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Home Exchange

By on January 14, 2010

How often have you dreamed of enjoying a blissful vacation in Paris, France or the Caribbean but didn’t have the money to fulfill your wish? Well, here’s a really smart way to cut down on your holiday cost to a great extent, while the enjoying a fantastic holiday in your dream destination.

The newest trend in the world of  tourism is that of home exchange holidays. The concept is pretty simple. Instead of spending money on hotels and condos, travelers can actually get in touch with home owners at the destination they wish to travel to, and exchange homes during the holidays.

Still pretty confused? Well, here’s an example. Let’s say you reside in a country like India and have always wanted to visit Switzerland. And let’s imagine that someone in Switzerland wants to visit India pretty bad. The only thing that is stopping both of you is the cost of the holiday. Well, if you manage to get in touch with each other and work out an understanding, you and your family can visit Switzerland and stay at your new friend’s home while he/she can fly down to India and stay at your home for some days.

If you think this is highly impossible and will not be accepted by many home owners, think again. Thousands of people in countries like France, Germany, United States and even places in Asia are willing to trade homes for holidays.

By exchanging your home with someone else, you will be doing a big favor for both. Instead of paying over 1500 dollars a day on accommodation and food, you can cut down on the hotel expenses and spend only on food (you can cook your own meals too).

The homes that are exchanged between travelers are generally in good condition and are equipped with all the necessary accessories like air conditioning, televisions, stereos and vehicles (optional). Almost all the houses come with separate bedrooms and fully equipped kitchens that enable you to cook your own food rather than ordering it from outside.

Another advantage of exchanging homes is that you get to reside in a proper house in a proper neighborhood that reflects the lifestyles and habits of the people who live in that particular destination. The experience also enables you to befriend other like minded travelers and many such friendships that were born out of home exchange holidays have lasted for several years.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be different countries. Travelers wishing to visit a particular destination within the same country can exchange their homes with people who live in another part of the same country. For instance, if you stay in sunny California and want to visit Alaska for a snowy holiday, you can exchange homes with owners from Alaska who want to visit California.

If you are getting interested about the prospect of exchanging homes, here are a few need to know facts about the holiday.

There are generally two types of home exchange. The first type is where owners in different locations exchange their houses with each other for a period of time. The second type of home exchange is a slight variation from the main idea and is called Hospitality Exchange.

According to this type of home exchange holidays, guests from a different destination stay at your house with you for a period of time and you act as their host. Later on, when you visit their country or area, you can stay in their home and they will play the role of the host. This type of home exchange is more favored by those who are new to the concept of exchanging homes and don’t want to risk everything at the first try.

Now, if you are ready to exchange your home but need to know how to get in touch with other like minded owners, you can check for websites on the internet that deal with home exchanges. Such sites usually contain a list of people who like to exchange their homes, along with pictures of their homes, to help you decide.

What you can possibly do is take some pictures of your house and the rooms; and attach them to the email you send to prospective owners. You can also register in one of the home exchange sites and post photos of your home for others to see and contact you if they are interested. There are several travel magazines that publish home exchange offers on their personal ad columns.

After a mutual consent, both parties (you and the other owner) can work out the other details like dates, available facilities and other necessary details.

Most of the home exchange websites available online charge a small fee for registration. Once you register with them, you would be usually asked to fill a questionnaire that helps the website decide on your guest preferences. Some of the common questions include “Do you smoke?”, “Do you have any vehicle?”, or “Do you have small children?”.

If you agree to exchange vehicles as well, it is best advised to exchange your licenses and auto insurances as well. Travelers willing to exchange their houses with others should also have home insurance lest something is damaged during the visit.

And even though they can be trusted, it is advised to remove any valuables that you might have in the house and store them at an alternate place in addition to removing breakable items and unnecessary objects.

All said and done, home exchange is a revolutionary twist to the entire idea of enjoying holidays in foreign destinations and if you are a person who’s a stickler for trying something new, go for it!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1R3TcV5TQs

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