Arizona Illustrated, Arizona Pubic Media, January 4, 2012
Saving Money on Travel: House Swaps
Tom Moser and Clara Stahle have traveled the world by doing House Swaps.
The process, in which people connect to trade time in one another’s homes often in faraway lands, has been made more expeditious through the Internet.
Moser uses homeexchange.com and Stahle uses homelink.org/usa to find families all over the world for House Swapping.
These organizations made traveling affordable and allowed Moser to visit three countries in Europe and Stahle 22 locales in the United States and Europe.
Moser compares home exchange to online dating: You make an inquiry, they e-mail back and you start the process.
Many people are familiar with House Swap after seeing the movie The Holiday. But Moser says real life home swapping is a process and doesn’t happen immediately, as the movie might suggest.
Stahle says she joined HomeLink in 1999, before the group existed online. Back then she did all the communication through regular mail.
For Stahle, the benefits are obvious: You don’t have the hotel bill; you have a house. You don’t have to rent a car, because we always exchange cars as well, and you have meals at home if you want.
Moser and Stahle agree that House Swap helps them move beyond tourism to feeling as if they are residents in the countries they visit.
House Swap is a great way to holiday and more and more of us are doing it, from all different walks of life and age groups. It may not suit everyone but it is said if you try it once you will do it again and I agree with that.
There are three types of House Swap, the normal swap at the same time, a Non-simultaneous Exchange when you swap at different dates and Hospitality Exchange which is when you stay with your swap partner and then they reciprocate later.
Have a look at some House Swap websites and see what is on offer. Some sites are good, some not so, some are free and some charge, although I think too much at times. Some exchangers also sign up with more than one website, which I also recommend.
We advise our members at Home Exchange50plus prior to the actual exchange that it is important to get to know your exchange partner by communicating via emails /tel calls etc and if after this you are not sure or feel comfortable with them, then do not proceed, move on to another. Swapping Homes is based on trust, trust in the details of the property being correct and trust in the individuals involved. As a holiday concept it has been around since the 1950s so it can’t be all that bad a way to vacation.
If you have any questions please have a look at the Q&A pages of the websites which may help.
However you vacation, enjoy your travels.
Hi, I am the Inge Tom talks about, living in Lucerne, Switzerland! Love to hear him telling about the exchange, as he is so right, wenn he tells that doing home-exchanging is making good friends! We found friends for life in Tom, his family and one of his friends; great and special! Home-exchanging is an huge enrichement of your life, as you live por a period in another culture, and can be a part of it. Take your time for connecting your exchange partner and build up a relationship with them, and then: enjoy it! Happy exchanging!
I have done 50+ wonderful home swaps since 1991. I have a non-commercial blog with home exchange tips, Nicole Frank’s Home Exchange Travels. If home exchange appeals to you, try a weekend swap close to home to get started. It’s the perfect way to travel with kids (separate bedrooms, kitchen, laundry facilities) or on a retirement income (can be cheaper than staying home if you live in a big city).