All you want to know about Home Exchange
How does it work ?
The exchangers agree upon a house trade for a certain time, and while you live in your partner's home, the exchanger family lives in your home. Both parties benefit from having the comfort of a real home: plenty of space, no living out of the suitcases, your own car, and last but not least, at no extra charge except for travel expenses.
Is it secure to exchange my home ?
Successful exchanges are based on flexibility. Members who are open to the adventures that our home exchange formula offers have a high probability of finding a suitable exchange partner. Rigid dates or destinations may limit the scope of your options. But always remember that your potential partner also shares the same concerns: they might have kids as well, with the related school period constraints. When two families with kids exchange their home, the constraint becomes an asset, as everyone wants vacations more or less at the same time.
What about exchanging our cars ?
Sure you can. You can arrange to exchange and use almost anything you wish: bicycles, boats, windsurfs. Exchanging cars is very common when you make an agreement that implies a long distance travel. Car exchange is less common in a "Europe - Europe" exchange, because distances are smaller, and people prefer to drive to their exchange home with their own car.
What about language barriers ?
Cultural empowerment is the most interesting thing in the home exchange concept, and language differences are a particularly interesting topic. You will notice that when it comes down to getting in touch with people who are planning to live in your home, there is no language barrier any more. It is very surprising how well people actually can communicate when they share the same interests (and how badly when not ...): they can translate, speak baby talk, remember their school lessons, ask relatives for assistance,... Yes, they'll do their best to get close to someone who was a stranger a few days earlier, but who's becoming a friend, despite the language barrier.
Anyway, when you get in touch with people abroad, most of them speak reasonably good English, and conversely you'll be surprised by how many people have some basic knowledge of French or German.
How do I help prevent a mismatch ?
There is enough information in the listings to weed out some obvious mismatches. For instance, an exchange family with four young children may not be ideal for a retired couple living in an antique-filled home. Or your party of five may not fit into a studio apartment in New York.
What are your competitive advantages?
Our customized services! We do it fast. We publish without a deadline. A subscription received one day will be available on Another-Home.com right away.
Our search engine is powerful. Your vacation home on the other side of the ocean is only a few mouse clicks away.
Easy to consult Home features. The full page ad describes the house in clear sentences and shows color picture if member wishes.
Confidentiality is guaranteed. We protect the customer's privacy. No private information such as names or addresses is published.
We are listening to you. Send us an email for an information and you have an answer the same day.
And we are not expensive. Just compare and you will come back.
How many times can I exchange ?
As many as you want ! Your membership ensures you a full year publication of your home profile during which time you can ask for as many exchanges as you wish.
What are the fees for a one year membership ?
When you consider that you are about to save a couple of thousand dollars, the cost of our service is just ridiculous. You are entitled for a full year membership for just 100$ CDN. This membership fees entitles you to:
- A full year access to the directory
- Your personal home exchange profile
- Unlimited photos of your house
- Unlimited travel destinations
- Free translation of your ad into French
- Free link to your personal web site
- No hidden charges once you have arranged an exchange. Everything is included in the above mentioned flat rates.
Is it safe to leave my home with unknown people ?
The majority of members are professional people, who have worked very hard to achieve a good standard of living. Many of them have a family and live the same way you do. These people like to travel, are open-minded and respectful of other's belongings. This is why they are exchanging homes. The traditional hotel or holiday package is not their favorite piece of cake, and they prefer the home comforts which are available when swapping with like-minded people.
As a rule, families will communicate quite a lot while in the process oforganizing the exchange, and will become good friends. And don't forget that you will be living in their home, so they have exactly the same concerns and will do their best to treat your house in a respectful way. The best exchanges are a result of reciprocal trust and honesty.
Organized home exchanges have been taking place for over fifty years now. Occasionally, housekeeping standards differ from culture to another, but most people discover that home exchangers tend to take greater care of their exchange homes than their own. We encourage families get to know each other before the exchange holiday begins. Ideally we suggest that families actually meet, at one home or the other. This is great opportunity get acquainted, explain a few things about housing supplies, shopping, or after the holidays, talk about the nice time each party spent in the other's home.
Will my home insurance cover my guests ?
Two aspects have to be considered here: car insurance and home insurance. We can provide you with some general comments, but the final word will always be that of your insurance agent. Talk to your insurance agent, his advice is precious.
Car insurance: normally it is sufficient to list the names of your exchange guests as additional drivers on your policy. Fully comprehensive insurance normally covers anyone driving with your permission. If it makes you more comfortable, you can set up restrictions by yourselves, e.g. restrict drivers to those aged 25+, indicate the maximum number of miles or kilometers to be driven, and make it clear if you do not wish your car to be driven abroad or across any border. In the case of North America, definitely stipulate that you do not allow your car to be driven into Mexico, because only insurance made with a Mexican company is valid there.
Home insurance: most insurance companies fully support the home exchange concept, as this contributes to lowering the risk related to an unoccupied home. Normally your home is insured for your exchange guests as if you were living in it yourselves (no financial transaction is involved).
What about damage to my home ?
Always remember that your exchange partner lets you stay in his own home and shares probably the same concern. For certain he is very motivated to take special care of your belongings, in the same way that he expects you to be respectful with his. However, should some unfortunate event occur, the responsibility to pay to have it repaired, or to reimburse you for the damage lies with whomever caused the damage.
Some other common precautions:
- Remove things of particular value, or your "special" stuff. Chances are that your home exchange partner will also prefer that fragile or valuable articles are out of range.
- Ask a neighbor to call in. This not only allows a trusted neighbor to make sure everything is right, but also provides your guests with a welcome local contact.
- An exchange agreement can help establish responsibilities for any problems, such as who pays for the utilities, breakage, plumbing problems and other unexpected occurrences.
- Most exchangers take special care of their exchange house, but please remember that some wear and tear occurs even while you occupy your home. A certain amount of tolerance is a must in home exchanges.
What if my partner cancels at the last minute ?
Once you are sure your arrangements have been finalized, book your airline tickets. Make a copy of these tickets and send them to your exchange partner. Once significant amounts of money have been invested, it is extremely unlike that either side will cancel.
But the ultimate disaster can always knock at the door, for many tragic reasons. Fortunately there are always a few things that the canceling party or you can do to work out an alternate plan. There might be a nice neighbor offering his home, you might be able to free up your second home or cabin. Is there a way to arrange an inexpensive rental (even consider sharing the costs ?)
If no acceptable plan is available, you still have several options:
- Communicate your concern to some of the "near misses" you might have had in the months before the cancellation. Someone with whom you've corresponded, but could not finalize an arrangement, might still be available.
- Possibly arrange to rent a motor-home near the area you planned to visit.
- Perhaps you can postpone to a later date.
- The absolute last resort: if you have the resources, try to arrange a conventional vacation at a motel or rental facility near where the exchange was to have taken place.
What about my pets ?
For a lot of families, looking after their exchange partner's pets is a task they enjoy. Think about the kids meeting their new cat friend ! However be careful to never impose this task on anyone who does not want to assume this responsibility. Consider the fact that many exchangers will use your home as a base for day excursions, and your beloved pet may just be an unacceptable restriction to their liberty.
Just see our contact page.