Home Exchange

Home Exchange Pros of Swapping Houses for Vacation

Did you ever see the movie The Holiday? In it, Cameron Diaz is fed up with her busy Los Angeles life and decides to exchange her mansion with an anonymous stranger. The stranger, Kate Winslet, lives in a tidy cottage in England and the two spend the Christmas holiday in each other’s homes. They both fall in love and get to experience life in a foreign country as a local instead of a tourist.

This charming movie exposed a lot of people to the idea of house swapping, where you exchange homes for a week or two with someone else. Instead of staying in an anonymous hotel, you stay in their home and they stay in yours. Millions of people swap homes every year all over the world. And for those who have to be careful with money, swapping homes is one of the best ways to experience a new place and save money on your vacation at the same time.

Home swaps usually occur simultaneously, staying in each other’s home during the same week. However, if you’ll be away on business or on a separate vacation while they wish to visit, you can still swap out your home. In this case, you simply arrange to stay at their home at a later date.

Home swapping definitely has many benefits, and one of the most important ones is that you don’t pay anything for your lodging. The only cost associated with this practice is the membership fee for the house swapping website (which is essential to find someone to swap with). These fees are usually $100 or more per year, but since the average price for one night in a hotel often exceeds $100, most people find this to be a bargain.

Another travel expense that can get prohibitive is eating out. But since you’ll have a full kitchen to cook in, you won’t need to eat three meals “out” every day. Plus, you’ll get to experience local grocery shopping, which can be quite different in other countries. Furthermore, if you and your host agree to swap cars, you’ll eliminate car rental costs as well. Staying in someone’s home rather than a hotel is often more comfortable: there are usually movies to watch, books to read, and perhaps even toys for your kids to play with. Some homes have a pool or fitness room as well.

Also, when you swap, you’re in an actual home and not an impersonal hotel room. In addition, you’re also more likely to get a better sense of the area’s culture because you’re in a neighborhood rather than a hotel. Living amidst “the locals” can add a depth of perspective to your trip that you would otherwise miss out on in a hotel or tourist-centric area.

Home exchange is especially easy if you have a second home, a vacation home. Because you’re not living there all year round, you don’t have to try as hard to coordinate schedules. You can make your home available to a wider variety of exchangers with different travel needs.

Another interesting aspect is that home exchanges don’t always involve homes: you can also stay in someone’s yacht, or even their caravan so you can tour an area. You can often find unique lodging options that are unavailable, or quite expensive, via other means.

Home exchanges take time to arrange. In fact, most sites recommend starting your search at least four to six months before you plan to go on vacation, and you’ll also want to be flexible on the exact location and dates.

By Heather Levin,
Posted in: Spending and Saving, Travel https://www.moneycrashers.com/house-swap-exchange-homes/



Read the text about the advantages of exchanging homes on holiday. For questions 1-10 choose the best answer A, B or C. Only one of the answers is correct. Number 0 is given as an example. You will get 1 point per correct answer.

0. In the movie “The Holiday” the two main characters exchange properties that … …
a. are in the same country. 

b. are stylistically very different. √

c. belong to people they know.

1. Exchanging homes on vacation is …


a. an expensive way to discover new places.

b. often done for a maximum of two weeks.

c. only common in certain countries.


2. Most people exchange houses with others …


a. at the same time.

b. when they are on business.

c. to go on a separate vacation.


3. To do home swapping you …


a. don’t pay anything at all.

b. pay the hotel fees for the first night.

c. pay the internet site used to find the house.


4. When you travel this way you ...


a. can eat in or out.

b. have to eat out every day.

c. have to cook every day.


5. You can save money on your vacation if you …


a. agree to use each other’s cars.

b. buy local food.

c. watch movies at home.


6. Staying in someone’s house is more ……… than a hotel room.


a. luxurious

b. personal

c. relaxing


7. When you do a house exchange you normally stay in….


a. the hotel district.

b. the tourist town centre.

c. a residential area.


8. It is more simple to organise a home exchange if you have…


a. a holiday home.

b. a tight schedule.

c. specific travel needs.


9. You can only do a home exchange if …


a. you have a vacation home.

b. you have a yatch or a caravan.

c. you have good accommodation to offer.


10. When you travel with a home exchange you have to …


a. start looking for properties at least a year before you go.

b. be ready to change the destination and time of travelling.

c. organise it in the same way as a traditional holiday.

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