Review date: July 2018
Specialty: gay community
Instead of listings, this network focuses on membership. It offers more than just home exchanges, encouraging people to make gay friends, visit gay campgrounds (they have an extensive list for the United States), engage in timeshare exchanges, and more. As a result it’s not really comparable to the number of home exchange listings on other networks.
When creating an account StayWithFamily prompts members to include a description of their property. It says you can skip that section if you can’t host guests. Though in practice the website doesn’t have the capability of skipping, so perhaps all members do have a listing, or at least a fake listing. The list of “new members” that runs down the side of the home page looks like many are either fake or incomplete, with virtually no information and no actual home listed. It’s possible these are folks creating accounts to try to meet other members.
Overall this network feels like a place for gay men to meet. Most members appear to be men, and browsing through the blog posts I quickly came across several features with large pictures of men’s naked butts. Within the listings the focus is on the member, not on the home. If you’re someone who enjoys travel and is looking to meet other gay men, this might be a good network to join.
Searching: The “meet our members” section includes a search by location or username. There are no filters beyond the clear text location option. Searches return a list of members with their photos (no pics of their home), gender, a brief description of the member, and their address.
Listings: The listings don’t have much information about people’s homes. There are photos and a brief description entered by the member. Most of the information displayed is about the member, not the home.
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.
- hospitality exchange – similar to a non-simlutaneous house swap but done while the members are at home.
- couchsurfing – Members are encouraged to indicate if they can “offer free temporary accommodation a member of Homeforswap who is travelling” which I assume means non-reciprocal hosted lodging.
Site design: The website is very slow, bordering on non-responsive at times. And the design isn’t super intuitive. They do have an internal messaging system, and the option to leave reviews after an exchange.
If you’re trying to figure out which Home Exchange network to join, check out my reviews of all the major house swap networks.