It’s been an interesting year in the home exchange world. Fallout from the integration of HomeExchange.com and Guest to Guest dominated the news as the year started. This integration created the behemoth house swap network, now called Home Exchange. On the other end of the spectrum a few new home exchange networks launched with a commitment to traditional home swap values. One new network, People Like Us, stood out for its rapid growth and development. As 2019 came to a close the divide between home exchange traditionalists and new school innovators was no closer to being resolved. But people are finding their place in networks that best fit their needs and values.
In the shadow of this news I looked back at my year of home exchanges. In 2019 I did somewhere between six and eleven home swaps, depending on how you count them. I had six stays in other people’s homes. And I hosted exchange guests seven times. But only one of those was a simultaneous exchange.
My 2019 home exchanges
During my travels this year I enjoyed the hospitality of six hosts. The fun started with a simultaneous exchange for a long weekend in Vancouver. Although I still haven’t met our Vancouver swap partners, they will be coming to stay in our home for a weekend this year. That one won’t be a swap because they are visiting for a festival while we already planed to be away. In addition, this year’s home exchange travel included a week on Orcas Island, three nights in San Diego, three nights in Palm Springs, a short visit to Malaysia, and five nights in Hong Kong.
During all that travel, and a few other trips, we hosted a lot of guests. Sometimes it’s not possible to find a home exchange. Since I often book award tickets or cheap fares I’m not flexible with dates. And in some parts of the world home exchange just isn’t popular. On these trips, while our home is empty, we often host travelers. This gives us the chance to earn points which we can use for future stays.
In 2019 here’s the list of guests we hosted:
- Vancouver simultaneous swap
- Christmas holiday guests (3 nights)
- October guests (2 nights)
- People Like Us guests in July, earning a coveted globe (4 nights)
- Last minute guests while we were on Orcas Island (2 nights)
- Back to back guests while we were visiting family in Boston (4 nights and 3 nights)
That’s 18 nights of hosting and 19 nights of being hosted, plus one simultaneous swap. I’d say that’s a pretty good balance.
I’ve ended the year with more points in my HomeExchange account than when I started. But that’s partly because I was using up points from the Love Home Swap network before quitting that network. I’m already planning trips for 2020 using some of these points. And I’ve got a number of travelers booked to stay in my home. It looks like 2020 with be another year of non-simultaneous home exchanging. Hopefully I will continue to have good luck finding excellent hosts and receiving requests from kind, clean and respectful guests.
That’s a really great wrap-up, Dawn. You put my own home exchanging to shame. I haven’t had so much time to travel this year but we did host for about the same number as you. We just didn’t do so much travel of our own. I aim to change that in 2020!
It’s been a big year for People Like Us though. We went from about 190 listings to just over 2600. Our members have booked hundreds of exchanges. We’ve got a very busy Facebook community up and running. I’ve met many of our members in Australia and, right now, I’m on my way from Belgium to the Netherlands for a meetup on the weekend and then another in Paris next week.
It’s not an easy thing to get a new platform up and running and it’s much less easy to get a new community working but I believe we have. While we still may be the little guy, I think we offer something different and the community feeling we have is heartwarming. I’m really looking forward to this year.