Review date: September 2020
Founded in 2018
Owned and run by Drew Seitam, an Australian software developer
Free, post-pandemic there will be an optional $85 annual fee for premium membership
English, German, Spanish, Italian, French, Dutch, Portuguese
3295 listings in 98 countries
Geographic breakdown of listings:
North America: 29%
South America: 1%
People Like Us is one of the newer home exchange networks, but the fastest growing. In the past year they have doubled in membership. A remarkable achievement considering that half the year included a pandemic, which put a stop to most folks even thinking about traveling. You can read my interview with Drew last year to learn more about the network’s values and direction.
I belong to PLU and find in this network some of the most engaged and enthusiastic members anywhere. While the membership numbers are still smaller than the big players, it shows a lot of promise. The facebook group is also a good place to connect with other house swappers.
Searching: Searches start with a location box in which you type free form. The box auto-populates based on what you are typing. You can further filter the results by number of guests the home can accommodate, dates of travel, home accessibility, pet preferences, car availability, the swap type, and various other features of the home and the swap family. You can even filter by keyword (i.e. “beach”). There is also a reverse search option so you can find people who want to visit the area where you live.
Listings: The listings are slick and have a nice display of information. The search results include a map with pins for house locations. You can expand or change the search by moving within the map.
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.
- swap points – earn points for letting others stay in your home while you are away, and then redeem those points to stay in any of the other homes participating in the program. In the case of PLU the system uses Globes and one Globe is earned or redeemed per stay, regardless of the length of stay. All homes are valued equally in this system.
- hospitality – this allows people with extra space in their house to host visitors while the host is still at home. Usually this is in exchange for being hosted themselves at some future date.
Site design: Nice and responsive. Drew is constantly adding new features, often at the request of members of the network. There is an internal messaging system you can use to arrange home swaps.
Privacy and security: Homes on this network are not visible in public searches unless a member explicitly agrees to this. To see listings people must join PLU and create a profile. Drew is pretty vigilant about deactivating any profiles that do not appear sincere. In addition PLU will introduce a Premium membership for $85 per year at some point in the not-too-distant future. Premium members will enjoy some additional features. This fee was originally scheduled to roll out in early 2020 but was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Additional features: The PLU website includes a lot of nifty features not directly related to home exchanging but useful for traveling. While these tools definitely have value for some PLU members, I personally would not prioritize them over core home exchange feature development.
For instance, the Trip Builder allows users to set up a multi-leg trip and save searches and bookings for each segment. There are lots of excellent tools for trip planning that allow you to import more than just home swap plans. These third party tools aren’t integrated into the PLU home swap search so it’s not exactly the same. But I wonder how many people are actually getting significant value out of this feature.
In 2020 PLU launched a social network (the Feed) built into the website. For folks who don’t like Facebook, the Feed is a nice alternative for creating community. This feature is arguably important, as Facebook privacy is basically non-existent. But in spite of my best intentions, I just don’t spend time on the PLU website when I’m not trying to arrange an exchange. And so I am not active in the Feed. But perhaps when the pandemic is over this forum will gain more users like me who would love to ditch Facebook.
If you’re trying to figure out which Home Exchange network to join, check out my reviews of all the major house swap networks.
I’ve been exchanging for many years and joined PLU in 2018. It is by far the friendliest exchange network. The Facebook group has kept me sane this year and I honestly feel like I have friends around the world at PLU. Drew is an enthusiastic and active owner who has created the best filters and features for website users. I especially love being able to see the homes I have added to my “favourites” on the map when I search. If you are wondering which site to join, look no further than People Like Us.
I joined People Like Us in January of this year and have really enjoyed seeing it grow and form into a vibrant, caring and swapping community. The site itself is easy to use, the facebook group helpful, inspiring and full of fun. Drew, the site’s creator, is approachable and highly responsive to the needs of his swappers. The combination of these makes it not just my favourite home exchange site but also the one that is working best for me with two three month multi exchange trips to Europe and the US/Canada arranged for next year soley on this platform from Australia which adds a little more difficulty. I cannot recommend this site enough.
As all the above comments were from the original review, my previous answers need updating.
We have a really effective reverse search function (have had for about 6 months). It even translates languages automatically (if you’re looking for Sweden and Swedish members entered their country as “Sverige” (Sweden in Swedish), it will still find it. Indeed, you could enter the same in Swahili and it will work! We also have over a hundred search filters.
I changed the name of our Facebook group to https://www.facebook.com/groups/peoplelikeus.world.
The site is still free although we will introduce a fee at some stage in future.
Drew (or anyone): Is there a reverse search?
For those of us who are in areas/cities that are not exactly at the top of the tourist hit parade, that type of search is enormously helpful. So much so that I wouldn’t pay to join a network without it.
The functionality to enter “desired destinations” is coming but you can do a few things now: we have an excellent Facebook group, World Home Swap, which most of our members are on. You can share your listing there and ask everyone and a lot of people find swaps in that way and sometimes even from friends of friends on other networks. You can advertise on our “Feed” which will email our members directly (free once you’ve signed up and listed). And finally, you can ask me. 🙂 One of the advantages of being ’boutique’ is that I stay across where people want to travel and I can help to put you in touch with people.
Plus, you don’t have to pay at all to join our network if you do it (and list your home) now. We’re introducing a fee at the end of the month but if you join and list your home now, you’ll get a free year so you can try it out!
Hope that all helps!
Done Drew, you have a mail 😉
Welcome to our site! You have a beautiful home.
I’m going to put a direct link here to help promote it:
Please tell your friends! We need more listings in your part of the world.
I’ll look out for you!
We have people searching for France every day. It’s the Number 1 place that people want to go so you will be most welcome. Bring your friends! 🙂
I’ll be really keen to hear your feedback so send me a note when you join and tell me what you think: email@example.com.
Hi Drew and Dawn.
Thanks for the information, I should try it soon, one announcement from France coming up 🙂
I’m Drew, and People Like Us is my network.
This is a very fair review. I’ve found Dawn to be excellent and thorough and I look forward to dealing with her as the site develops.
A couple of updates: the site is no longer “beta” and we have closer to 200 members now.
We welcome feedback and I answer every email personally (firstname.lastname@example.org). We’ve had some great suggestions and we release new features nearly every day.
We look forward to you trying out our site.
Years back we were very active members of HE, but due to caregiving, we can no longer travel. However we still highly recommend HE due to our experiences in the late 80’s/early 90’s. Recently I’ve learned that they’ve changed so much that many members left. How are you better than they were? Thank you for your consideration,
People Like Us is all about our community, first and foremost. We (the community) have tried to create a vibe that is happy, positive, caring and kind and I believe we’ve succeeded. You’ll find the community smaller, of course, but people really know and care for each other. I understand that, despite our size, our Facebook community is the largest and most vibrant home exchanging community in the world. It’s the best way to get a sense of who we are.
We recently introduced “The Feed” on our website which is for people who don’t want to be on Facebook. It operates in much the same way but is 100% integrated into our website to provide a similar community space for non-Facebookers.
You’ll find that PLU is much less “mercenary” in nature than some other sites. We are currently free, although we won’t be forever as it’s just not sustainable. Nevertheless, you’ll find our system of Globes to be very different to what you may be used to on other sites. We don’t value our homes differently from each other. A Globe may be used to swap for a non-reciprocal exchange with any home for any length of time, whatever you agree with your exchange partner. We don’t give them out for free and you can’t buy them.
I think you’ll find that PLU is very personal. You’ll get a say in how the site is developed and how it operates as we discuss (nearly) everything before doing it. If you send me a message or an email, I’ll respond directly. All our best ideas come from our community and our site is constantly changing as we work out what we want to do.
These are just my views of course, and what really matters is what our members say. Join our Facebook group and ask them directly. You can also read our TrustPilot reviews (https://au.trustpilot.com/review/peoplelikeus.world) of which I’m very proud. You can try us out, currently for free, and see what you think. And let me know via the system and I’ll respond. Thanks for asking! ?
Hi Rose like you we have been long time members of HE. It was a great site and we had wonderful experiences home exchanging. Then the site was taken over by GTG. Sadly the vibe changed. The take over was not managed successfully. Then we all got our homes valued and were apportioned points values. For me this went against everything home exchange should be about. Fortunately I found Drew and People Like Us. It is by far the best home exchange site on the market right now. It is a great community built on the true values of home exchanging. Caring, sharing and trust. I would recommend People Like Us 100%.