Home swapping is not suitable for everyone. If you feel uncomfortable about having unknown people staying in your house (and sleeping in your bed), home swapping is definitely not for you. It indeed implies to be willing to share your privacy and personal belongings with strangers. You also need to trust your exchange partner.
Home swapping is also meant for people willing to stay just in one place. If you like road trips and are the itinerant type, you should consider other vacation alternative.
I want to try home swapping: how should I proceed?
There are a lot of home exchange websites on the Internet. Some of them requires you to pay a membership fee. Others let you see the contact information of the people willing to exchange their homes. Here is a list of some home exchange websites you can visit:
- www.1sthomeexchange.com (website available in several languages)
- www.easyhomeexchange.com (free to join)
- www.exchangeholidayhomes.com (free to join)
Home swapping tips
- Trust your exchange partner: Trust is absolutely necessary if you are going to swap your home with some stranger. It is okay to be worried but remember: someone who spent $100 to join a home exchange website and $800 for plane tickets is not after your personal belongings (they would not pay that much money if they were).
- Be respectful: Make sure to reply to every request you receive, as you would like people to reply to you when you send a request too. Also, once you have agreed to swap homes with your exchange partner, do not change your mind. It is extremely disrespectful and your exchange partner might have already bought their plane tickets.
- Communicate with your exchange partner: The more you communicate, the less worried you will be. Remember that communication is the key to building trust.
- Write a booklet for your exchange partner: It is really important to write a booklet informing your partner on how to use your appliances (dryer, washing machine, etc.), when to take the trash out, etc. Your booklet should also include information about the place you live in, nearby stores and markets, etc. Make sure to include some insider advice on how to reduce certain costs (transportation, etc.)
- Clean your house: Clean your house and put everything in order before you leave. Also make sure to fix everything that needs to be fixed (leaking faucets, appliances, etc.).
- Get proper insurance: Getting proper insurance is really important, especially if you are thinking of swapping cars. Make sure the guest driver will be insured.
- Make sure to know exactly where the keys are: Also, make sure to know how to open the door (some can be tricky) and write down your partner’s phone number in case you need help with something.
Home swapping has become a very popular way to travel on a budget while staying away from camping and hostels alternatives. It enables people to stay in a comfortable house and to save money at the same time. It is also a good way to be part of the local community and to live like locals do. Try it and see for yourself!