With the holidays coming up, a lot of people and families start to think about holiday travel. Some families even go on vacation during these times to experience a new country or location. One way to save on the costs of vacationing is to do a home swap.
A home swap is where you switch homes with another family during the same time. Basically it’s “free” lodging with a complete kitchen so you can cook and save on meals. If you are considering this for your holiday vacation, here are six things to know before you home swap.
Determine the Type of Home Swap You are Doing
There are three general types of house swaps.
The first is where you both switch at the same time and are gone the same amount of time.
The second is where you still exchange houses but your vacation dates are different.
The last is hosting an exchange, so you are there when your guests and vice versa when it’s your turn to stay. Some families or couples chose to host their first time doing a home swap. This option can be a great way to meet potential new friends from around the world.
Plan Ahead, Especially for International Swaps
You need to start planning sooner than later. Not everyone, especially if you have children, can pack up and go in a week. There are a lot more logistics to plan out.
Plus, if you have specific places you want to go, they may not have an available date the same as you. If you have found an exchange household, you’ll want to spend some time getting to know them first.
If you are going to travel and do an international swap, you’ll want to plan ahead even further as there are more logistics to work out for international travel.
Sign Up for a Home Swap Service
Though switching homes is free, some of these services do charge a yearly or monthly membership. This can make potential guests feel better knowing that both parties have skin in the game and won’t turn out to be horrible guests. These services help you find a house swap partner and help you go through the whole process.
List Your Expectations
Write down what you expect to have of your host house and what you expect of them when staying at your home. List everything they can use or do and things that are off limits.
If you are expecting to stay in a mansion with room service and you don’t mention that, you’ll be sorely disappointed when you get to a large house with no room service. The more open you are about what your needs will be, the better experience you’ll have.
Lock Valuables or Store in a Safe Place
If you do have some priceless heirlooms or some things you are worried about being damaged, you can always remove them from the premise or lock them up in a room that your guests can’t get into.
The people staying in your home are expecting you to treat their home how they treat it. That is to say they’re just as worried as you are about belongings being cared for properly.
Consider Liability Insurance
Some home swappers also trade vehicles. If you decide to do this, make sure your insurance is up-to-date and that your swap family has vehicle insurance too.
Also, check your home owner’s insurance to see if it is up-to-date and if you need to increase the amount for a short time while the other family is staying in your home.
Place the numbers of your insurance agent along with your emergency contact numbers in a convenient location. Most likely nothing will happen, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Most home swaps are done to great success. Once you’ve home swapped once, you’ll likely become a regular. It’s a great way to save money and get to see places all over the world.
Have you ever tried a home swap? Would you ever consider it?
Photo courtesy of: sharonang
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