Last January I joined Intervac, along with a few other home exchange websites, after an extensive search for the best house swap membership sites for my particular travel needs. I just got my 15 day notification that it’s time to pay for another year and so I’m letting my membership expire.
I know Intervac has some very loyal members, and on the positive side I will say I get some of the most polite and thoughtful messages from people on this site. It seems (from my experience and anecdotal information from others) that users of Intervac tend to be older and more experienced swappers. And so I would conclude that offers you get from this site are more likely to be serious. In fact, in my very unscientific study of response rates to exchange requests Intervac came out on the top.
But for my purposes Intervac just isn’t the best home exchange site. Intervac currently has about 7,000 members and these members are highly concentrated in Europe. I have found only one swap on the site, in spite of my attempts to use it for many trips (including my trip to Spain). The one that did come through Intervac was just a weekend exchange, fun but not hard for me to find on other sites. So I’ve concluded that my $99/year membership fee is better spent elsewhere.
If the membership was larger and more geographically diverse I might stay with Intervac, but I also have some other concerns with the site that I think will inhibit their ability to retain new members who sign up for the 14 day trial.
Overall the website is not particularly easy to navigate. Searching works fine, but the messaging system is difficult to use. For starters, when I log in it is not easy to find my messages. Once I find my inbox I see an unintelligible list of messages that don’t include anything in the headers to indicate where a person is writing to me from, making it hard to relocate old messages for followup. Although Intervac did relaunch their website last year, I don’t see them doing much to push growth, and for my purposes I see a lot more benefit from large numbers of active swappers than just a few dedicated home exchangers.
Because they offer a 14 day free trial, if you’re on the fence about using Intervac I encourage you to try it out for yourself. If you are looking for swaps within Europe, this site could be a good choice.
For reviews of lots of other home exchange sites, and a complete spreadsheet of your options, check out my Home Exchange section.