More on Home Swaps for Seniors

Nov 3rd, 2010 | By James E Becker | Category: Senior Travel

We have friends in the south of France who house swap each year. They have the wonderful opportunity to travel the world and to share their home with others who want to do the same. Home exchange or house swapping is a vacation alternative where you stay at someone’s home while they stay at yours. A house swap may also include an automobile exchange which works well. Other items that can be up for negotiation include the care of pets and plants.

Home exchanging has numerous advantages, including significant savings on hotel costs since neither has to pay for lodging. Additional savings can be had when an automobile is also exchanged. And who doesn’t prefer a spacious house to a one-room hotel? Whether for a vacation, or a longer term sabbatical, a home exchange allows one to experience a vacation living like a native. So seniors, don’t let the idea of having someone else living in your home while you are in theirs scare you. It works!

Home Exchange is a great vacation alternative. There are two types of exchanges: (1) home exchange and (2) hospitality exchange. Home exchangers trade their homes, condominiums or apartments at a time that is convenient to both parties, but these are not the only types of accommodations that one gets to choose from. For example, one exchanger traded his home for a 40-foot yacht.

Another couple swapped their villa in Italy for a RV in Oregon because they had always wanted to tour the U.S. in true nomadic style.  Hospitality exchange programs maintain lists of people who are willing to open their rooms, spare beds, tents, cots, or couches to travelers for free. The usual stay lasts from one to three days, though longer stays can be arranged.

A Hospitality Exchange is a little different. People from another locale or country come and stay with you as a guest in your home. Later, you visit them as a guest in their home. This is especially neat as you get to know folks from all around the world.

How is an exchange arranged?  It usually starts with an offer emailed to a prospective exchange partner who has been selected from a number of listings resulting from a search. If the member feels an exchange might be possible, they reply to the email and iron out the details. There is no timetable for how long this will take or what must be done. You may even have a telephone conversation. Every home exchange is different in some way.

Unless you are exchanging a 5-star villa in the Caribbean or an apartment facing Central Park, finding a home exchange requires a little bit of effort and time. The most efficient way to arrange a home exchange is to search with a ‘reverse search’, which identifies who wants to come to your area.
Some online websites charge a fee, and guarantee success in arranging an exchange.  If you do not get an exchange in your first year, the second year is free.

HomeLink home exchange travel is the largest and most respected home exchange organization in the world. Find the home swap of your dreams using the largest most up to date database on the Web. This site enjoys over fifty years of providing top quality house exchanges to members. Enjoy the security of knowing that you may be contacted only by bona fide HomeLink members.

Roof Swap home exchanging is another site touting a fun, eco-friendly and affordable way to enjoy your vacation at someone’s home without paying for a hotel. They provide you with a secure, easy to use and informative site to make your home swap or home rental a positive and memorable experience. With 46 years of house swap experience their team will guide you through the process.  Member feedback on this site is helpful.

Accommodation costs are the single largest expense of any vacation!  Digsville  is another site that can help you save money, travel further and longer than you thought possible.  The website guides you through the entire process of home exchange, vacation home rental or hospitality step-by-step.  

Luxury homes are also available.  Luxe Home Swap offers a different spin on the well-established home exchange for vacations concept, focusing on a more boutique home swapping experience. Location and home-feel are what make the ‘luxe’ experience, so a’Luxe’ home can be small and stylish as much as large and luxury, as people want different things at different times.

If you are considering a home swap, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • Get to know your swap partner: Find out all you need to know about swapping homes. Members can sometimes exchange 20-30 messages to confirm a swap and often a phone call can help too.
  • Make your home welcoming: Tidy before your swap partner arrives and leave their home in a similar manner. Stock up on basics such as nice kitchen staples and toiletries.
  • Check your home insurance: Ensure you’re fully covered while it’s occupied by other people. Insurance is your responsibility. The same goes for your auto insurance, is your vehicle is included in the swap.   

Mahatma Ghandi once said that “with every true friendship we build more firmly the foundation on which the peace of the whole world rests.” In a time when world opinion of America is on the decline, fostering peace and understanding through building personal relationships is more important than ever. If you are planning to study, volunteer or travel abroad, consider staying with hosts and experience the places you visit on a deeper level, through participation in the daily lives of local people.            jeb



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