The world is full of incredible sights and new experiences at every turn, but traveling can be expensive. And with accommodation costs usually sitting at the higher end of the scale, sometimes your wallet can take a dent.
Lodging usually adds up to 20-30% of your vacation costs, so a platform like HomeExchange could make a difference. Instead of splurging your money on an overpriced hotel or Airbnb, you could use that money elsewhere.
As a budget-friendly option, HomeExchange offers travelers a more authentic insight into local life in their desired destination. But just how reliable is it? Before you get planning, let's find out everything you need to know about HomeExchange.
What is HomeExchange?
HomeExchange, which claims the title of the "world leader in home exchange vacations," provides a platform for people to swap houses. Offering homestays around the world, HomeExchange hosts over 450,000 homes in up to 159 countries worldwide.
What Destinations Does HomeExchange Cover?
Covering over 159 countries around the globe, HomeExchange offers a variety of options in big-name destinations such as Paris, London, Rome, New York, Sydney, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
Whether you've set your sights on a lush tropical destination, a desert trip, or a simple farmyard stay, HomeExchange offers a wealth of wonderful options.
How Does HomeExchange Work?
So, you've considered HomeExchange, but now you want to know how it works. You can start by creating your listing and filling out your free profile. Once you've added all the information, you can start looking for homes in your desired destination.
When you find something you like, you can start sending messages, exchanging requests, and organizing the details. When you're ready to confirm, purchase an annual membership to reserve your exchange.
The annual membership grants you unlimited exchanges for the year.
What are the Advantages of Using HomeExchange?
After signing up and paying the fee, traveling becomes a whole lot easier. The easy-to-read layout of the platform makes things hassle-free for both guests and hosts. Membership offers many advantages, including:
- Over 100,000 homes to choose from around the world – a cost-efficient way of globetrotting
- Unlimited travel for an entire year – no additional accommodation fees
- Trustworthy and reliable guarantees – protection and coverage in case anything goes wrong
- Sustainable travel – connecting locals in a more authentic way
What is HomeExchange Membership?
If you're a budget-conscious traveler, you know that every penny counts. Priced at USD 175 per year, the HomeExchange membership offers better savings in the long term. The yearly subscription offers plenty of benefits and exclusive discounts, including the following:
- Unlimited exchanges for 12 months
- Easy access to member support
- Assistance if there's a cancellation of non-compliance
- Protection in case your property gets damaged
- 10% discount and 250 GuestPoints each year when renew before the expiry date
- Access to the "members only" Facebook groups
- Second year of membership is free if you don't find an exchange within your first year
What are HomeExchange Guest Points?
GuestPoints is the ideal option for those looking for non-reciprocal exchanges. This is when one member hosts another, but doesn't plan to reciprocate by staying at the latter's home. In this case, the former will receive GuestPoints for their hospitality. GuestPoints can be put towards other home exchanges of their choice.
You will receive GuestPoints when you sign up and fill in all your information. As mentioned before, another way to get more is by hosting other HomeExchange members in your home. You can earn additional GuestPoints by referring friends, completing your first listing, and renewing your membership.
What is HomeExchange Guarantee?
HomeExchange is committed to providing its members with a pleasant exchange, and their guarantee varies for guests and hosts.
Guarantee for Guests:
- Cancellation Protection – up to USD 840 per week if there's no replacement exchange or accommodation
- Compliance Guarantee – if things don't meet the description
- Damage Coverage – up to USD 1,000,000 in property damages
Guarantee for Hosts:
- USD 500 Security Deposit – coverage of minor damages
- Damage Coverage – up to USD 1,000,000 supported by HomeExchange
- Theft Protection – financial compensation for loss
How Does HomeExchange Work Compared to Other Vacation Rental Sites?
If you're wondering what the best option is for travel lodging, look no further. While big-name sites like Airbnb offer more availability and convenient booking at competitive prices, some things can't be matched, especially if you're seeking authenticity.
If you've been scavenging through the internet for the best budget-friendly vacation rental sites, there's no doubt you might be feeling overwhelmed by the wealth of options available. Here are some of my favorite Airbnb alternatives.
- Vacasa – easy to use and convenient 3D view of rentals, but with limited availability in some countries
- Homestay.com – offers both short and long-term accommodation, along with host reviews and a pay-upon-arrival feature; customer support seems to be the most significant downside
- Vrbo – plenty of choices and decent customer service; the cons include higher prices and their strict cancellation policy
Is HomeExchange Worth It?
Depending on the destination you're heading to and your personal preferences, HomeExchange could be worth a try. If you're focused on saving money and experiencing the authentic side of traveling, then this is a suitable option to consider.
HomeExchange promotes conscious travel and aims to establish house swapping as a responsible and human way to go on vacation. The company is also committed to reducing its environmental impact by 2030. So if you're looking to travel more sustainably, it's right up your alley.
There are, however, concerns about scammers and bad customer service. So keep that in mind when using the service, and stay safe!
Our rating: 4.6/5
- Local insight into the destination
- Budget-conscious option
- Practical for short and long-term stays
- GuestPoints offer an alternative option
- Stellar guarantee policy
- Paid membership to book an exchange
- Limited ways of earning GuestPoints
Lodging and Beyond!
Whether you're looking for accommodation in an off-the-radar destination or a travel hot spot, HomeExchange offers plenty of budget-friendly options. Before you get stuck in the planning process, be sure to check out Pilot.