5 Reasons to Home Swap

Exchange travel to Austria
We sang our way around Salzburg, Austria

While more people are renting homes, rooms, garden apartments or just a sofa for traveling, there’s another option that’s even better: home swapping.

What is home swapping? Trading houses for a set period of time. You go and stay in someone’s home – across the country or around the world – while they stay in your house. It sounds interesting, doesn’t it? It’s actually wonderful.

After 12-home exchanges in 10-years, in multiple countries and in the U.S. we’ve yet to be disappointed. It’s my favorite way to travel! There are so many reasons to home swap but let’s start here…

5 Reasons to Home Swap

  1. Zero cost place to stay. For the cost of a single night at a hotel, you can sign up for a year-long membership at one of several home exchange websites – and arrange as many home exchanges as you’d like.
  2. A kitchen at your disposal. Even if you want to go out for some meals (who doesn’t?) you have the ability to cook local fare at “your” own place, further reducing the cost of vacationing! Our favorite routine is eating breakfast at home, packing a lunch, and dinner out or from the market.
  3. Live like a local. Experience life in another area. Live as your host actually lives it. Walk to local shops and markets, see the neighborhood intimately. Meet the neighbors! It makes for an immersive, exciting, and richer travel experience.
  4. Skip the rental car. Many times, the use of the exchange partner’s car is included in the exchange. Make sure to check car insurance coverages. Different countries have restrictions or additional riders. In Austria, we had to pay 25 euros for the week we drove our exchange family’s car.
  5. No house sitter needed at home. Your house is taken care of while you’re away on vacation. Someone is taking care of your own house – getting the mail/newspaper, taking care of a pet (if you agreed ahead of time, of course), watering your garden, and keeping an eye on the place. Exchange partners take care of your house like it was their own – because you’re in their house doing the same thing.
  6. Bonus: Generate less waste. Ever notice how much trash gets generated when staying at a hotel? Carry out containers, coffee cups, water bottles are just a few items that seem to overflow in the trash can. With trading houses, you’ll be composting, recycling, and enjoying the morning coffee without lots of trash.
Go Gingham Home Exchange
Gorgeous kitchen and home in Victoria, British Columbia

With these 5 reasons to home exchange in 2015, why not make this your year to try a new way to travel? Pack your bags, arrange an exchange, and share with us how your experience was.

What travel plans do you have for this year?

Go Gingham related links:

Our San Francisco home exchange –Part I, Part II and
Part III
Want to keep food costs low while traveling? Try these tips!
Home swapping and eating like a local – foodies will love this!

More related links:

I recommend registering and arranging a home exchange through a reputable website. Try out one of these:

  • – we’ve not used them but they have over 60,000 homes listed
  • – we’ve not used them but they have a second year guarantee if you don’t find an exchange the first year.
  • – we’ve used them for nearly all of our exchanges
  • – we’ve used them – and they give us an annual membership



5 thoughts on “5 Reasons to Home Swap

  1. I forgot to check the box for follow-up comments 🙂

    Just a comment – I don’t understand why so many of these are designed with the checkboxes AFTER the “post comment” button.


    1. Carroll, I don’t know websites are designed that way…it’s how WordPress is which is what most bloggers seem to use. I can change some things on my site but not that. Actually, I change more things than I probably should and get into trouble! 😉
      Did you see my list of home exchange sites? It’s at the bottom of the post.
      Thanks for checking in and leaving a comment, Carroll. If you have any more questions, please email me. Thanks!!


  2. I get a kick out of your Salzburg picture. I, too, would be singing my way through the city. I’m a big enough geek that I know every.single.lyric to The Sound of Music.


    1. Well, you would love Salzburg then, Kris! We camped there and met a family from the Netherlands. Their English was pretty good but they all knew every single word from all ‘The Sound of Music’ songs, too! It’s international. 🙂


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