Home Exchanging or Home Swapping is when you agree to swap homes, and often cars, with someone; you stay in their home and they stay in yours, and no money changes hands. It is an economical way to holiday and an exciting way to travel, to experience other cultures and see other countries differently, through local eyes, not as a tourist.
Home Exchange for holidays is not a new concept, indeed it was started in the 1950s by a group of teachers, however more and more of us, from all walks of life, are now doing it, not least to save money in these financially difficult times.
Not surprisingly, we oldies, seniors, baby boomers, silver surfers (whatever we wish to call ourselves) are becoming great fans of Home Exchanging. We tend to be more flexible on dates with more free time available, we don’t normally have to worry about school holidays as we are often empty nesters, and cost savings are very important to us. I also think we are of an age when we like the idea of seeing things from a different perspective, we no longer like being seen just as tourists and often prefer to live more like a local when on holiday.
My wife was horrified when I first mentioned Home Exchanging, “I can’t have someone staying in my house, anyway no one would want to, it needs too much doing to it” or words to that effect. She wasn’t worried about the security or privacy aspect, simply, that our house wasn’t smart enough to let others stay in it.
Many potential exchangers have similar thoughts, with others having more concerns over the security aspect of having strangers staying in their home, which to a degree is understandable, but don’t forget you are staying in their home. What do you think is better, leaving your home empty whilst you are away on holiday or having someone staying in it and looking after it as if it were their own?
Home Exchange is built around trust. Trust in the people you exchange with to describe their home and location honestly and trust that, when they visit, they don’t damage your home and belongings. Home Exchange is often the beginning of lasting friendships which are built around this trust.
Home Exchanging can take several forms but I will leave that for another time.