Homelink Review May 2017

Review date: May 2017

HomeLink

homelink.org

Founded in 1953

$95/yr (variable pricing by country up to $153 USD equivalent in New Zealand and down to $63 in Turkey)

Originally a paper-based swap service founded by a man focused on swaps for teachers in the U.S. and a woman focused on swaps for armed service people in the UK.

12 languages with country-specific customer service for 27 countries

9000 listings – Homelink does not advertise their total listings, nor is is possible to do a global search, but I counted members by geographic region and came up with a total of just under 9000. Andthe owner of HomeLink UK confirmed this number. This matches my count from last year, suggesting membership has held steady over the past year.

Listings by region:

  • Australia & New Zealand: 872
  • North America:  1970
  • Latin America: 651 (may be double counting some in North America based on the map display)
  • Europe: 5405
  • Asia: 22
  • Africa: 37

Searching: The search interface looks like it has been updated from last year. It it nicely organized, with options to enter desired destination, number of travelers, and dates to travel. The search offers many filters on the type of exchange and type of home. The resulting page displays on a map by default but can be viewed as a list as well. On the map you can select a specific geographic area by clicking on the listings clustered there, but it doesn’t seem to dynamically adjust your search when you zoom in or out.

When I was considering which home exchange networks to join, I couldn’t bring myself to try Homelink because their website was so outdated and the functionality was just awful. I’m impressed with the improvements they have made over the past few years.

Listings: The overview of each listing returned from searches includes a photo and brief description as well as how many people are in the swap family. This last piece of information is something overlooked by many home exchange search engines, cudos to Homelink for including it. There’s also a map option to see roughly where the home is located. Individual listing details have all the relevant information in a nice usable format.

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.
  • housesitting
  • hospitality exchange – this allows people with extra space in their house to host visitors in exchange for being hosted themselves at some other date.
  • youth exchange – you send your child to stay with another family and in return you host their child

Site Design: Overall the site is easy to use and responsive. I’m not a member of this site so I don’t have much experience beyond playing around with the free searches.

Additional features: The site offers an email system for contacting other members. They have a lot of personal customer service representatives, and a regularly published newsletter. This is a popular site for experienced home exchangers. They have been around for a long time and have a good reputation.

If you’re trying to figure out which one to join, check out my reviews of all the major home exchange networks.

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