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Old 04-23-2019, 12:34 PM
133 posts, read 166,078 times
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I was reading an article online on home exchange websites that allows you to trade homes with someone else for a period of time (weeks/months). You pick the destination you are interested to travel to and reach out to the home owner to see if they are interested in your home.

Since lodging is a big component of travel costs, this process will save you money on hotels and allows you to live like a local. This also eliminates the need to rent out your property while you are traveling overseas for an extended period of time.

Has anyone done this before?
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Old 04-23-2019, 02:28 PM
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,524 posts, read 39,903,732 times
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For many in USA (desire to keep privacy), the use of their "Vacation home" is the best swap.

Or... if they have separate qtrs in their main home.

One of my friends did a swap and the visitors put 10,000 miles on his 'beater' car (Country Squire Wagon), He used their Volvo in Sweden and put <1,000 km, so... I would probably warn to NOT include the use of your personal car (more for liability and risk reasons / drunk driver...).

Friends ion Belgium 'pet-sit' in Japan (3 months / yr) for past 10 yrs, The hosts rotate the months they travel so our friends get different seasons in Japan.

We typically use this ($20 or less / night worldwide). Have traveled for up to a yr at a time this way.

Many times we host people in our home (while we are away), Often similar when we are traveling. "Just get the key from Neighbor, they are expecting you, stay as long as you want, use whatever is in the pantry or fridge." If home, international hosts often cook for you (and send you away with lunch for tomorrow), and always they help you find local adventures to experience, and have vast travel knowledge themselves.
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Old 05-18-2019, 04:04 PM
Status: "permanantly transplanted in TN!" (set 17 days ago)
Location: Knoxville, TN
256 posts, read 238,968 times
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I did a home swap a couple of years ago with my primary home. I wanted to spend a couple of days in Ashevillle with my sisters and our spouses, so we needed a sizable home. The other homeowner accepted our swap offer and we both got very nice 5 bedroom homes for a long weekend.

The only downfall was that it was a little weird using someone else's everyday stuff. I didn't know how to use her coffee maker and she didn't figure out mine. Both machines were too fancy to wing it. I locked my valuables in the safe and I assume she did too.

We agreed food in the fridge was fair game (buying condiments is such a pain), but we ended up having different taste in foods. We also said wine that was in the kitchen was fair game. That was fun! She was so sweet to leave us dried kale chips too (yum!) and I left homemade bread. Some people leave vehicles too. We didn't. Not taking on that liabillity.
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Old 05-19-2019, 10:08 AM
Location: Phoenix, AZ > Raleigh, NC
15,059 posts, read 18,985,577 times
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We've done over 15 home exchanges over ten years. We've NEVER had any problems. In fact, they have ALL been terrific experiences, and we are continuing to do them. (One in Phoenix in August, looking for one in Chicago for October.

Here are my suggestions and comments. I've referred a number of people. Some listen to my advice and join. Other listen and decide it's not for them.

The bad and warnings:

1. Go with your gut. If you have ANY feeling of something isn't right, don't do it.
2. Don't expect to go where YOU want to unless you have a home in a very desirable area like Manhattan, Wash DC, the Coast of Florida or Scottsdale in the winter time (the Canadians will fill your email box), ski areas in the winter time, Paris, London, etc. You get the idea.
3. Don't have one of those super desirable areas? With few exceptions, you'll be waiting for someone who wants/needs to come to your area. YOU won't get to pick and choose. Things like they need to visit family, kid in nearby colleges, people looking to relocate to your area, a special 'thing' in your area that they are interested in visiting
4. We don't lock up a room. If we trust them with our home, we trust them with all of it. We've never had a room locked off from us, either. Desk drawer - yeah, they are locked. Jewelry, etc. goes in the safe deposit box - just as it would if our home was empty.
5. We clean, clean, clean. We expect our partners to do the same. So, it's not worth exchanging for less than a week.
6. Long term exchanges (defined as anything over 2 weeks) are few and far between. If that's ALL you are looking for,
don't bother spending the money to join.
7. Consecutive exchanges, especially overseas, are very hard to organize. Usually impossible without frequent stops in hotels/Airbnb.
8. We leave phone numbers of neighbors who can help and a VERY extensive book explaining stuff about the house. How to use the washer/dryer, how to find the dish towels, where the water shut off is, etc. I do wish others were as careful, but the information is usually inadequate if something goes awry.

The good:

1. We've had the opportunity to visit amazing places and stay in a home, not the discomfort and expense of a hotel room. We've been to Capetown, South Africa, the Canary Islands, Florida (many times), misc domestic locations, Ajijic Mexico (several times and the exchange included a housekeeper and a cook)
2. We've done MANY car exchanges, on both sides. Zero problems. We've done pet exchanges too, but I insist on meeting them first, and always have a Plan B ready in case we get a bad vibe. Never had to use it.
3. We've never had a 'bad house' or a dirty house. (though I've heard of others that are not so lucky.)
4. Use the condiments in the fridge. Use the stuff in the pantry. Drink the booze, but please replace it with something similar. (Once, we ended up with a bottle of 12 year old Glenlivet, retail price $94 even though they drank
5. Before you leave, please put clean sheets on the beds and clean towels. If you've got an early flight out, leave the dirty stuff in the laundry room.
6. We LOVE the privacy, convenience and comfort of having an entire house (or condo). We LOVE that we're not in a touristy/commercial area. We LOVE that we can cook in the kitchen and save some money, or eat breakfast in our jammies.
7. Does it feel weird to sleep in somebody else's bed? Not when you think about how many people have slept in the bed in that hotel room you pay for.

My favorite site, HomeExchange.com was just sold. The new owners have changed it dramatically, taking it in a direction of points rather than partner to partner exchanges. I'm not enthusiastic.

Happy to answer any questions.

Last edited by Jkgourmet; 05-19-2019 at 10:17 AM..
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Old 07-01-2019, 07:34 AM
8,178 posts, read 11,900,573 times
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Originally Posted by Jkgourmet View Post
My favorite site, HomeExchange.com was just sold. The new owners have changed it dramatically, taking it in a direction of points rather than partner to partner exchanges. I'm not enthusiastic.

Happy to answer any questions.
Hi, JK.

That was a great post above with all the pros and cons listed. I'm curious to learn if you've changed your mind at all about the Guest Points program. I just signed up with HomeExchange.com and they gave me a bunch of "free" points to use just for completing my profile and listing our vacation condo on Miami Beach. In fact, I'm using most of the points for our upcoming trip to Ireland in September. It seems almost too good to be true: getting free stays in other people's houses around the country, including 3 nights in expensive Dublin, without having to reciprocate in any way other than to give the owners the free points that HomeExchange.com gave to me!

Speaking of reciprocal exchanges, in the few days that my listing has been online, I have already been inundated with requests from people from around the world who want to exchange their house or apartment for a stay in mine. I've received requests from England, Italy, France, Spain, Canada, Cyprus, Russia, Denmark, the Netherlands, and a few others as well. In fact, we've already begun exchanging messages with a couple in Copenhagen who want to do a simultaneous exchange over Christmas and New Years.

So this seems like a great program, although ironically, I'm still not sure about accepting guest points for non-reciprocal exchanges (even though I'm using them in Ireland) since I'm really not sure of their overall value. Plus, I've seen several listings where others specifically state that they will not accept guest points, and I don't know how prevalent that feeling is among members.

Any new thoughts on the program since your post in May?
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