Hello readers, I hope you started the new year with many travel plans and good resolutions. Mine are keep learning to not be a people pleaser, spend more time in nature, and maybe writing more on blog? 😁
But, I came here to tell you about my home swap experience. Yes, you heard right, a home exchange, with people we didn’t know.
How does this work?
There are many websites that allow home exchanges, however, I used the one called HomeExchange, just because a friend was using it for her trip to Paris and recommended me, so I also got a few extra points for that. When I went and created the profile, I realised my email was already set up; apparently I had created a profile back in 2017. I do recall wanted to try this for some time but never came around it.
This was probably the year when I realised AirBnB was no longer for me. Despite hosting for 1 year in our small flat, I started thinking AirBnB became a hipster thing, where customers were more and more demanding, but mainly, prices went up so much that it completely defeated its original purpose.
I guess in 2017 then, I was already exploring new ways to travel in a sustainable and local way, and came across HomeExchange.
What I did not know then, and I think is a new feature anyway, is that you don’t necessarily need to make a reciprocal exchange, but you can use GuestPoints to stay at a house whose owners won’t come to yours. You may wonder how you get these points then, and you do in a different number of ways:
1. When you create your profile, add pictures, message house owners, refer friends, etc.
2. When you have people staying at your house without a reciprocal exchange. Every house will be worth a different number of GuestPoints, and this will depend on how big it is, how many bedrooms you have, how many good reviews you have, and so on.
Our experience was a non reciprocal one. We went to Edinburgh and had a Canadian family staying at ours for 5 nights, for which we got 500 GuestPoints.
The cons of doing a home exchange is that when you are busy packing for your trip, you also have to make sure the house is spotless for your guests. That added some stress. However, that quickly went away as soon as we got on the plane.
The pros are to stay at beautiful properties for no money, being able to experience the place you visit as a true local, and so much more.
We were extremely lucky to be staying in the beautiful Stockbridge area of Edinburgh for two full weeks over Christmas. While we lived in Edinburgh for nine years, we never got to experience Stockbridge like that and it was wonderful.
Have you ever done anything like this before? Would you give it a try?