Whether you’re traveling around your state, or traveling around the world, you will need to find a decent place to rest your head at night. While most are usually aware that traveling isn’t cheap, some only allot a certain budget for accommodations. However, there have been some ingenious ways that travelers have come up with in order to save money in this aspect. One such way is known as a home exchange.
Now while a home exchange is generally regarded as a low-cost alternative to hotels, in order for it to work, a traveler must own a home. This is why home exchanges are more optimal for older travelers who have a well-established lifestyle already. In a nutshell, a home exchange is simply where two parties exchange their homes with one another, giving each party a place to stay while they visit. This can occur within the same state or country, or even internationally.
Obviously, the idea of sharing your home with a group of complete strangers can raise a few red flags as far as security is concerned. However, it helps to keep in mind that you’re staying in their home too, so a certain level of trust is automatically engrained between the two parties. Not to mention that several sites have popped up on the Internet facilitating home exchanges (ex: Couchsurfing.org). Most of these sites have implemented certain security features that users must go through, granting certain levels of verification based upon that.
Usually before any home exchange is finalized, the two families will communicate with one another through phone, instant messaging, or email. This is how the whole transaction is set up. The simple aspect of communicating with one another can help build trust and possibly spark a great friendship. Each party will usually have neighbors and/or friends greet the new arrivals to make sure that they have everything that they need for a comfortable stay.
Since there are affordable apartments and houses in practically everywhere, home exchanges have also grown popular among families who are looking to move. Because a family can literally go stay in the destination they’re interested in moving too, they can “sample” the territory and verify that they really want to move to that destination before making any large commitments. This would allow a family to check out a specific neighborhood, schools, shopping districts, and restaurants.
Over time, the popularity and convenience of home exchanging has grown substantially, due in part to brilliant marketing, but also a few dedicated websites specializing in home exchanges. Sites like Home Exchange and IHEN are two of the most popular sites for setting up home exchanges. Not only do these sites have an interface that is easy to use, but they also allow users to network with literally thousands of other people, all interested in exchanging homes. If you look hard enough, you can probably exchange homes practically anywhere in the world.