The business of home exchange is one area of tourism that is expanding despite the global economic downturn. There are many reasons for this, one of which the most important is cost. It is less expensive to be involved in a house swap and save on spending money for hotels and meals in restaurants. When travelling these days, people are more curious about the locale and community they are visiting and a home exchange allows them the opportunity to more fully integrate into the neighborhood by living in someone else’s home. Finally, doing a house swap is a more ecological way to travel as those who exchange homes leave behind cleaner and neater environments than if they had travelled to a hotel.
The idea of a home exchange or house swap started in the 1950s when printed catalogs of houses were made available through various organizations. The Internet has done away with these printed catalogs and companies now post their listings on web sites and people interested in exchanging their houses can do so by looking up listings on the Internet and communicating by means of email. Many countries around the world are involved in home exchange, including the United States, France and other European countries, as well as emerging countries such as Brazil, Argentina, and South Africa.
There are many different kinds of people that are involved in a house swap. Primarily, professors, retirees, business executives, doctors, people who have their own businesses, lawyers and many other professionals take part in home exchange. They tend to be more educated and adventurous with an interest in learning more about different places and cultures. People involved in a house swap can be single, married coupled and families.
The advantage of home exchange is that there are almost unlimited opportunities for travel. You can choose a mountain resort, a seaside setting or visiting a more urban environment like Paris, London, New York or Hong Kong. When thinking about doing a house swap, you should start with a list of places you would like to visit. Then you should decide on some dates of when you want to travel and how long you want to stay at your location. While doing your research, keep your options open and add places to your list that you may not have previously thought about visiting. The more options you leave for yourself in your home exchange, the more likely you are to finding something appropriate that most matches your needs and desires. Making arrangements for a house swap requires more lead time than finding a hotel in a location so you should plan on four to six months to make all the necessary arrangements.