Home exchange- What is it?
Well, do you remember the movie “The Holiday” starring Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet who use home exchange to change their lives as they trade homes between Los Angeles and England? You can try it also!
Home exchange simply means that you and your family agree with a family from a different area to live in each other’s homes during your holiday. The length of the holiday exchange is entirely up to you. Only have one free weekend? Arrange a weekend exchange. No money changes hands between the exchangers so you can have free accommodation anywhere in the world. The good part is that many families exchange their second homes, so the exchange doesn’t need to be simultaneous always.
Here are some of the biggest websites that we tested and where we have membership:
Lovehomeswap.com – Love Home Swap is a members-only home swapping site that’s stylish, social and simple to use. Home swap holidays are revolutionizing the way people travel. Rather than renting a house, or stopping in a hotel, you can swap your home for a hacienda in Spain, a townhouse in San Francisco, a chalet in the French Alps, or a villa in Tuscany. Never pay out for a rental property or hotel again. I have already swapped and found it amazing. Love Home Swap is a members-only service, so you’ll then need to start your membership to begin messaging with other members around the world and lining up your dream swaps.
Homeexchange- this site works on the same principle: you exchange your house with another one in another destination. Listing your house is free but to contact members there is a membership fee of one time payment of $119.40, automatically renewed every year.
House sitting is arranging for someone to live in your home while you are away. How many of you have a tiny family member very much loved (your dog, cat, fish, hen etc) which makes your holiday planning very difficult? No need to hire gardeners, pool service, or pet boarders. Your sitter handles these services in exchange for their free accommodations. Home sitting can be a perfect solution for house and pet owners and for the ones who, this way, get the change to travel and stay for free in a lovely place of their choice.
Home sitting websites
MindMyHouse -Need someone to look after your house or pets while you’re away? Home owners join for free. Enjoy free holiday accommodation, save your rental payments and treat yourself on whatever! House sitter members pay the lowest annual fee on the web.
HouseCarers – is online search and screen database for house sitters and homeowners to share information.
These seem to be the only house-sitting organizations not run as services involving payment.
But you can also check out caretaker-jobs.com, pet-sitters.biz and caretaker.org.
Luxury House Sitting – is a genius way to stay in luxury properties for free. Luxury House Sitting was created with two ideas in mind: to help homeowners locate responsible house sitters and to give house sitters the ability to build a trustworthy profile.
Sustainable accommodation worldwide
Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms – WWOOF is a world wide network of organizations.
They link volunteers with organic farmers and help people share more sustainable ways of living. In return for volunteer help, WWOOF hosts offer food, accommodation and opportunities to learn about organic lifestyles. The website links people who want to volunteer at organic farms or smallholdings with people who are looking for volunteer help.
Workaway.info is a site set up to promote fair exchange between budget travelers, language learners or culture seekers and families, individuals or organizations who are looking for help with a range of varied and interesting activities – A few hours honest help per day in exchange for food and accommodation and an opportunity to learn about the local lifestyle and community, with friendly hosts in varying situations and surroundings. From painting to planting, building to babysitting and shopping to shearing, Workaway.info aims to introduce working travelers and language learners to like minded hosts, without having to pay expensive agency fees.
Hospitality accommodation and intercultural learning
Another amazing opportunity is Couchsurfing.com, a community of over 5 million members in 97,000 cities around the world that connects travelers and locals who meet offline to share cultures, hospitality and adventures, whether on the road or in their hometowns.
Basically people all over the world offer you their couch (either a private room or just a couch in the living room) for nothing in return, just an exchange of experience, culture and interaction.Or they just offer to show you around and make you feel at home in their city, which means a great deal when you are new in town! Of course, respect from both sides is essential. I have used the website in Montreal, New York, London, Paris and many other cities and I believe that, especially for single travelers, it is amazing.
Holiday Renting worldwide
These are the main websites we use when booking accommodation worldwide and we have always found amazing opportunities at fantastic prices.
Renting a castle or a manor!
Especially if traveling in a group or with your extended family or friends, the price per person can become extremely reasonable for a luxury location like this.
Check out Simply Chateau, Holiday Chateau or Castle Rental or Home Away UK to find your dream castle.
Renting a villa, apartment or just a room
Discover amazing, unique accommodations in 192 countries. With more than 10 million nights booked worldwide, Airbnb.com is a world leader in travel rentals. You can also rent out your unused space and this way pay your bills or fund your next vacation. Founded in August of 2008 and based in San Francisco, California, Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world, online or from a mobile phone. Whether an apartment for a night, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month, you can let your house or rent a place here.
Similar to Airbnb is Tripping.com and Onefinestay.com.
Homeaway – With over 711,000 paid listings of vacation rental homes in 171 countries, HomeAway makes it easier than ever to find and compare the vacation rental homes.
Abritel – Affiliated with Homeaway.co.uk, targeting especially the francophone countries worldwide.
Holidaylettings- Whether you’re letting or renting, you can use it in 116 countries, where they showcase holiday villas, apartments, cottages and holiday homes to rent, connecting holiday home owners and managers with hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers looking for holiday villas, cottages and apartments around the world. Since June 2010 this site is entirely owned by TripAdvisor – the world’s largest and most trusted travel website.