends stay while they are away.
All kinds of homes can be exchanged:
- from very modest to very, very grand
- remote, rural, suburban and urban
- primary homes and vacation homes
- float homes, boats and RV’s/caravans.
Provided the home is in good repair and clean, it is a candidate for home exchange.
Try it! There’s a very good chance that you’ll find an exchange especially if you are proactive and have some flexibility. While there’s huge demand for homes in New York City, a quiet break in the country may offer an exchanger the R&R they’re looking for. And if you have a simple and basic home, a clean place to stay for free is value that home exchangers understand.
List your home for exchange now. Even if you’re not 100% comfortable with the idea yet, list your home. You’re not committing to exchanging, you’re just exploring the opportunities.
Yes! Some people send offers for exchanges up to a year in advance. You might get an amazing offer for next year that shapes your next vacation plans. Or you might get an offer for a great weekend getaway.
The first step is to pick a home exchange site. You can start here: An Introduction to Home Exchange Websites.
Do you have more questions? Feel free to ask me!