Home Exchange sounds good, how do you find the right network to join?


25 people found this feature helpful

•  What type of exchange (read last posting) is best for you?
•  Is bigger really any better?
•  How easy is it to find the location, activities and type of accommodation that you enjoy 
   for vacations?
•  Would you prefer to exchange with only other Seniors?
•  Do you want a checklist to use when choosing a home exchange membership?

You love to travel and the benefits of home exchange sounds appealing, now comes your first step, finding an exchange network to join.  Before instantly signing up to a club or network you should consider what are the most important criteria for you.  The questions above will help you in make the right decision.  

If you are only interested in Direct Exchanges then you have many options, just remember that you will have to find a location and home that matches the same time you will want to swap. 

Dorset, UKIf you want the flexibility of a Non-Simultaneous exchange, there are only a select number of memberships available.  It is not an either/or decision as some organisation offer their members both Direct and Non-Simultaneous Exchanges.  When doing your research check to ensure you are getting what you want. 

Bigger is not always better.  When you start looking on the internet, many organisations claim to have the world’s largest or most listings.  One of them has to be the biggest, but why may this not matter to you?  What really matters is you find the right exchange for you – this means locations, type of accommodation, type of exchanges and homes with good amenities.  We have found that in an effort to look big, there is what we call in the industry, a lot of dead  wood.  These are home listings that have been around for years but are no longer valid.  It will be extremely frustrating trawling through hundreds of property listings, wasting a lot of your time trying to find someone to respond to your enquiries.  Be careful to select a home exchange organisation that manages their listings, keeping them current and up to date, and can offer you assistance when needed. 

New Hampshire, USANow is a good time to talk about price.  Some exchange networks offer a free listing.  Two sayings come to mind you get what you pay for and rarely is anything really free.  When home swapping sites offer free listings there will inevitably be properties on the site that are old or have owners that really are committed to communicate.  This will waste your time and will reduce your pleasure in the whole home exchange experience.  The other thing that often happens with a free listing is that home owners can list their property, but they cannot respond or communicate to enquiries without paying.  This will cause delays in communication, another waste of your time.  Remember that you are most likely going to save thousands of pounds, euros or dollars on home swapping, so the small cost of joining a reputable home exchange community makes sense; saving you time, avoiding frustration and giving you a much better experience in home exchanging.
Western Cape, South AfricaYou have embraced the idea of exploring a new location and enjoying a local home, if it is your first exchange you will most likely at some point have some anxiety.  Will the home you are visiting really be all it is promoted to be?  Will the visitors to your home treat everything with the same care and respect you do?  These questions and feelings are natural.  Remember that anxiety can also come before a hotel based vacation; is it really like the brochure or are the pictures ten years old?  How can you overcome this anxiety?  Look to your home exchange network for assistance.  The most reputable organisations have established methods of verifying facts about its members.  This is by identifying experienced traders and having a guestbook of comments for future traders to read about previous trades.  There are also various methods of validation of identities and property features.  While no system is foolproof, it is always good to take steps toward ensuring that you will have the best experience possible.  

Gold Coast, AustraliaIf you are an owner of a second / vacation property you might specifically be interested in a home exchange network that offers its members a credit based systems.  Credits place a value on both the time of the exchange as well as the type of property.  A good example is the notion of a holiday or high seasons.  Having a beachside home in summer is worth more than during the winter, just like a ski in ski out chalet is more valuable during the ski season.  We all know of small apartments in cities like New York, London or Paris that are worth many times more than a large countryside home. 

Finally, would you like to exchange with only other Seniors?  This is an added option on a select number of home exchange sites. 

The internet is a perfect place to start your research on the various home exchange networks.  Remember to ask yourself the above questions and think about what type of exchange community is best for you. 

Would you like a FREE Home Exchange Membership Checklist to help you determine which network is best for you, simply email us here.  We’ll email you a checklist within 24 hours.

There are many options; you might consider joining more than one exchange to expand your opportunities.  The most important of all is to start traveling and have fun!  Enjoy!

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Other Members' Thoughts - 14 Comment(s)

  • Kenbob
    almost 5 years ago
    I have not done home exchange before. Ithink it can be rather fun if you get link up with the right family. I love to give it a go.
  • Adventurer
    about 5 years ago
    I have not tried home Exchange before, I love to give it a try.
  • MoG1952
    about 5 years ago
    I have just returned from 5 house swaps from North Island to South Island New Zealand. The great thing for me was being able to afford to spend money on 'experiences' like the Elm Wildlife tour in Dunedin. Seeing fur seals, yellow eyed penguins and albatross in the wild was amazing. All made affordable by swapping my house in Scotland with 'like minded' people.
  • lionpops
    about 5 years ago
    Think I would rather stay or get a housekeeper in!
  • Patriciamichael
    about 5 years ago
    Many thanks for this very informative, encouraging and reassuring article on home exchange. We haven't tried it yet but are more likely to give it a go now that I have read this article. Patriciamichael
  • sandra_42
    about 5 years ago
    A comment for Bren,
    We use the Home Base Holidays website and find it easy to find people in our own age group. You can also check whether there are children or not. We prefer not to have children in our house but families with youngsters like to go somewhere where there are toys etc.
    You can exchange e-mails via the site for a while before you plan an exchange and before you give pot private contact dtails.
  • Larryivhe.com
    about 5 years ago
    Hello Dragonfly63,
    Owning and managing a 4 Star B & B can be rewarding in meeting plenty of nice people, but also hard work! Wishing you the best in your upcoming planned travels. FYI - some home exchange sites also include B & B's in their network. At IVHE.com we have a portal for owners just like you www.ivhe.com/hotel-join Wishing you the best, Larry

    Hello Bren,
    Thank you for your comments. Many travelers are like you, want to keep within a similar age group. There are some home exchange site that are dedicated to certain age groups, or like at IVHE.com you can choose, if you want you can trade with only Over 50s. This is a group within our total membership base, thus giving you a lot more choice. FYI - at IVHE over 70% of our members are over 50. Thank you again for your comments.
  • Bren-Hall
    about 5 years ago
    Yes; lots of interesting info. here. I think I would prefer to exchange with people of my same age group.
  • dragonfly63
    about 5 years ago
    This sounds a way of holidaying that would be well worth investigating. My husband and I are intending to give up our four star B & B in the next couple of years which will involve selling our existing property to buy somewhere slightly smaller. Home Exchanging is something that I intend to investigate far more thoroughly so that we are in a good position to do this in our new home. We have already decided that it is our turn to 'have a gap year' (or two) and this would be the ideal way to do it without worrying about leaving an empty house. Many thanks for sowing the seed.
  • sandra_42
    about 5 years ago
    Thanks, I did know about this competition but as we only ever travel with carry on luggage we've got plenty! My top travel tip would always be never put your luggage in the hold. Walk out of the airport and get on with your holiday. Another great thing about home exchange is there's always a washing machine and usually plenty of clothes pegs so you don't need many clothes. The number of rentals I've stayed in that have a washing machine but nowhere to dry your clothes!
  • Larryivhe.com
    about 5 years ago
    Hello Sandra, Great story, thank you for sharing. We find that there are many like-minded people that home exchange – they love to travel, enjoy the comforts of a home and save money! Love your comment about sharing a wonderful kitchen, makes the whole experience more enjoyable. We currently have a contest running where you can win a pair of carry-on luggage, would welcome an article submission from you.
  • sandra_42
    about 5 years ago
    I have been home exchanging for six years through Home Base Holidays, for whom I write articles, and we've completed about 20 exchanges to Switzerland, Ireland, Spain and across the UK. We have always got to know our exchange partners very well via e-mail prior to the swap, some of them we've met. Advantages not listed here include lovely neighbours and sharing store cupboards..........it's such a bind when self catering to buy a whole pack of sugar or rice or a whole container of spice just to get one pinch. Some-one's home is usually more comfortable than even the poshest holiday let and the insider tips on where to eat and what to see are priceless.
    I would say be flexible about where you go. We've had some delightful holidays in places we'd never have considered. And always remember to be polite and reply to all requests asap, even if the swap is not for you.
  • Vicky11
    about 5 years ago
    I am not sure about this. It could be good.
  • Ali-Jones
    about 5 years ago
    You would need to take a leap of faith to do this I think for the first time, but it could work out as a very rewarding and enjoyable experience