Home swap. As the name implies, you swap your home for a period of time with another person/family’s home.
The advantages are of course free accommodation in a desired location, and the home may often come with car, extensive gardens and even a swimming pool. It can be a city apartment, country cottage, or seaside villa. But the more desirable your own home location, then the better the chance that you will find a swap with someone in the area that you desire.
There are a couple of major players, but world’s largest company appears to be Lovehomeswap with 70,000 homes listed in over 100 countries. I quite like the site because it has lots of easy to follow information, and their FAQs answer every possible question including such things as home and car insurance.
Lovehomeswap also have a very interesting points system, where you can earn points by making your house available, and then using those points later to avail yourself of someone else’s property. It gives great flexibility and means that you don’ t have to have a simultaneous swap. That really appeals to me!!
Lovehomeswap site offers you three levels of membership leading in at AUD 22 a month.
Another large site is HomeExchange which also claims to be the largest. They are less expensive at AUD 180 per year, but I find the site less informative and helpful than Lovehomeswap but you be the judge.
I quite like the Aussie site Houseswapholidays which is currently offering a 2 year membership for just AUD 29.95, and seems to have a relationship with another site Yourhomeformine which is offering 2 year membership for $69.95. The latter has a very large overseas offering. I like the idea of dealing with well established local operators on the same time zone as ourselves, with whom we communicate.
All the sites do the same – provide you with information and pictures of the homes, and once a member you have access to the contact details. They also give you lots of advice on all the issues that may arise.
It is absolutely vital that you have lots of contact by email and phone with the prospective swap partner before finally agreeing. Ask lots of questions about the property and all the facilities that are important to you. I say again – ask lots of questions. All the information about the property has been supplied by the house owner to the house swap operator who is just the facilitator of the swap – nothing more.
There are many, many happy swappers worldwide and it seems to work well if you take the time to talk to one another at length before making a commitment. That appears to be the key.
Looks good to me. I have never done it myself but am seriously considering it. If any of you reading this blog have enjoyed home swapping, then please give us your thoughts and advice – let’s all hear from you below.. we are waiting… 🙂
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