Review date: August 2019
Founded in 1953
$115/year, 7 day free trial
Started in Europe by some teachers
The vast majority of these listings are in Europe. Here is the break out by region according to their map search. It doesn’t quite add up because the numbers move around depending on how much you zoom in:
- United States & Canada: 537
- Asia: 10
- Africa & Middle East: 16
- Latin America: 54
- Europe: 3687
- Australia & New Zealand: 66
I reached out to the Intervac team to confirm the listing counts, but again this year I got no substantive response. I’m not sure why they are so evasive on this question. In my interview with the Intervac honorary president earlier this year I was given some membership numbers. But I’m unable to verify his (much higher) count of paying members. And so I’m only counting those visible on the website as active. This appears to be a drop of almost 1000 members from my count last year. If that’s accurate it is quite a significant drop. I do hope someone from the Intervac team is reading this and can help validate my numbers!
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. They also made it possible to see if you’ve already contacted someone in the search results.
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. Intervac has fixed the bugs with the website that I identified in last year’s review.
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.