Home Exchange in few words
Home exchange is a very easy way to travel : two families agree to exchange their home during a defined period (holidays, but also week-end or long period). This agreement is free of charge. Each contracting party can occupy a house, far from their home, without paying anything.
Even if it’s possible to exchange something else than a house (apartment, caravan, secondary house…), home exchange or house swap are the usual expression to define this way to travel.
Home exchange: history
The story of the exchange of house begins in the 50’s. The first exchanges of houses took place between American and Swiss teachers. The formula, opened to all, then developed in Europe, and all over the world. Organisations specialized in candidates’ getting in touch in the exchange of houses were born.
At the beginning, listings of houses were published in printed catalogs, and sent from 1 to 2 times a year by post mail. No Internet at that time ! Since the end of the 90s, the publications were gradually given up for the benefit of on-line catalogs.
Home exchange: explanation
To realize an exchange of houses, you have to subscribe to a specialized organisation, most of the time through a web site. The partners of exchanges correspond mainly by e-mail, then by telephone to adjust certain details, and agree on the period, the duration and the modalities of the exchange.
Both owner or tenant of houses are allowed to realize an exchange of houses. Besides, it’s possible to exchange hous, apartment, studio, secondary home or mobil-home.
The exchanges of house are often associated to exchanges of cars, and it is also possible to realize exchanges of hospitality.
Home exchange: alternatives
The house swap (or apartment swap) can be simultaneous, or not. In this case we talk about exchange of hospitality.
Another way to travel free of charge, which is developping itself a lot these days, is the couchsurfing. Trendy in the young adults population, couchsurfing consists in asking someone to welcome you for a night or two, with no counterpart, except your presence. Later, you will also welcome someone else from the community at your place. The exchange is not with one person. The question is what you receive from the community and what you offer to it.