Home swapping Musts to Know
The idea of the budget-friendly home swapping has become a well-accepted way to travel for singles, couples, retirees, and families. People can see the world while not incurring the expenses of accommodations. The one necessary factor for utilizing a home exchange service is that one must have their own home to swap.
Home swapping allows one to visit internationally while staying in the comfort of an actual home. The home away from home is fully equipped with all the amenities – such as washing machine, kitchen essentials, and TV.
Questioning Home Swapping Safety
Home swapping has been a popular method of travel since the 1950s. As the movement has grown, so has assurances to make sure experiences are as safe as possible. Most home exchange websites provide insurance for loss and damage along with the membership.
In addition to insurance are reviews and feedback from members. This allows those looking for a swap to read other's experiences with a specific home and homeowner. Homeowners can use reviews of guests when considering someone who is interested in swapping a home with them. Remember that most swapping are worried about their own homes as well so they will be treating a home respectfully as they would their own.
It is a good idea to be proactive when providing a home to strangers. Have a closet that can be locked to keep personal items that one does not want others using or going through.
When packing to head to your swapped vacation home pack smartly in luggage that can be easily expanded to supply room for shopping finds. The Biaggi Lift Off Luggage is perfect for traveling as these bags pack very easily and expand to complete size up from underseater to carryon or carry on to checkin.
How to Get Started Home Swapping
Home swapping does not usually work for those looking to travel at the last minute. Often one needs several months in advance to arrange a swap as two parties are researching and attempting to arrange their home exchanges at the same time. Those just starting out with no references may require even more time to plan.
To start the process of gaining trust from others one will want to get profiles in order. For those who have used Airbnb type sites they may already have online references that can be compiled and provided to a home swapping host.
It is also a good idea to have great looking social media profiles. Make sure that Facebook and Instagram are kind in nature with respectable photos and posts. A LinkedIn profile will provide a professional resume for a prospective home swapper to see and gain trust in who one is.
Once one is prepared to begin the process then they should review the many websites that offer subscriptions to find the perfect home exchange. Finding the right site may depend on if one requires family friendly or wants specifically a green home option. The sites pride themselves on being reputable and providing a safe place to swap homes. While most sites do charge fees there are ones that offer free trial periods and a site that is completely free.
People seeking a place to stay will want something appealing. Even if a home is not in the midst of a sought-out city or on the beach, a home in the country or just out city limits may be just as appealing for a family or one who is just seeking quiet and a new place to explore. Make the home comfy and clean providing nicely made beds.
Different Home Swapping Choices
There are choices in home swapping beyond just a simultaneous exchange of homes. With websites now serving as intermediator and listing agent, the sites also provide different ways in which home swapping can be used.
One should be aware of the three basic types of home swapping: the concurrent exchanging of homes with another swapper, the non-simultaneous swap of offering a home for another’s use to gain point to travel and stay in a home at a later date, and the hospitality exchange of staying as a guest in another home swapper’s home similar to a bed and breakfast.
There are also sites that will cater to those with more exclusive vacation homes and offer more personalized services to members.
Communicate Before Swapping
When a host and swapper are mated, personal contact can be initiated to assure that the swap is what both are seeking. One will get to know the other to assure a safe and happy match has been made before traveling. Details should be discussed as far as groceries and cleaning – will the guest be required to clean or will the host be providing a cleaning service.
Arrangements should be made on how keys will be swapped. Specifics on how to open and lock doors should be detailed. Hosts should speak to guests about any additional charges such as for internet and phone if applicable.
Hosts should have a list prepared to go over with the home swapper and the same list should be left in the home greeting the guest upon arrival. Important information should include emergency numbers for police, fire, and EMT as well as a local agent who has a spare key if the guest locks themselves out. Also, helpful to provide are local grocery stores, restaurants and maps. Hosts should leave directions for appliance use as well.
Renters can Swap as Well
Although generally, home swapping is thought to be just for homeowners it is not. Home can mean a rental home as well allowing renters to do home exchanges too. For those renting one should verify with their lease or landlord that it would be okay to participate in a home swap. Home swapping is akin to a temporary sublet so if a lease provides a sublet option one should be okay doing a home exchange.
Those who live in HOAs, condos, and co-ops should check with their boards to assure that their home is okay to swap. Often a homeowner association will have rules about short term renting which will make home swapping not a viable option.
Swap a Car Along with the Home
Many homeowners, as well as sites, will offer to swap cars along with the homes. This is nice for homes in the country as mass transportation may not be available. If considering car swapping, then one should definitely speak to their insurance agent. Those who own the vehicle may want to purchase an umbrella coverage that will provide extra protection when others are driving the vehicle.
Like with the home, the host and swapper should talk about expectations for car use – such as rules against smoking in vehicle and gas costs. The host can request that the guest leave the same amount of gas in car as when they started using it or agree to be charged extra for it. Hosts may also want to add a cleaning charge if the car is found to be left dirty.