I’ve been away from home exchanging for most of the pandemic. With the exception of a local swap about a year ago. But as vaccination rates rise and infection rates drop I’m starting to plan some travel. I currently focus my exchanges on two networks: HomeExchange and People Like Us.
These are two very different home exchange groups. People Like Us is a lovely community, with very engaged members. It’s growing fast, but still has fewer than 5,000 listings. Meanwhile, HomeExchange is an older network, and the largest one out there by a long shot. They boast 450,000 listings, though I estimate active listings are closer to the 300,000 range. (You can see my comparison of listings and other features for all the home swap networks in this handy spreadsheet). In addition, HomeExchange has a points-based swap option, while PLU offers globes for non-simultaneous exchanging.
I’m planning a trip to Puerto Vallarta and so I searched for homes on both networks. On People Like Us I didn’t find any homes available to swap during my trip dates. There are only a handful of listings in Puerto Vallarta on this network so it’s no surprise I didn’t see a match.
The fact that I pick dates for my trips BEFORE looking for home exchanges is one reason why points-based swaps are super useful to me. Odds are low that I’m going to find someone wanting to visit my home the exact dates I’m going to be traveling. But if they are swapping with a vacation home, it might be available to me. And then they can use my points to stay somewhere else, on their own schedule. Since I only have my primary home to exchange, I can’t be super flexible with hosting visitors in non-simultaneous exchanges.
On HomeExchange I found 8 matches that either showed interest in hosting someone during my dates, or had no indication one way or the other about hosting in the month I’m traveling. All but one of these are second homes, which I think increases my odds of finding a match. I’m being pretty picky about the location within Puerto Vallarta; there were more matches in other parts of the city.
I’m not super optimistic I’ll find a match for this trip, but just doing some searches got me excited to start planning future exchanges. To kick things off, I’m hosting someone in my home while we’re away in December. It’s fun to be thinking about travel again, and planning for home exchanging.