What is home exchange? How is home exchange done? Why do people engage in home exchange?
In simple terms, home exchange (or house swapping as it is sometimes called) is an arrangement between two travelers to stay in each other’s houses (in their respective countries) for a simultaneous vacation.
For many travelers, occupying someone's house at your desired destination while the owner occupies yours in turn is an economical and fun way to visit other places. The enormous savings in hotel expenses is one big reason.
Aside from the savings, some travelers prefer to live in a real home with big spaces rather than in an expensive and cramped hotel room. Some people want to immerse themselves right away into the community. Some like to cook their own food rather than suffer the bland hotel fare.
Kinds of exchanges
There are roughly three kinds of home exchange. The typical and most common exchange is you and your exchange partner travel and stay in each other's primary residences at the same time.
The second type is for people who own more than one home. Their swapping agreement is usually “non-simultaneous” which means they need not travel and stay at the other’s house at the same time. Exchange partners come to stay in a secondary home, whenever they want, while the owner still lives in his primary home.
A third type of home exchange arrangement is also called a hospitality exchange. The parties involved take turns in staying as guests in each other’s main homes.
Home exchange groups
Today, there are thousands of companies who coordinate the home exchange business. For a reasonable annual membership fee, you are listed in their database and are allowed to do your own search. They facilitate the exchanges between members but do not necessarily run them. Some organizations do not charge anything, but those with fees usually get serious business.