Home Exchange

Cautiously testing home exchange with points – reader story

This reader story is from the same author as the first one I published last week. Etienne is an experienced house swapper from France, and an ambassador for GuesttoGuest.

In late 2014, I was still doing only reciprocal swaps through free websites like Geenee or Switchome. But I was looking for a new experience, to go in a destination with a nice weather in Winter. Our winter in Normandy is quite cold, with a lot of rain, not always enjoyable. So I started to contact swappers in Canary Islands, Spanish islands near Morocco, where it’s around 20°c in winter. Of course, I didn’t find any home exchanger crazy enough to come discover our area for the same period, but I found a music teacher, Tony, who agreed to host us in a part of his home on Guesttoguest’s website.

My wife, my son and I in San Cristobal de la Laguna

I had registered on this website a few months before, and honestly I was a little skeptical about the principle of the Guestpoints system. I was wondering if it was really working. Finally, we ended up visiting Tony’s island, Tenerife, in February 2015. For this stay, we gave him a Guestpoints amount (he used it a few months later to be hosted in Madrid where his daughter was at university), and we had another family from North of France at our home during our stay in Tenerife.

After a few complicated weeks at work for me, it was really a relief and a fresh start to be there. I left my winter sick, and one day later, with a great sun and 22° C, I was like a charm. We were living on the first floor of his home, which was independent, with only just the garden that was shared. Our son was at this period 11 months old, and it was his first flight.

Road to Teide volcano in the national park

With this swap, we discovered a really interesting island, with impressive landscapes, with the Teide Volcano for example. Tony and his family were very nice to us, and gave us a lot of advice about places to go, etc. Tony invited me to listen to him at a concert he gave in his town with his band. To thank them, we invited them for a lunch with us in their own home. We cooked specialities from Normandy and had such a great time !

With Tony and his family for lunch

It was my first swap with Guesttoguest, and for this occasion, I sent to them a message on Facebook with a picture of Tenerife. They loved it, and asked me a few months later if I wanted to help them to develop by becoming ambassador on my free time, which I have now been doing for almost 3 years. It was the beginning of a great adventure for me (and I hope for them 🙂 ), and we are doing now our swaps almost exclusively through Guesttoguest’s website.

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  • Interesting Dawn,
    We also are heading to some summer sun through G2G points swaps thanks to agreement with Domingo on Gran Canaria.
    We are finding that now on G2G, our fourth site, that it effectively has the most offers and requests.
    Our first site Homelink was great for our fantastic three month 11 exchanges with Australia and New Zealand but did not at the time offer points or balloons. Not sure if it does in the meantime. For our great seven week USA trip we used Homeexchange for 10 exchanges. That was before they gave balloons.
    We had the advantage of a second home in a popular place so over the two or three previous years accepted visits from those wanting our home coming from places we thought would be on our trails in Australia, NZ and USA.
    Then when we were ready for our big trips we just had to add in a few requests starting from our end.
    Then we discovered Lovehomeswap so we could get points and not have to do bilateral exchanges. We used that for our six weeks South African trip in 6 homes.
    Now we are on all three of LHS, Homeexchange and G2G.
    It means quite a lot of work looking at each site daily to ensure responding and updating availability on the 2 that monitor that.
    I keep my own spreadsheet where I note as soon as I offer on one site so that I don’t duplicate dates.
    Have recognised the sites with points seem to need a lot more requests to get a positive response. I think that is because they often rent or are on Airbnb and block off those high return periods.
    As a retiree it is a hobby so enjoyable to spend the time.
    Hope this is useful and do send any queries you may think I can offer opinion on. .

  • Hi Peter, thanks for your comment (I’m Etienne from the article). I think that Homelink doesn’t offer any non-reciprocal system for now, never heard of that from my side. You had great exchanges, for now with my kids it’s too big or long trips, but I hope to make some like this in the future. Take care. Etienne

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