Travel the world, live like a local and save thousands of pounds!

Do you love travelling in the UK or abroad?
Do you have a sense of adventure yet like the comforts of home?
Do you enjoy saving money where possible?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any or the entire list above, home exchanging is for you. Amongst senior travelers it one of the fastest growing segments of travel. It is a fabulous way to become immersed in other cultures and explore new corners of the world while avoiding expensive accommodation and restaurant bills – turning what could seem to be an unaffordable dream into wonderful holiday.

Home exchange, what is it? 
Why don’t you stay at my home while I stay at yours? This is the most straightforward description of home exchange. You might be saying to yourself, “Really? How am I going to find someone at one of those interesting destinations who wants to come visit my home?”

Popular theory is that home exchanging started amongst teacher in Europe during the 50’s. With their long summer holidays, there is an opportunity for two parties to explore somewhere new without the high cost of accommodation. Due to these pioneers, today, we can still enjoy home exchanging for adventure and a lot more, but we have a much easier way of finding others to exchange with – the internet. People from all walks of life are benefiting from home exchange, many are just like you. Before looking at how to choose an exchange that is right for you, let’s take a look at differing types of exchanges.

The three most popular types of exchange are Direct, Non-Simultaneous, and Hospitality exchanges. Let’s explore each of them as you might find one or more perfect for you. Depending on where you are in the world, you might call an exchange a swap or a trade. We will use these terms interchangeably as they essentially mean the same thing.

Western Cape, South Africa - IVHEDirect Exchange – the one most people know, this is when two parties agree to swap locations for the same period of time. 

  • Advantage: Straightforward, with no accommodation costs, this saves the most money.
  • Disadvantage: Two parties have to like each other’s properties and locations as well as agree the exact same time for traveling and swapping.

Non-Simultaneous Exchange – when the two parties schedule their vacations at different times. This is most popular when using second or vacation homes, though it is possible to use the primary home if the owners are away.

  • Advantages: When using a property that is not the main residence, there is a lot more flexibility on when the exchanges can occur. When using an exchange network with many second homes, a credit system can be established to account for differing values of properties and time of visits.
  • Disadvantage: Anxiety of not trading at the same time. Overcome by using an established network with an equitable credit system for homes of variable values.

Hospitality Exchange – when one party hosts another in their home while they are there too. The gesture is then reciprocated at a later time.

  • Advantage: Not only do you get to visit a location, but you might also get a personal guide while making new friends.
  • Disadvantage: Not everyone wants to spend vacation time with another family that they have never met. Though when the return trip is made, the parties should know each other pretty well.

New York, USA - IVHELet’s review our opening questions
Do you love to travel? There are opportunities around the world, from major cities like New York, Paris, London and Sydney to less frequented destinations such as Alberta, Alabama, Goa, Iceland, Isle of Arran, and Patagonia. As you will come to discover, there is a good chance that no matter where you might want to visit, there is an opportunity for you to enjoy home exchange.

Do you have a sense of adventure yet like the comforts of home? Adventure can be in the activities you do or the location you visit. As you can imagine, a location in a major city is most likely going to be an apartment or maybe a home. When traveling around the globe, you might also have the opportunity to stay on a ranch, in a ski chalet, beach house, game lodge, or even a country estate.

The world of options certainly grows as you search for your next location. No matter what location or type of accommodation you choose, with home exchange, you also get the added benefit of staying where other people live or vacation. This is having the creature comforts of home. Especially when traveling to a new location, it is so nice to relax in a bit more space instead of coming back to a cramped and possibly expensive hotel room.

Does saving money appeal to you? Imagine being able to enjoy fantastic destinations around the globe while having the conveniences of staying in a home and spending only a small fraction of ordinary accommodation costs. With home exchange you not only avoid most of the accommodation costs, you have the space and amenities so you can choose to cook and eat what and when you want, saving money on restaurant bills. You will not need to eat out; of course you are on vacation, so we would recommend getting out a few times to enjoy! But the most important thing is that you have a choice.

Home exchanging is a great way to save lots of money while stepping into someone else’s world to experience different cultures and environments.

Are all home exchanges the same?
Haute Savoie, France - IVHEAs you can see above, one or more might be perfect for you. There are many benefits of home swapping. The following are most frequently quoted:

  • Great opportunity to immerse yourself in a destination culture, to live like a local
  • Limited or no accommodation costs for your holiday
  • Homes including a kitchen will give you the option to save on restaurant costs
  • Security: your property will be occupied instead of being vacant
  • Make new friends: inevitably you will get to know your hosts and guests
  • Potential of borrowing a bike, car, boat, and sporting equipment thus avoiding rental costs.

From our experience, the most important of all is HAVING FUN. Enjoy! 

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