Are you tired of working all year round, saving every dollar you can, only to spend it all on a 10-day vacation? If you’re anything like the other 99% of the U.S. population, you’re probably constantly on the hunt, looking for the best deal out there.
As it turns out, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Instead of spending hours behind your computer screen, scanning for discounts, is there another way to keep your money in the bank? Let us introduce you to the concept of house swapping.
What exactly is a home swap?
Well, the name speaks for itself, basically. There’s no money included in the deal. It comes down to two parties agreeing to swap houses for a specified period, and that’s it. Naturally, you wouldn’t just hand the keys to your house to a stranger off the street, right? To prevent any possible incidents, there are a number of popular websites dealing with the matter.
But what about safety?
It’s understandable that safety is the number one concern when it comes to a home swap concept. At the end of the day, you’re accepting to exchange homes with a complete stranger. Luckily, there are several mechanisms in place to protect both parties. First of all, every reputable home swap website demands a copy of ID upon registration. Furthermore, you won’t have to make the decision right away. There is a possibility of meeting your potential home swapping partners, whether through online chat rooms, or meetings in person. This will not only help with putting your mind at ease, it will also give you an opportunity to ask about a tourist spot you should definitely visit, a great local coffee shop, or any other trivia that might interest you.
Are cars included?
The answer is, it depends. General policy of most websites is to have clients sort that out between themselves. The truth is, it can be very convenient to also have transportation once you arrive, and eliminate all the fuss in regards to renting a car. Because every individual case is different, it’s hard to claim whether insurance will cover any potential damages or not, but it’s been known to happen from time to time. Some parties go as far as leaving a car right at the airport, for the added convenience.
Are pets allowed?
Believe it or not, there are some cases where participants agree to take care of each others’ pets while they swap homes. Still, there are many cases where this is a deal breaker, so make sure to check first, if you have a pet waiting.
Popular home swap websites
Love Home Swap - Even though the website has only been around since 2011, it has become the most popular destination for home swappers around the globe. In fact, users from 160 nations worldwide visit the website on the daily, as they browse through 75,000 of the offered properties. The reason behind its popularity may be the fact that it’s incredibly simple to use. While the membership will cost you around $190, you can still use the free trial which lasts for 14 days.
Home Exchange - As one of the oldest home swapping websites on the market (established way back in 1992,) Home Exchange is well established in the industry. With over 65,000 available properties, it’s still going strong till this day. Registered users communicate through a messaging system directly on the website, and that’s where they make the final arrangements, such as date, and duration of the trip.
Guest to Guest - The website is free of charge, but users have the option to pay a few extra bucks and have insurance. Users get points based on the size of their homes, and these “GuestPoints” are later used as currency. You can also get bonus points if your home is located in a premier location.