If you’ve been around these parts for a while, you might remember our home exchange experience when we went to Paris. It was the absolute greatest experience — we traded homes for nearly a month with a Parisian couple. They came to stay in our place and we went to stay in theirs. Truly, it was the greatest trip of my life, and I loved living like a local. The experience was positive from beginning to end. And now we’re looking to plan our next exchange! I just love the idea of being able to open your home to a like-minded traveler, and of being able to experience the way other people live for a short time. So I thought it could be cool to share the process of how we find a home exchange when we are looking to travel.
First and foremost, we always look through the HomeExchange website. It’s something that I stumbled on early in our marriage when we wanted to to a lot of traveling but wanted to do it on a budget. The site makes searching for a house swap so easy, and extremely safe. All of the HomeExchange members have profiles so you can see how many exchanges they’ve done, the various ways they’re verified, and more.
When we’re starting to look for an exchange, I always first make sure that our own profile is up to date, that there are plenty of recent photos of our home, and that the descriptions of our home are clear. Then I zero in on the places that we’d like to travel. In looking for an exchange, I’ve found that it’s helpful to be somewhat open on your travel plans when it comes to a date range and a destination. It just opens up greater possibilities when it comes to finding someone who might be looking to exchange in your part of the world.
Once I’ve decided on a few places, I like to start my search. One cool tool that HomeExchange has is the ability to enter a search for the country or city you’d like to go, and then filter results by other HomeExchange members who also want to travel to the country or city where you live. I use that almost every time I search, because right away it narrows down your search results to the people who would consider an exchange. It’s pretty useful. Now comes the fun part! Once the search results pop up, I love scrolling through them all to find places that might be a good fit for our family. It sounds silly, but often I’ll look for images of homes that have a similar aesthetic to our own, because that could potentially set us off on a good foot for starting an exchange. I also look for family profiles with kids of a similar age to our own, so I know that our homes would work for each other.
While I’m searching, if I find anything even remotely interesting, I always make sure to add it to my favorites on HomeExchange so I don’t forget the listing. From there, I go back and look through them again and narrow them down to our favorites. Once we have some favorites, we start contacting the owners! You can reach out to them right through HomeExchange without exchanging any personal information, just to see if they might be interested in an exchange as well. After you make contact with someone, you can elect to continue your conversation through HomeExchange, or trade information and go private. I would absolutely recommend that you arrange a few phone calls and FaceTime or Skype sessions with your exchange partner to make sure that you feel comfortable. For our first exchange, we did Skype tours of each other’s homes and chatted multiple times to make sure everything was taken care of.
And now, I’m off to check out some more exchange possibilities! We’re looking in Italy this time but honestly I’m open to anywhere. It’s such a cool way to experience the world, and can’t recommend it enough. Have you ever traded homes with anyone? Would you? xoxo
This post is not sponsored; however, HomeExchange graciously offered us a free year membership for our honest feedback about our experience.