The opportunity to travel and experience scenery and communities from a resident’s perspective can be appealing. This practice, known as house swapping, can place you in the comfort of a neighborhood with surroundings you might otherwise never experience.
Your vacation neighbors are locals rather than mere fellow travelers, giving you the chance to meet new people and get a viewpoint seldom seen by tourists. Many participants give their neighbors a heads-up about your vacation, ensuring your arrival receives a warm welcome.
What Are the Benefits?
Although you will usually not have room service and be expected to keep the home tidy, house swapping can be much more affordable than typical accommodations. A few of the advantages include:
- Car swapping is sometimes included for travelers who fly
- Having a full-service kitchen at your disposal can help you save on the expense of eating out often
Often, you can identify the need for any specific amenities with most exchange services. The surroundings of a home are also more intimate than the typical hotel.
How Does It Work?
Finding a homeowner at your desired destination who wants to spend time where you live might be easier than you think. There are several popular global house swapping services with prevalent networks.
You can also review services that work with homeowners within your own country. For instance, there are services that cater to exchanges for the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand, or strictly work swaps in the U.S., Canada, Central America and the Caribbean. You can check out sites like HomeLink or HomeExchange.
It’s Easy: Treat Their House Like Your Own
The golden rule of house swapping might be to treat your guest house as you would your own. After all, in the case of a direct swap or exchange, the homeowners will be staying in your house for the duration. While most home swappers report few issues and often praise their gracious swap mates, a direct swap increases the odds that your dwelling will be respected and left shipshape as well.
Communicate through email, picture exchanges, and by phone with your trade partners beforehand. You can often view the facilities, know what to expect, and determine the cleanliness of the residence from photos. In addition to pictures of the home, request pictures of the neighborhood.
Ask specifically about:
- Local emergency numbers
- Computer use
- Internet access
Solving Potential Problems
If you have an issue, you will not be able to dial the front desk; however you should exchange vacation contact information with your trade partners. If you have a local relative or friend as a contact for your visitors, be sure to alert the friend or relative and provide this number to your visitors.
If the service has not provided you with information about the subject’s homeowner and auto insurance coverage, ask about this. Should you have other concerns, meeting your vacation counterparts at one home or the other can increase your confidence. You can also request the homeowner’s references.