I was looking at the calendar recently and realized how fast spring break and even summer were approaching. This started me thinking about planning some vacations, there are a lot of great vacation options in this sites Home/Get Away section, but the idea of Home Swapping may be a consumer savvy way to get out and stay for ‘free’. 

I doing a little research I found a great article by Patrick Collinson of The Guardian, who wrote of his own home swapping experience. He comments on how this is a “very different holiday experience”. Being able to vacation in someone else’s house gives you more space to spread out if you have family or need to work a bit during your vacation, which some hotel rooms don’t really offer. There is also the benefit of being in neighborhoods, or condos where you have the opportunity to meet new people easily and can help you with great local attractions and events you might be interested in but otherwise may have missed. Collison actually state the experience of home swapping can “be about connections you’d never otherwise achieve”. While there are often fees associated with signing up for using one of the house exchange sites, it can save you money on hotel fees, particularly traveling abroad, “This year alone I’ve saved at least £3,000 (roughly $4,300 US) through swapping” Collison states, which sounds like a great deal to me. He does stress many times that your home must be kept clean as an important component to home swapping. 

When considering home swapping USA Today and Caroline Costello, with SmarterTravel.com, wrote a great article on 10 things you need to know about home swapping.  She writes clearly and begins with if you are even a good candidate for home swapping. What considerations to take into account before you even begin?  There are also multiple options for home swapping, and I was not aware of all of them myself. “The three main types of home exchanges are as follows: You can stay in your exchange-partner's home while they stay in yours (a "simultaneous exchange"). You can stay at a home-swapper's second home or vacation home (a "non-simultaneous exchange"). Or you can stay as a guest in a swapper's abode while they're also in the house (a "hospitality exchange").”

In addition to the home be able to use the home owner’s car can save you on car rental in cities where cars may be necessary to get around more easily. These nice added bonuses can be huge savings when planning an extended or international trip. 

The big question, is it safe? The article in USA Today quotes "HomeLink is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. In all of the years we've been in business, there's never been a case of reported theft or vandalism. In the end, they're staying in your home and you're staying in theirs, so mutual trust is fundamental." 

If you are starting to plan your vacation Home Swapping may be just the thing for you.  Check out all the Rent A Life Home Exchange links on our site.

Article links:

http://www.theguardian.com/money/2011/aug/26/home-exchange-cut-cost-holiday

http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/advice/2013/01/30/10-things-you-need-to-know-about-home-swapping/1877345/