Home Exchange: Better Than Time Shares

By: Leroy K. Calstard

Are you planning a vacation but finding accommodation an expense that is limiting your destination choices and the length of your holiday? Have you been looking through the list of holiday villas and holiday homes and they're just too pricey? Well if you live in a house or even an apartment you should consider participating in a home exchange. Home exchanges are similar to time shares but more beneficial in many ways. To qualify you simply need a house and be willing to swap it with someone else. It's much like house sitting.

When you look for a home exchange, don't worry about searching for a similar house or apartment. Just look for a place that will suit your needs in a destination that meets your interests. Home swapping is increasingly popular in big cities and expensive countries such as the United Kingdom. If you have a home in a vacation area or a large tourist destination city then you will find it easy to locate something that fits your needs. Even if you have a home in the country you can find people to exchange with since many city dwellers are looking for a break from the crowds.

Hotel costs can be a big chunk of your holiday funds so a home exchange will save you money that can be spent on sightseeing, nice dinners, shows or allow you to visit more expensive destinations. Not only will it save money on accommodations but since you will be living at a home you can prepare you own meals. Another cost savings includes pet boarding since many are willing to pet sit for you. Car exchanges can also be arranged and therefore save on car rental expenses.

Switching homes is popular with single travelers, couples and families. If you have a family with small children you may be able to find a family with children of the same age; their home will be kid friendly and the children can use each others' toys and games. Retirees and those with flexible work schedules find it especially beneficial since they can schedule their trip after they find a suitable home exchange.

Many people worry about letting perfect strangers into their homes which is a valid concern. The most important thing is to get to know your exchange person or family and clarify any matters upfront. You can chat in email, exchange photos and even chat on the phone. If you still want reassurance you can ask for professional references. You should also clarify cleaning expectations since that is one area that can be left to interpretation. You may want to have a third party, such as a family friend, do a walk through of the home at the beginning and end of the home exchange.

Finding a holiday home or hotel for your next vacation doesn't have to burn a hole in your pocket. Home exchange can be the answer to an affordable and enjoyable vacation.

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