U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Travel
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 06-06-2010, 11:45 AM
 
Location: Virginia
1,938 posts, read 6,349,644 times
Reputation: 866

Advertisements

Anyone house swap? I have thought about house swapping for vacations but wondered if anyone on here does it and what results they have had.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 06-06-2010, 01:18 PM
 
Location: on an island
13,382 posts, read 40,914,616 times
Reputation: 13245
Do a search of this forum, one member, Mooseketeer, does it regularly with good results.
The only worry I have about it is what to do about our pets.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-09-2010, 05:52 AM
 
Location: Oxford, England
13,036 posts, read 22,016,442 times
Reputation: 19908
I have done homeswaps for over 20 years now ( and over 50 exchanges ) and would recommend it to anyone who is a little more adventurous.

We absolutely love it and it has enabled us to have luxurious vacation in places we might not have been able to afford. We do home exchanges on average twice a year, sometimes a little more as we also do shorter domestic exchanges ( week long or long week-ends ). We exchange house and car so our only costs are the flights and spending money whilst on vacation.

It has become a lifestyle for us and it is great fun to have an entire house ( or appartment) rather than a small hotel room, and a car for freedom. Also you get to know a lot more about the country very quickly by becoming a "guest" rather than a visitor and being introduced to neighbours and friends ( if you wish to) and having to shop in foreign supermarkets for example ( something I hate at home and love abroad where it becomes an adventure).

We have exchanged all over the world ( going to Santa Fe in the Fall and had 3 weeks in France earlier on this year) and apart from a couple of broken glasses ( which our guests paid for despite us not being bothered at all) have had no problems at all.

You do need to be a little more flexible as foreign houses will not be identikit like hotel rooms but we have found that the vast majority of our exchange guests have much bigger houses than ours !

It is nice to come home to a proper home with books , and homely touches in the evening and to be able to spend an evening lounging after a hard day's "touristing").

The vast majority of members are Professionals or retired people and it is also very popular with people with kids as you exchange toys basically and to a more homely environment than a hotel. We love looking after pets and many people will be quite happy to do so.

We know a lot of retired people who exchange to New Zealand for 3 motnhs, then 3 months in Italy, then 3 months in the US etc... Some people even exchange for 6/12 months... We plan to do this when we retire. A Californian couple we exchanged with in Berkeley had not been home in over a year having done subsequent exchanges non stop in 7 countries including Turkey and Italy ( and us in Oxfordshire)... We envied them I can tell you !

Basically you pay for membership ( about $150 a year for as many exchanges as you want domestic or foreign) and get an entry into the website of the company as well as a paper directory. You then contact people you want to exchange with ( and get cotnacted a lot) and once agreed on an exchange ( dates, details etc... ) you exchange photos, emails and thus form a good impression of the kind of people you will be exchanging with.

There is also a system of reference and rating if you are worried.

We have a very small Edwardian Stone Cottage but people don't mind as long as you are honest. We always send lots of photos and detailed info about our house, area, tourist things to do etc... Most people just want a base so don't mind that our house is much smaller than their huge Californian Mansion and in fact seem to enjoy the experience. We do live in one of the most sought after parts of the UK which helps and I have had to turn away over 40 people so far this year which I hate doing.

But even not so touristic areas can be very popular as many people seek a different experience.

To be honest I am amazed most people don't do home exchanges. Most people seem scared of leaving their home to a perfect stranger but we have never had any problems really and let's face it we get their house and car in exchange . I think the vast majority of people will probably be even more careful about your house than their own.

The first time you do it is quite nerve racking but after that you relax and just enjoy it. It has allowed us a special insight into countries like Estonia for example and we love it. We tend to do 3 weeks in the Spring in Europe/UK and 3/4 weeks in the Fall abroad and the occasional long week-end exchange in between.

I have tried to convince all our friends and family , they always exclaim "what a good idea" but I think it is too scary for them ...

What I would say though is that it is better if you are an organised person with a clean or tidy house to make the exchange more pleasant for your guests. And someone who goes with the flow a little more on holiday .

We are with the biggest home exchange organisation in the world

HomeLink - home exchange house swap.

But used to be with Intervac the second biggest ( Homelink is better IMO but Intervac a close second)

Intervac-International Home Exchange Holiday Service

Don't hesitate to contact me if you need more info. I hope this helps.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-09-2010, 03:24 PM
 
Location: San Diego
5,027 posts, read 13,411,766 times
Reputation: 4849
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueWillowPlate View Post
Do a search of this forum, one member, Mooseketeer, does it regularly with good results.
The only worry I have about it is what to do about our pets.
We're considering it, given we live in one of the top tourist destinations int he US. As far as the dogs go, we'd treat it like any other vacation and take them to our pet sitter.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-09-2010, 03:40 PM
 
Location: East Valley, AZ
3,852 posts, read 8,280,319 times
Reputation: 3997
Quote:
Originally Posted by MAK802 View Post
We're considering it, given we live in one of the top tourist destinations int he US. As far as the dogs go, we'd treat it like any other vacation and take them to our pet sitter.
You come to my house Mag, and I'll go to yours. Leave the dogs there. I'll watch them
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-09-2010, 05:00 PM
 
Location: SW France
14,249 posts, read 14,137,087 times
Reputation: 27914
How does the car insurance work?

I assume you both need to take out insurance on the other vehicle?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-09-2010, 10:12 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,555 posts, read 39,934,465 times
Reputation: 23683
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jezer View Post
How does the car insurance work?

I assume you both need to take out insurance on the other vehicle?
That is a serious problem in USA (litigious society). Our rates and liability limits are pretty high, and a single claim can get you dropped from coverage and put into a high risk pool, or erase decades of building an 'accident-free' discount.

Rates would go from $300 / yr to $3000 / yr very easily if you had a claim from 'lending your car'. + your entire estate (and future earnings) would be at risk in the event of a maiming or death.

My insurance agent would probably recommend a transfer of ownership, and having the visiting party carry their own registration and insurance. (this is what they recommended when I asked about sharing a motorhome)

I mention this, as one of my colleagues frequently 'house-swaps' and several of his visitors have put over 10,000 miles on his cars, one in excess of 25,000 miles. I would not sleep well thinking someone might take advantage of 'drinking and driving' while using my car, OR that they may get hit by a drunk driver (or sleeping truckdriver) while driving my car. Or heaven forbid !! have an 'unrelated' passenger get hurt... like a hitch-hiker, or someone they picked up at a Hostel and innocently offered a 'ride'. The USA is not a place to have an accident, but I assume many other countries have similar issues and risks.., but it sends fear up my spine, to be liable in such a mess.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-10-2010, 06:35 AM
 
Location: Oxford, England
13,036 posts, read 22,016,442 times
Reputation: 19908
Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthRabbit View Post
That is a serious problem in USA (litigious society). Our rates and liability limits are pretty high, and a single claim can get you dropped from coverage and put into a high risk pool, or erase decades of building an 'accident-free' discount.

Rates would go from $300 / yr to $3000 / yr very easily if you had a claim from 'lending your car'. + your entire estate (and future earnings) would be at risk in the event of a maiming or death.

My insurance agent would probably recommend a transfer of ownership, and having the visiting party carry their own registration and insurance. (this is what they recommended when I asked about sharing a motorhome)

I mention this, as one of my colleagues frequently 'house-swaps' and several of his visitors have put over 10,000 miles on his cars, one in excess of 25,000 miles. I would not sleep well thinking someone might take advantage of 'drinking and driving' while using my car, OR that they may get hit by a drunk driver (or sleeping truckdriver) while driving my car. Or heaven forbid !! have an 'unrelated' passenger get hurt... like a hitch-hiker, or someone they picked up at a Hostel and innocently offered a 'ride'. The USA is not a place to have an accident, but I assume many other countries have similar issues and risks.., but it sends fear up my spine, to be liable in such a mess.
We've never had any problems and so far all our American ( and Canadian ) exchange partners have been able to put us on their car insurance for very little cost ( I think our current partners are not even being charged anything and all their car insurance has required is details such as our names, any accidents we might have had, date of birth, jobs and the date we obtained our driving licenses - the same has been true of us though it will cost us an extra $ 50 for adding 2 drivers for 3 weeks on our policy - the excess of claiming should an accident occur has been raised slightly ).

We have done over 50 exchanges now and have never had any problems. As for the milleage issue we always put down in the contract the maximum permitted mileage we agree on ( about 1000/1500 miles a week usually).

I must admit I have never heard of anyone ever doing more than that especially not 10,000 or even 25,000 miles. I am quite shocked actually. That would have to be a pretty long exchange for all the people we have ever exchanged with.

At the end of the day car exchange is not obligatory ( though it will shrink your pool of options quite a bit as most people prefer car exchange as well) and the formal contract you sign allows you to dictate terms to your exchange partners.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-10-2010, 05:18 PM
 
Location: Hawaii and North Carolina
96 posts, read 296,333 times
Reputation: 138
I noticed this thread here and thought I would respond that we are in Paris now on a one month home-exchange. It is working very well. When we leave Paris we will travel to Rotterdam for another two week home-exchange. We have done about 5 exchanges so far and no problems at all. Our places have been lovely and the people are very nice. Everything was as shown in the pictures and e-mails before the exchange.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 07-01-2010, 07:51 PM
 
21 posts, read 66,888 times
Reputation: 17
I have had two successful exchanges with cars and animals included. Highly recommend it! I joined homeexchange.com
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Travel
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top