You may think it’s an impossible dream, but even in these tough economic times, you may still be able to afford a vacation. Have you ever considered a home exchange?
Home exchange is a concept that began in Europe in the nineteen fifties when school teachers discovered it as a very inexpensive means of travel during the long school breaks. Over the years, it has steadily taken root and spread throughout the world, until today, many thousands of families depend on upon it as their only means of vacationing.
Numerous families have participated in dozens, often hundreds of successful home exchanges. Contrary to the immediate reactions of people unfamiliar with the concept, they have not been robbed; their homes have not been wrecked. In fact, they have enjoyed memorable and rewarding trips to all sorts of places that they could never have afforded to visit had it involved rental costs or hotel bills.
Having said that, the fact remains, home exchange is not for everyone. If you know your vacation is likely to be spoiled by constant worry as to what the exchange family may be doing in your home, don’t consider it. In fact, don’t even begin the process if there is the slightest chance that you may get last minute cold feet. It simply would not be fair to the other family.
Over the past few years, a new trend in home exchanging has emerged where people are now seeking exchanges much closer to home, rather than half way around the world. For example, people in cities are exchanging with families in towns just a few hundred miles away. This approach allows them to simply drive to their destination rather than fly. It makes home exchange even more of a bargain.
If you pause for a moment to consider: any change of surroundings can create a memorable vacation, and these days, air travel is often frustrating and demeaning. Do you enjoy being subjected to the new security checks?
People with second homes in coastal or mountain settings relatively short distances apart are perfect examples.
Event focused home swaps are also very popular. Football fans would give anything for a home exchange to the Super Bowl venue, while golf fanatics would probably jump at a swap that took them to the US Open or Masters. The possibilities are endless.
Whether you choose to exchange close to home or many thousands of miles away, you will need to join one of the many home exchange organizations available to you. Don’t make the mistake of answering classified ads. When people pay a fee to join an established club, their payment involves verification by the credit card merchant managing the transaction and that means they are exactly who they claim to be. For similar reasons, steer clear of free membership clubs, they are usually new with limited experience and no customer service.
It’s certainly not necessary to pay the inflated fees charged by a few of the clubs. There are a lot of great companies that have been in business for many years and offer an excellent, personalized service.
All clubs allow visitors to explore their member base before making a commitment and this should be your main criteria. Join the club with the best price and a good variety of members in the area you plan to visit.
Written for a Major Home Exchange Vacation Company