How to Have a Home Exchange Vacation
Many people have considered a ‘home exchange vacation’ – an arrangement where you exchange your house with another family, so reducing or eliminating the cost of accommodation for the vacation. This type of home exchange vacation is especially popular with families, where the cost of hotels would be high, or for people who wish to get to locations away from the main tourist centers, or those who are simply curious about how other people live.
You can do this sort of vacation exchange within your own country, or with families from other countries. You can do the exchange simultaneously, or at different times (particularly if you or the other family own a second home).
However, people who have never done this sort of thing before have many questions:
How does home exchange actually work?
How do I know my home will be safe?
Will my home insurance still cover me while the other family is living in my home?
Can I expect my pets to be looked after?
I would like to go to Florida/France/Hawaii/Australia but would anyone really want to come to my home in my very ordinary city on an exchange?
The online home exchange services have the answers to all these questions and more, so the easiest way to decide if this would go well for you is to browse their web sites and see how it all works. Having done home exchanges myself I know it has been great for me and my family, and we have visited places we will always remember.
Once, we had a wonderful vacation in tropical Queensland, Australia, using the home of a retired family who had never done an exchange before. Later, they told us how easy it had all been and how they wished they had tried it at a younger age. Another time, we stayed in a beautiful old house surrounded by olive trees, high up on a hillside on a Greek island.
Of course, when you are arranging a home exchange vacation you need to think of practical issues too. You can make an exchange go smoothly by thinking ahead and stating your conditions. If your carpets and furniture are immaculate, you may not wish to allow families with small children or pets to exchange with you. If you have very precious china or breakable items you may wish to put them in storage for the duration. You may not want people to smoke in your home. You may wish to tell your neighbors that another family will be using your house while you are away, and so on.
The best way to find out if a home exchange vacation is for you is to try it once. The fee to use an online home exchange service is minimal compared with the cost of staying in a hotel, so you can’t really lose!
Now check my vacation exchange page to see all the services available and the one we recommend.