Home exchange sites offer the opportunity to trade your own home with someone else for a vacation period. It’s a one-to-one deal and you save money by avoiding accommodation costs, although you may have to pay membership fees. Hospitality clubs are a little different. They’re usually non-profit organizations that may not charge membership fees but provide bare bones information without photos. They generally allow you to make arrangements to stay as a guest in someone else’s home and vice-versa, and qualifications for membership vary according to the organization. If you’re considering seeing the world this way, we’ve rounded up 5 sites that run the gamut…
HomeExchange.com: One of the largest international databases of home exchange services, this site charges about $100 for a one-year membership, plus another $50 for any additional homes you wish to list. As a member, you can list your own apartment and find a place to stay in 127 countries worldwide.
Intervac International Home Exchange: Intervac offers home exchange residences in just over 50 countries, and a one-year international membership is $95. You can list up to 3 homes without added fees (as opposed to just one on Home Exchange).
Home Link: Home Link offers membership in their home exchange service for $100 a year. Listings for any additional homes are $15, and you can browse listings in 72 countries. It’s been around since 1953.
Hospitality Club: Hospitality Club is a volunteer-run organization that offers free membership for people who want to stay as guests at homes in other countries. You don’t have to list your own home, but you do have to follow the organization’s membership rules. Listings generally don’t show photos – basic accommodation information is provided within a member’s profile.
Servas International: An international NGO, Servas provides the opportunity to host travelers or find a host for two or more nights in over 100 countries. It was founded in 1949 with the mission of promoting tolerance and peace. There’s an application fee and security screening process that takes a minimum of 4 weeks.
For first-hand reviews of Home Exchange and Home Link, see this post
Photo: Barcelona Apartment from Habitat (another great accommodation site)