Exploring the World Cheaply
July 12, 2016 at 1:16 am
Thank you so much for this listings comparison table, must have been a lot of work. I really appreciate your blog as I was exactly wondering and searching on which home exchange site is most suitable for me.
July 12, 2016 at 10:16 am
Thanks for the comment Meg. Glad to hear it’s useful to you!
August 10, 2016 at 12:18 am
Thank you very much. First thing I thought when I read about home exchange was “which sites are credible”? Thank you again.
January 15, 2017 at 5:18 pm
hello, I am trying to find website I joined in 2009 and listed my home
for vacation swaps, but did not log in for a long time and now can not find it anywhere. I can recall exact name but it was something like GLOBAL VACATION HOME EXCHANGE, out of CANADA. The front page had all continents and countries and that was a starting point of search. Did maybe any other website buy thins one? Does anyone recognize it by my description? Please let me know I am curious. It had luxurious house all around the world and words “4home”
on later pages search. Thanks Olivia
January 20, 2017 at 3:59 pm
What an informative spreadsheet & research, you have gone to an enormous amount of trouble. I have been a member of HomeExchange & Homelink for several years searching for a home exchange in Cape Town or the Garden Route, South Africa in exchange with my home in Hawkes Bay , New Zealand, Sadly I can never find one, most South Africans are seeking Europe or New York.
I gets lots of offers from the States & Canada & I have had 2 fabulous simultaneous exchanges in Alameda, Ca & Washington DC.
I get a lot of requests for simultaneous exchanges with the UK for our summer (Jan-March) in exchange for a UK winter! Not very appealing & despite suggesting an exchange in Autumn or Spring, no takers.
Anyway I live in hope. Thanks for the articles
January 20, 2017 at 5:21 pm
Hi Ann, thanks for the comment! It’s definitely a challenge to find the exact exchange you want. Especially when you live on a continent that has a different seasonal calendar from most of the places you might visit. My fingers are crossed for you to get something to South Africa, Cape Town is an amazing city. I wonder if there are other exchange networks with more members there? You might want to search around to see if there are better options for this aspirational trip.
April 30, 2017 at 8:33 am
Thanks for putting this together. I am looking for a home swap (mostly interested in the US as when I travel oversees, I’m usually moving around a lot), and one that I can have the option to earn “points” as it seems difficult to get something set up for an exact swap. I’ve looked around and am I right that the only big ones that seem to allow that type of system are GuesttoGuest, Home Exchange and LoveHome Swap? I couldn’t find much about the “balloon system” for Home Exchange, but it seems like you earn 1 balloon and spend 1 balloon regardless of how many nights. So, you could potentially only earn 1 balloon if someone stays at your place for 2 weeks, but still have to spend 1 balloon even if you are only staying for 1 week – is that how you interpret it? Also, I’m trying to enter some specific places to travel (to make sure there are options for the places I want to go) on GuesttoGuest, but can’t find where it will let me do that – do I have to become a member first?
April 30, 2017 at 8:36 am
One more thing: GuesttoGuest says it’s free to become a member, costs to do the verification process, but then it says there is a fee that is 3.5% of the deposit and they just keep that before returning your deposit, but it never says what the deposit is – any ideas?
April 30, 2017 at 11:37 am
Good questions! Let me try to answer all of them in one response.
You are right about the main 3 points-based swap sites. There are a few more, but they are smaller and/or more focused on specific populations. Here’s my full list of points-based home exchange networks.
HomeExchange.com’s balloon system is as you described. Here’s some more info on it.
Testing locations on Guest to Guest: I never noticed this before but you’re right, you have to join to run a search. But since joining is free I suppose you could do this with no risk and then just de-activate your membership if you decide it’s not going to work for you. That seems a little silly to me: why not let people do test searches instead of ending up with memberships that are potentially not going to be used? But I guess this drives up membership numbers by incenting people to join.
That Guest to Guest deposit fee only comes into play when you do an exchange. You won’t have to pay anything until you agree to stay at someone’s home. Hosts have the option of requiring guests to put down a deposit in case something is broken, stolen, etc. They also have the option of requiring guests to purchase insurance. The deposit comes back to you, minus the processing fee. And the insurance also has a small fee which depends on the amount the host wants insured. Hosts can opt not to require either, and I always ask my hosts who want some sort of insurance to select only one and not both, as it seems like an unnecessary extra fee to require this redundancy. So far my hosts have always agreed with me. There’s more information about this in my review of Guest to Guest and here’s some specific detail on their insurance offerings.
Hope that covered all of your questions!
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