House Swapping Saves

   By drodriguez  Jul 28, 2009

Although for many of us vacations are being put on the back burner this summer, there may an affordable way to get out of town for a few days.  House swapping is soon becoming a growing trend among vacationers who are trying to keep their travels as thrifty as possible. 

The idea of trading homes with someone else who is traveling is not new.  You may remember the 2006 movie The Holiday starring Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz where the two women are depicted as switching homes (a Los Angeles mansion for a quaint English cottage) over the Christmas holiday.  According to a recent Time magazine article, the company Intervac has been setting up home exchanges for people since 1992. 

Though not new, it is just now that these services are reporting dramatic increases in the rate of house swapping.  The website has seen a more than 30 percent increase in their membership this last year.  Home swapping has become so popular because it eliminates the huge cost of hotels on vacation.  Depending on where you live, it may or may not be simple to find a suitable swap.  For example, if you live in a nice apartment in the heart of Paris, France it may take less time for you to find someone willing to swap than if you live in a small town in say Virginia. 

The idea that one man's shack is another man's castle could certainly apply here.  Kathleen Dwyer, a home exchanger for six years, reported to Time magazine about a swap experience she had when she traded her one bedroom Manhattan apartment with a view of the alley for an upscale California home on a lagoon with a view of the ocean.  Dwyer said, "The got this little, small apartment, and I got this million-dollar home.  I laughed at the trade, but they were happy to be near their daughter in Manhattan, so it worked out fine."

What do you think of the idea of swapping homes with a stranger during a vaction?

Do you think you might consider home exchange on your next trip?

Make a Comment

momagarry by momagarry | MILWAUKEE, WI
Sep 23, 2009

This is a great idea!

kathy_in_colorado by kathy_in_colorado | Pueblo West, CO
Sep 21, 2009

I would do it! We have a beautiful home in a small suburb in Colorado, one hour south of Colorado Springs, 2 hours south of Denver. We are close to the ski resorts, mountains for hiking, etc. I am a full time mom so I budget, coupon clip, plan shopping trips to save on gas, etc. So, this would give people a feel for if they want to live in Colorado. Yes, I would definitely do this.

jbrandon52 by jbrandon52 | Pocahontas, AR
Sep 01, 2009

i live in a small town , and have never done a time share thing, i think that would be quiet simailur to that. There's a lot of people retireing to the mid west, especially to my part of the country, and i know they would like to try out different ground before commiting to new territory. i would check them out thourghly and decide also where they live before continuing and if all is appealing, i would do it.

mvemother by mvemother | CROCKER, MO
Sep 01, 2009

It sounds wonderful to me, I usually stay with relatives when we travel and I gotta say, it'd be nice to just use their home without having to deal with them. The thought of someone else 'living' in my home does bother me a bit but not enough to keep me from trying this out!

Urbanmom by Urbanmom | Brooklyn, NY
Aug 30, 2009

I think similarly to the other comments made - not feeling comfortable with people in my home accessible to my stuff.

deymarocksz by deymarocksz | houston, TX
Aug 29, 2009

this sounds interesting & i would love to do it . if i was older maybe . but im interested . hehe

krispy76 by krispy76 | gray, TN
Aug 28, 2009

It sounds really cool and I think if I were single with no kids, I would try it out, but I'm leary with a family.

binnabon by binnabon | Pleasanton, CA
Aug 28, 2009

it sounds fun, but doubtful at the same time... there should be filters, right?

yoga2day by yoga2day | Mountain View, CA
Aug 28, 2009

I have a friend who does this. She's been able to travel all over the world on a teacher's salary. But she told me that you have to be accepting of having a stranger over at your house, using your car, etc., And she screens very hard...last people she exchanged with were a European couple in their 60's. Also, she lives in a fairly desirable, high end community...and she rents her apartment. She says house swapping has given her many great opportunities. I've never tried it...but I thought about it. I don't know if I could be that relaxed about someone in my house without being there.

krystlnickel by krystlnickel | SAINT STEPHEN, SC
Aug 26, 2009

I have heard of this, there is actually a woman who posted on a site that during the vacationing months, she actually rents out her home while she is away on vacation and earns a substantial amount of money doing it. She just locks up her valuables, takes the pets to a sitter, puts tp family pictures and puts protective covering on the beds then later has them cleaned. I don't think I could do it though, it would creep me out to much.

apsychmommy by apsychmommy | san diego, CA
Aug 26, 2009

No way. I'd be too worried about someone breaking or stealing something. I also would be afraid of liability--what if they hurt themselves in my home? Would I get sued?

andies by andies | stockbridge, GA
Aug 25, 2009

I think it's an awesome idea! where can I sign up? You just lock up your valuables, and use some of those waterproof sheets on your beds in your house, and your are set for travel baby.

onamission78 by onamission78 | Alexandria, TN
Aug 24, 2009

What a great idea! I can see this really being of benefit if you find the perfect match on the number of days needed and location, space, etc. Thanks for such a savvy vacationing tip.

daomimi by daomimi | pflugerville, TX
Aug 17, 2009

i don't think i can do this it's just too risky but if i live alone with my own place then i'll consider it.

califdrm5 by califdrm5 | Banning, CA
Aug 16, 2009

This is an excellent idea. I have actually done this and it is safe and completely saves lots of money, depending how long you stay. People are checked out first and of course you must take care to lock up important papers and valubles, ( which should already have a safe and secure spot). They do not disturb your house and they leave it in the shape they find it. This is a great opportunity to meat and learn about people from other countries. I plan to go to Europe next year and do this for a month.