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Dec 30, 2011

A Home Exchange Vacation—Our Holiday Gift to You

Each year, millions of people worldwide exchange homes and enjoy a different type of holiday where they not only save a considerable amount on accommodation but also get to experience life in a foreign destination as a local instead of a tourist.

Instead of staying at a hotel, you stay in someone else’s home while they stay in yours—for a long weekend, a week or two, or even longer.  For the budget-minded traveler, swapping homes is one of the best ways to experience a new place and save money at the same time. And who doesn't prefer a spacious house to a one-room hotel?

A home exchange holiday is based on trust and appeals to seniors who have flexible schedules, families with children where staying in a small hotel room is not a holiday, as well as couples who like to get away for short stays.

Exchange properties can range from a simple studio in a busy cosmopolitan area to a more luxurious beachside property.

Most home exchangers swap their primary residence and the exchange occurs simultaneously—both families vacation at the same time and stay in each other’s home during the same period. It is also possible to arrange a non-simultaneous exchange especially when secondary properties are involved. Non-simultaneous exchanges provide additional flexibility on dates and length of stay.

How Does Home Exchange Work?

You start by listing your home on a home exchange service such as Your home exchange listing includes a description of your home (4-bedroom family home, disabled access), your neighbourhood (quiet residential area close to city center) and region (lakes and mountains are within an hour’s drive) as well as yourself (retired couple who enjoy traveling, new to home exchanging). You’ll also need to include photos of your home.

You specify the destination you’re interested in (Paris), your preferred dates (July through August), and duration (2-3 weeks).

After adding your home exchange offer, you search the listings identifying those that more closely match your requirements. The search page allows you to search for listings that can accommodate disabled travelers.

You then use the contact form at the bottom of a listing to e-mail a personal note to the home owner to see if the interest is mutual.

Once interest is received, you’ll need to start the “dating” process to ensure that this is really your ideal exchange.  

Before agreeing to the exchange, you may want to put in writing everything you discussed and agreed to. But keep in mind that home exchange is based on trust!

Tips for Finding a Home Exchange

Living in a desirable destination like New York, Florence, or the French Riviera guarantees a slew of offers. However if you live somewhere that people have not heard of, you will need to market your home and location.

If you think no one will be interested in your home and location, keep in mind that many people swap homes to attend weddings, graduations, family visits, work, or other events. And many exchangers are searching for a different type of holiday away from busy tourist destinations.

Market your offer Start with a detailed description of your home, neighborhood, and region. Be sure to describe the positive aspects of your home but keep it honest. Your listing should include lots of photos of your home. Listings without photos are often passed over and ignored.

Keep an open mind To increase your chances of finding a good and fair exchange, be flexible on dates, destination, length of stay, and accommodation.

Start early It may be possible to find a last minute swap, but it often takes several months or longer to find someone and build that trust needed for a successful exchange.

Be pro-active For most situations, simply putting up a listing is not sufficient. You need to be pro-active and contact other members with your home exchange proposal. The more people you contact the greater your chances of finding and agreeing to a home exchange.

For a complete guide to finding and arranging a home exchange holiday, read 66 Practical Home Exchange Tips.

About and Our Holiday Gift to You is a leading home exchange website with over 19,000 home exchange listings in 150 countries. SATH has partnered with to introduce this travel alternative to our members. SATH members receive a 30% discount on a Premium membership.

To receive this discount, members simply create a listing and enter the promotional code on the payment page. Please send a request for your promotional code.