Review date: September 2020
Founded in 1953
$115/year, 7 day free trial
Started in Europe by some teachers
The vast majority of these listings are in Europe (close to 3000 of them).
Intervac is one of the oldest home exchange networks. But my count of active listings this year is more than 1000 fewer than last year. This is a similar drop to what I saw in 2019. It seems this network is rapidly shrinking.
Searching: Searches start with geography, offering results either in a list or displayed on a map. There are lots of useful filters to narrow down your search, including number of people in the exchange family (so you can be sure they will fit in your home). This is one of the better lists of filters I’ve seen and overall I like the way Intervac now has their search set up. One small complaint: it defaults to 2+ beds for each search rather than 1+. Perhaps they have found most of their members are families with kids?
Listings: The overview of the listings includes a picture and some key information in summary. And the listings detail page displays in a nice usable interface. I like the “similar listings” tab as that gives you a quick look at alternatives that might also match your interests.
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.
- vacation rental – the usual rental system applies here, and owners collect payment via this site.
- hospitality exchange – this allows people with extra space in their house to host visitors in exchange for being hosted themselves at some other date. Intervac offers a “Bed and Breakfast” variation on this which allows members to host others without fee and without reciprocity.
Additional features: Intervac has an internal messaging system for contact between members. They also offer a nicely formatted exchange contract to help members work out the details of the swap. And they have introduced cancellation insurance for members in Europe. Intervac has a solid reputation among experienced swappers, but they don’t seem to be working to expand membership and they are actually shrinking in size. When I was a member a few years ago I found the messaging system a bit dated and hard to use, and I don’t see any information suggesting this has been updated, though without a membership I can’t confirm this on the website.
For more information on the history of Intervac check out my interview with their honorary president.
If you’re trying to figure out which one to join, check out my reviews of all the major home exchange networks.