Review date: June 2018

stay4free.com

Founded in 1997

Basic membership free: includes 1 listing but can not respond to exchange requests

$144/yr

Run out of Austin, Texas, there is no information on the owners of this network

English only

~ 2000 listings

There is no easy way to get counts of listings overall or by continent. And many of the listings returned have no pictures, suggesting the members aren’t actually active. It’s possible total listings are quite a bit lower than 2000. Blog posts stopped in 2014 and membership numbers seem to have dropped since my review back then. 

Searching: There is no map based search, the only search functionality is in a search box where you enter location key words. There are a few advanced options for narrowing down the search results. But no option to search on people who want to stay where you live. They have fixed some bugs with the search that I complained about in 2014, but still have not added options that would make for a useful search. Search results give a decent overview of the matching listings.

Listings: Each individual listing has all the relevant details easily organized for viewing. There is no calendar of availability.

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: Stay 4 Free has a decent design but is lacking in search functionality.

Additional features: If you belong to another home exchange network you can get a significant discount on membership but sending them the link to your listing. They have an internal messaging system as well as a “ping” option to indicate interest without sending a message.