Pros and Cons: House Exchange Vacation
Growing in popularity throughout the years and being enjoyed by millions of people around the world, home exchange is a good idea for those who are on a tight budget, but still want to travel to a new place. There are certainly pros and cons to consider and things that you need to know before swapping your home with someone else, but overall it can be an enjoyable experience and one of the best ways to discover and explore a new place from the perspective of people who already live there.
One of the coolest aspects about home exchange is that you don’t have to pay a dime for your lodging in another person’s home. Usually, the only fees that you are going to have is to list your house on a home exchange website, which is usually anywhere around $100 per year. Most people find this a bargain though, considering the average price for one night at a hotel is over that amount. Also, usually a huge amount of money is spent on eating out, but since you will have a fully supplied kitchen to cook in, it would be easy to just buy your food and cook it at the house.
Another great part of swapping homes with people is that it’s not necessarily always homes! You have many more options when doing home exchange because there are also swaps available for boats, RVs, and it is easy to find unique lodging options that would normally cost an arm and a leg to rent. Exchanging these unique homes are great ways to have a vacation in a way that you typically wouldn’t be able to!
Live Like Locals
Staying at a person’s home rather than a hotel is a good way to immerse yourself into the local culture. You could go grocery shopping, walk around the neighborhood, and get a fresh perspective on your trip rather than the tourist-centered hotel areas. You also will probably feel more comfortable since it is a home; there are usually books to read, movies to watch, and maybe even games to play! Exchanging to someone’s home can make your vacation feel homey and make you more comfortable on your getaway.
One of the problems with home exchange is that it can take up quite a large chunk of your time. Before you can swap, you need to get to know the people you are exchanging with, it’s not just a quick booking of a date and off you go. Many of the home exchange sites recommend searching 4 to 6 months in advance to give you ample time to find a place, get to know the people, and finalize all of the details.
There are some people that are uncomfortable with the possibility of strangers living in your home, while you live in theirs. One way to help avoid this fear is to use a trustworthy, well-known service. They can give you details of who would be exchanging with you, and also contact information so you can get to know who you will be swapping with. Of course, there is no pressure for you to say yes, you can always say no whenever you would like to during the communication period.
Damage to Property
Although it has never really been a problem so far for the major exchange websites, there is always the fear that the exchangers will be inconsiderate and damage your home and steal your valuable. For the most part, swappers will treat your home with as much respect as they treat theirs. Also, they are probably worried about the same thing as you are! It is good though, to make sure that your insurance covers your personal belongings and certain types of damage to your home. If you’re still worried before you leave, you can do some DIY home security projects to hide some of your valuables so that no one can find them
Contributor: Naomi Broderick