Trading (Vacation) Spaces

These home-swap sites will help you vacation in paradise on the cheap.

By Laurie Werner
Levanto, italian riverai photo
Your humble abode could land you a virtually free stay in places like Levanto, Italian Riviera.
Photograph: homeexchange.com

Ready to save a bundle on your next trip by swapping homes? The sites below all offer mediation for post-trade disputes, but these are rare, especially if you nail down the terms in advance and in writing: Can you use their car? Will there be household help (and who pays for it)? Do both swappers have adequate home (and, if applicable, car) insurance? Any restrictions on smoking, pets, etc.? Any chores you’d like them to do, or vice versa? 

HOME EXCHANGE

Offering 40,000 homes in 149 countries, HomeExchange.com lets you search for amenities such as a security system, a tennis court, Internet access, etc. Members arrange swaps directly with each other. $119 a year to list one home; $60 to add another property. (Or join for three months: $48 for one listing, $25 for each additional home.)

HOMELINK

There are some 14,000 properties in 80 countries listed on homelink.org/usa. Members swap directly with each other. $119 a year for a single listing, $25 for each additional property.

INTERNATIONAL VACATION HOME EXCHANGE

Ivhe.com lists 498 homes in 55 countries; when you find a property you want to visit, a staffer will check availability and send both parties an exchange agreement. Homes are assigned a credit value based on what it would cost per week to rent them. You earn credits when someone stays in your place, then spend them when you travel (a direct-swap option is also being added). $159 a year, plus an exchange fee of 7 percent of the credit value of the property you are visiting (minimum charge: $69).

Read Naomi Wolf's story about her experiences with home-swapping: A Cheapskate's Passport to Paradise.

Click here for a slideshow of other great places you can trade for a stay in your humble abode.

Don’t miss out on MORE great articles like this one. Click here to sign up for our weekly newsletter!

Originally published in the April 2012 issue

Share Your Thoughts!

Comments

Luellen Smiley 05.25.2012

I joined Home Exchange a year ago, and immediately got inquires to swap in exotic and culturally dynamic places. I have not done this yet, as my home in Santa Fe is a vacation rental so we have paid bookings. Great story to share though.

Post new comment

Click to add a comment