IDEAS

    All About House Swapping as a Way to Travel More Cheaply

    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.

    Reflecting on the Green House at Hidcote Manor Garden!
    House Swappingantonychammond / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

    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:

    • Keys
    • Pets
    • Utilities
    • 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.

    MikiMo
    I have spent the past 15 years in the travel industry. Today focused on promoting different ways of traveling, I'm in the process of creating few travel websites, which will be launched shortly. I have a great passion for travel and the travel industry. My goal here atTtripOutlook is to connect to other proffessionals in the travel industry and to exchange experience.

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    Comments

    1. This is for sure a great way to save money, and actually see from the inside how people live and what happens in a town on an every day basis. Is a different and I think more comfortable way to travel since you get to go to a house instead of a hotel, and the only thing I would miss of a hotel is the service, you get to find your room clean and someone cooks for you. Still being in the house of a local must be a more rich experience.

    2. Great topic! I had never heard of house swapping before, it makes so much sense. I am sure there are many people who wouldn’t mind cutting costs by swapping their home for a week or two. They may not be in the specific location they want but they could probably work out driving options.

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