Travel Website of the Week: HomeExchange.com

HomeExchangeHave 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?

Johnny Jet

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About the Author

Johnny Jet
I used to be afraid to fly and at times even leave the house! I conquered my fear (long story) and now I travel to 20+ countries a year sharing my firsthand knowledge, tips and deals with friends, family and readers. Please sign up to our free newsletters and tell your friends!

3 Comments on "Travel Website of the Week: HomeExchange.com"

  1. No. Home exchange is not for me. I live in an all-white home and am a very fussy housekeeper. I fear no one would treat my home as I do. We rent an apartment in Paris
    and the owner trusts us and only rents to one other person. No pets, no smoking and we
    leave the place exactly as we found it.

    • (In full disclosure, I am the President of HomeExchange.com).
      Hey Naoma, I totally understand your concern. Whether a hotel, a B&B or a vacation rental, you want to make sure that the place you stay meets your standards of cleanliness, comfort, location, etc. And for sure you would NEVER have someone staying at your home unless you were sure they would treat it with the care and consideration you would show their home.

      Believe me, in the 22 years since I founded our club, I’ve heard this a lot; “No. Home exchange is not for me. I live in an all-white home and am a very fussy housekeeper.”
      So I have a hypothetical question for you; having seen how they maintain their own home and possibly even having met them, would you ever consider letting the apartment owner in Paris stay in your home? I’m guessing (and hoping) that you would say “Yes, but that’s different, I know they would treat my home with respect”. That’s actually a common challenge we face in trying to get new people to understand home exchange because the entire process ensures that you have that level of comfort before you ever agree to a swap. We even recommend that someone like you does their first home exchange with someone who also has an all-white home (yes, we have a number of them), asks for references about prior exchanges and even does a video skype tour of one another’s homes. What usually happens by then is that both sides feel comfortable that the other partners are just like them!
      We did our own home exchange to Paris last May. It was a beautifully appointed home, fantastic views, wonderful location, no pets and no smoking. Also no bill when we left, we had plenty of other uses for that $3000.

      Anyway, I wish you “Bon voyage”, safe and comfortable travels.

  2. Alexandra Origet | September 24, 2014 at 3:28 am | Reply

    Hi Noama, you would be surprised but there are other people like you who are very “fussy housekeepers” as you say. You just have to find your peers! I used to have a very nice triplex in Paris, exchanged it a number of times (Los Angeles, Costa Rica, Britanny…) and was never disappointed. I just took the time to carefully pick up my exchange partners

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