Have you seen the movie The Holiday with Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz and Jude Law, where Kate’s character swaps her English cottage with Cameron’s plush L.A. home? Well, it turns out the website they used, HomeExchange.com, is an actual website and has been around since 1992! What’s even more surprising is that it wasn’t product placement and the owners didn’t have to pay a dime for it to be featured. How nice is that?
I learned this and all kinds of other good stuff the other night when I had dinner with the founder, Ed Kushins, and his wife Terri in Hermosa Beach, California. After they toured me around their amazing home (which they frequently swap with other members), we went to dinner at a nearby restaurant, where I asked all kinds of questions. In the end, I came to the conclusion that HomeExchange.com is a great option for those that love to save money when they travel and live like a local—and are open to having others in their home(s).
There are currently 58,000-plus members on HomeExchange.com in more than 150 countries, and the site is available in 15 languages. To date the site is responsible for more than one million property swaps!
Here’s how it works: New members begin by listing their properties so that other community members can view them. There’s a membership fee of $9.95 per month that grants access to an unlimited number of properties, essentially allowing members to stay in the home of their choice for no additional cost beyond the flat monthly rate.
HomeExchange.com curates lists of available properties based on types of travelers and styles of trips. Collections include: Romantic, Family Fun, Urban Rush, Pet-Friendly, Beach & Surf, Gourmet Paradise, Golf Trips, and Arts & Culture.
The whole key to swapping is communication. Ed even recommends doing a Skype interview with the hosts before arranging a stay so you can meet them and tour the property before agreeing. After the trip, members are encouraged to write reviews to highlight information that might be helpful for others in the community.
FYI: HomeExchange.com also hosts a collection of high-end luxury properties and one-of-a-kind villas listed on HomeExchangeGold.com, available for a yearly membership fee of $500.
Have you HomeExchanged before and if not would you?
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.