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Home Exchange: The Future of Travel

December 2nd, 2013 by The JetSetter Team | Comments Off on Home Exchange: The Future of Travel

Slide1As budgets get tighter and tighter, many people are considering the possibilities of home exchange for short or long term travel or living abroad purposes. The idea is essentially explained in the term—two parties trade homes for a period of time, usually for the purposes of holiday or vacation. The trade happens without the exchange of money, and often, without either party having laid eyes on the property. If this sounds like a great, inexpensive way to travel, that’s because it is—but make sure you’re doing it right.

First, consider joining an online group with a small fee that facilitates home exchanges. This generally ensures that people you connect with are serious about the exchange and are more likely to be trustworthy. When you find a place you’re interested in, feel free to ask a number of questions so that you may establish a relationship and build trust. Similarly, be honest about your home and your community. If something is a little run down or the neighbors are a bit noisy, make sure to tell your exchangers. Photos are a good way to give a clear picture too.

Remember, communication is key. In addition to questions, make sure to set expectations ahead of time. Are pets welcome? Is there a curfew? Specific rules about guests? Will vehicles or other privileges be included in the exchange? What is your expectation for cleanliness or fuel when your exchangers leave? Any tips and tricks about your home that will make things easier for your guests?

Of course, when you’re away on your vacation exchange, you can always ask a trusted friend, family member, or neighbor to keep on eye on things and make themselves available to guests should they have any problems. This is a good way to make others feel welcome and give you peace of mind. It’s a good idea to make a house book too—basically, a guide to living in your home. This might contain telephone numbers for use in emergencies, special appliance instructions, specific instructions for the water heater. Also include delivery restaurant menus, tourist guides, etc. to make the stay better for your exchangers.

Finally, get your home in great shape for guests, which will ease your mind. Write (or have someone else write) a home exchange contract to be signed by both you and your exchangers so that everything is official. Update your insurance provider by informing them that you’ve got guests (consider adding accidental damage insurance) and update vehicle insurance accordingly. Be respectful, and your exchangers will undoubtedly do the same.

Jason Hartman knows that few people have multiple houses in multiple countries, and thinks home exchanges provide an interesting and cost-effective way to travel—not to mention, give a travel experience that is more local.

Do you have any experience with home exchanges? Share below! (http://www.flickr.com/photos/davialexandre/4133347295/)

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