Home Swaps: All You Need to Know

This is a guide to understanding the various questions, concerns and possibilities of home swaps. If you have never engaged in a home swap it is one of the best ways to travel and discover new places on a budget. If you have a home and someone else has a home and you are both willing to travel, then it only makes sense to save on the $100 a night hotel and live through the front door of another family. From travelling all over the world from home swaps, hostels, hotels, couch surfing and the occasional no sleep home swaps have been my best experience. As I rave about my travels, I spent much of my time explaining the elements of a home swap and thought I should write a FAQ on the basics.

What is a Home Swap?

Home Swap is an exchange of homes, where both residents vacate their home and allow the others to stay.

What are the Advantages of a Home Swap?

The advantages of a home swap are numerous, for one, you don’t have to pay for a hotel. You can experience the new location, country or town in the eyes of a local. You have the ability to meet neighbors and take walks down the street where it would be “ideal” to live rather than a busy hotel hallway. You will also be able to cook on your own rather than having to eat out at every meal if you are travelling on a budget.

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Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rmgimages/4660632976/

Is it Safe?

Rightly so, many families are concerned about the safety of their homes. To many people, there is a common courtesy of if we treat your home well we expect for you to treat my home well. Seeing the number of repeat home swaps it has truly been a cycle of respect for the others property. Saying this, it is still always a smart practice to stow away your valuables into a hidden location or a locked room. It is very common to house swap with others and there is a room which is locked. To be courteous, the practice is to always ensure that the amount of individuals occupying your home can fit into the house comfortably with one room locked.

When can I do a House Swap?

There are many people who ask if they sign up for a house swap program do they have to be out of there house on certain dates? Absolutely not, and if the house swap program you sign up for requires you to be out this is not a standard procedure. A house swap is an agreed upon date between two parties, so a house swap will not occur unless both parties are in agreement. So you do not need to worry about needing to leave your beautiful ranch style home at an inconvenient time. In the same respect, you may not always be able to find a house swap participant at the time and location you desire.

Is There a Minimum on The Housing Swap Length?

The exchange can happen for as little or as long as both parties agree on. If you want to go on a full summer exchange in New Zealand for 3 months and escape the winter then you can arrange that, or even a simple weekend trip. The situation and length is dictated by the agreement of both parties.

What is Required to Participate in a Home Swap?

Nothing is “required” it is recommended to consult your home insurance company and see if they recommend any insurance in regards to covering issues as a result of guests by invitation. The bigger question is what is required for the location you are going to? Especially if you are travelling abroad it is important to think about requirements for driving, currency, passports and even permits.

What Are the Guests Responsible For?

This is a decision that both parties can come to an agreement about. The usual responsibilities are to take care of my home as if it were your own. For example, if you are using the homeowner’s cars, don’t leave them with an empty tank to drive to work the day after they get home.

Can I Bring My Pets?

This can be a question answered directly by the users during an arrangement meeting. Be cautious of what people consider pets. If you are allergic to long haired cats, having a guest bring their long-haired cat to your house may not be a smart move so good questions are to clarify the breed types and the behavior.

Can I Put Up A Secondary Home for House Swaps?

Absolutely, this is a great way to have your home open to others throughout the whole year and it allows you to have unlimited flexibility on days and solely focus on where you want to go and when.

Can I Put Up A Rented Room / House for House Swaps?

This is dependent on your agreement with your housing complex or landlord. It is a smart move to look through your contract and confirm if it is ok to engaging in housing exchanges. Many rental properties have a clause against “re-renting” to others but with housing swaps there is no exchange of money.

Can I Turn Down A Housing Swap?

It is your home, and if you do not feel like engaging in a housing swap there are no obligations.

As I’m sure you are now interested in a home swap there are many organizations which support home swaps from JewettStreet to HomeSwap.com. There are paid for companies which would be a great option if you are putting up a second or third home that is not occupied. And then there are free sources which are great if you are on the spontaneous hunt for a quick vacation. Happy Home Swapping!

The author of this article is Alisa Carscaden, I love to travel and experience new cultures while writing. I work day to day on SEO link-building and onsite optimization. This article is written on behalf of ThePlanCollection.com who provides beautiful ranch house plans.

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