House swapping and home exchange is popping up on everyone’s radar at the moment. With cheap flights becoming more common there has never been a better time to explore the world.
But where do you stay when you jet set into your next destination? Hotels are expensive and impersonal. Home exchange is an opportunity to save money, have more space and comfort and have a full experience.
Should I do a House Swap?
It is natural to have some hesitations when trying something new. So, I have put this article together to help you figure out if house swapping is right for you.
Is home exchange right for me?
1. Do you love to travel?
This is the most important question. Home exchange is for travellers. Are you passionate about travel? If the answer is yes then this is the article for you. Keep reading to find out if home exchange will help you to travel more.
2. Can you be Flexible?
Sometimes the universe seems to align, and you find an exchange partner for the exact dates and the exact location, this happened to us when we were heading to a concert in Prague. But this is not always the case.
You will have the best chance of finding an exchange is you can have some flexibility. This could be being open to a different suburb in your desired location, a different city or even a different country.
For example, I wanted to visit the Algarve coastline in Portugal, I knew I could get a direct flight from where we were living in Dresden, so I started looking for an exchange partner. I ended up exchanging with a family in Huelva, Spain. Only an hour drive from Faro airport but in a completely different country!
3. Are you adventurous?
I’m not talking climbing Mount Everest adventurous but having an adventurous spirit will help you get the most out of house swapping.
Let’s say you were contacted by someone in a faraway land? a place that wasn’t necessarily on your travel radar but is still an appealing destination. Would the thought of going somewhere you hadn’t previously considered fill you with dread? Or would you start googling and dreaming, excited about this awesome opportunity that has fallen on your lap?
4. Do you like to get off the beaten path?
A number of people also exchange their primary home which could be anywhere around the world. If you like to get away from the tourist hoards to destinations that haven’t yet made it into the guidebooks, then home exchange can be a great opportunity.
5. Do you want to travel for free?
With home exchange, you can get free accommodation, add in some travel hacking for flights and you have yourself a free trip!
6. Are you on a tight budget?
Large families, retirees and those without a lot of extra cash for travel expenses can have fantastic holidays with house exchanging. Travellers will save an average of 50% off their travel cost by home swapping. More if there is also a car exchange. More again if you can save on transport costs by using air miles or driving to your destination.
7. Do you see the best in people?
There is trust involved in letting someone into your home. If you think everybody in life is trying to scam you or has a hidden agenda, then home exchange is probably not for you.
In my almost 4 years using a paid home exchange website I have never been approached by anyone that didn’t seem genuine and authentic (I can’t say the same about Airbnb). I encourage you to use a paid service, the small fee is quickly recovered after one or two nights in a home exchange and raises a barrier to entry for any shady folk that are looking to make a quick buck scamming someone.
I have been using homeexchange.com for more than 4 years.
8. Do you like meeting new people?
Swapping homes can be a great way to connect with other people.
You might be able to meet in person to swap keys and spending time to get to know each other.
There are often opportunities to meet neighbours, friends and relatives that are in the area and get recommendations for places to eat, shop and visit. You might even get invited to a celebration or outing.
On our exchange to Spain, our hosts were staying nearby with family, they had kids the same age, so we met for meals, hung out at the beach and even went paddle boarding together. It made the holiday so much more special and memorable.
If you are an outgoing people person you might even want to consider a hosted exchange where the homeowner stays in the house and you occupy a guest bedroom.
Introverts needn’t worry, staying in a second home you’ll likely not see your host at all so even if you are a little shy, home exchange might still be right for you.
9. Do you like to learn more about the local culture?
Living in someone’s house can give you so much more insight into the way the locals live. From the way the house is set up, the decorations and the food in the cupboard. Your host will be able to tell you where they shop, their favourite restaurants and where they go for recreation.
Opportunities to join in the local community are scarce when you stay in a hotel. Your host can be a valuable resource and will let you know about local events and traditions.
10. Can you plan in advance?
One thing you cannot do with home exchange is change your plans at the last minute. Your exchange partner will be relying on you to be committed and your plans should be set in stone.
If you hate to plan ahead and tend to flake on previous commitments, then home exchange is not for you.
11. Can you keep your own house tidy?
I am certainly not a neat freak, but when it comes time to hustle, get the chores done and the house spotless, I can do it (like before a home exchange or when my mother in law is visiting).
If you’ve still got last year’s Christmas tree in the living room, then letting someone stay in your home might be a bit of a stretch.
Joining home exchange motivated me to declutter and get more organised and I love my house even more now because of it.
You will also be expected to leave your hosts house the way you found it.
So what do you think? Is home exchange right for you? I’d love to hear from you and any questions you might have. You can find me on Facebook or drop a comment below, I’m happy to answer your questions.
AS a long-time home exchange user I have referral codes that can get you some extra perks. If you are interested in receiving a referral code drop me an email with “HE referral” in the subject and I’ll send you a code. This does require me to share your email address with Home Exchange but don’t worry, there is no obligation and you can unsubscribe from their emails at any time. If I refer enough people, I do get a discount on my membership next year.
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