See also my more recent review of the First Home Exchange Alliance
Review date: April 2014
Year founded: unknown
Owned by The Guardian Newspaper, run by Home Base Holidays. They are part of the First Home Exchange Alliance (FHEA), this site shares listings and virtually identical functionality with the following sites:
- Home Base Holidays
- Green Theme International
Listings by continent:
- Africa: 31
- Asia: 43
- North America: 361
- Middle East: 4
- Europe: 2429
- Australiasia: 365
- South & Central America & Caribbean: 30
Searching: There is a very basic map search functionality which can narrow down to country but no further. Otherwise, all searches start with a drop down menu of countries and a fill-in-the blank for city or other region information. This could lead to mis-spelling issues or other geographic interpretation problems as they are not using the latest autocomplete functionality for geography searches. Searches can be narrowed down to find those looking to swap to your city but the results do not include those people willing to swap to anywhere or even those looking for your country. It appears your location (which is a box you fill in) must match exactly to one of the terms included in the member’s desired destinations.
Listings: The search results display good usable summary information and each individual listing has all the relevant details easily organized for viewing.
This site offers the following variations on house swapping:
- simultaneous or non-simultaneous house swap – this is the traditional model where two parties swap houses for an agreed upon set of dates. Non-simultaneous works best with second homes, but is also useful for people going on vacation and leaving their home empty. In this case each party picks different dates for the swap.
Site design: The Guardian Home Exchange website overall has a decent look and feel and runs a regular newsletter that appears to be consistently published to date.
Additional features: Guardian Home Exchange appears to be hands off in its approach to facilitating swaps. They don’t seem to have an email function, rather members fill out a form to contact listings and the information is then passed on to personal email accounts. They do not offer insurance or contracts, though there is an ad for travel insurance with a phone number to call.