How to Organize a Long-Term Adventure with HomeExchange

Ever thought about taking a long trip made up of multiple exchanges? Here’s advice from one HomeExchange couple who just embarked on a five-month, three-country, 12-exchange journey! They say you’re only limited by your imagination.

If you have experienced the pleasure of a home exchange, you know how exciting it is and how you want to do more. So… why not schedule several home exchanges in a row for a longer, unforgettable trip? It may seem daunting to organize, but with these tips you’re only limited by your imagination!

Plan Dates in Advance

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The more exchanges involved, the more time you need to organize. It also helps to have a range of potential travel dates in mind to tell potential exchangers. Can they fit your stay into that date range? Does their visit to your home need to be simultaneous or can it be non-simultaneous? Or is it hospitality? Do their preferred dates work with your schedule? Non-simultaneous exchanges can make scheduling a lot easier. This works best if you have a second home or a place to go when your exchange partners visit your home.

When you are fitting multiple exchanges into a calendar puzzle, schedule those with restricted dates first, then add the flexible folks. Sometimes there are gaps (hopefully small), which can be ideal for a road trip or short hotel/B&B stay.


Map It Out

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What locations are most important to you? Be flexible and don’t be afraid to accept an offer from a place that you hadn’t considered. Welcome the unknown as part of your adventure.


Utilize the Excellent Tools on HomeExchange.com

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List your preferred destinations in your profile so other members will find you. Do reverse searches of profiles looking for your location or specific dates. And definitely consider using Balloons from the Passport program. When you are searching for a specific location, use the filters, as focusing on personal preferences that are important to you will ensure a happy exchange. Is a car available? Is non-smoking required? How many travelers will you be?


Communication Is Key

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Make sure all parties understand your scheduling goals and that you will honor theirs. Precious vacation plans, flights, and finances are involved so it’s important for all to be certain of their commitments. The awesomeness of HomeExchange is largely a function of the relationships and trust between exchangers. As plans progress from a range of potential dates to confirmed dates, stay in touch with everyone involved. Arrange for Skype calls to improve comfort levels.


Document the Details

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You might think you can keep track of all the facts and figures in your head or by referencing emails, but maintaining a spreadsheet or summary page is a huge help. Create a document with all your potential and confirmed exchanges. For each one, include a listing number, location, names, dates, address, phone numbers, and skype IDs, plus notes for pet care, special requests, restrictions, and dates for visits to your home. Is it full exchange or hospitality? How can you access the house keys? Is a car included?

You may want a spreadsheet for transportation details too. How are you getting from the airport (train station etc.) to each home? If a car is included, will it be at the home or the airport? We often leave our car at a managed parking lot so our exchangers can get it at the airport if we aren’t in town. How are you getting between exchanges (rental car, train, plane, bus)? Include flight numbers and times. Keep track of it all in one place or you may find yourself scrambling for information.


At Your Own Home

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  • Allow time for a dependable cleaning service between exchanges.
  • Rely on a trusted neighbor/friend to keep an eye on your home, greet exchangers, and respond to unexpected issues.
  • Reward them with goodies from your trip, if possible. Ours got a case of international wine, plus a reserve of cash for any emergency repairs.
  • Be sure to share your detailed itinerary.
  • Have a handyman on call who is familiar with your home.
  • Create a HomeExchange manual with details about wi-fi codes, contact numbers, instructions for appliances, and departure instructions. A list of local restaurants, grocery stores and things to do is always appreciated.
  • Provide a generous supply of bathroom tissue, paper towels, cleaning products, and easy-to-find bedding and towels.
  • If you’re exchanging your car, check all maintenance needs and overall cleanliness.
  • Including a GPS or local maps is helpful.
  • Clear space for your guests in the kitchen pantry, fridge and bedroom closet or drawers.

You’re on Your Way

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When you arrive at each exchange, try not to plan anything big for the first day or the last day. Upon arrival, give yourself time to settle in, get groceries, and adjust to new time zones. On the last day, get ready for your next adventure: write a nice thank-you note; give yourself ample time to pack and clean (don’t leave anything behind); and make sure everything is as lovely as you found it.


A Real Life Example

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Using these planning tips, we have organized a five-month trip with 12 back-to-back home exchanges in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. Follow our journey here at HomeExchange Blog and on our blog at www.RomancingTheGlobeTravelBlog.com.

11 Comments on “How to Organize a Long-Term Adventure with HomeExchange

  1. An extended trip to Europe from Australia with five home exchanges worked for us too. Using a Eurail Pass, we did a sweeping circle from the Netherlands, through Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, Germany again, France and back to the Netherlands. Three exchanges were new and we also revisited friends made on previous exchanges. All were non-simultaneous. Each was a stay of from 5 to 10 days which gave us an opportunity to relax, do laundry and enjoy a new community.
    In between exchanges, we stayed in hostels which we find more interesting than hotels. We did this last European summer and now have exchange friends enjoying the Australian summer in our home.

    • Hi Carole! Thanks for sharing your story with us! So interesting that you used the Eurail train. It’s a dream to go around Europe by train to many people! IF you are amendable, we’d love to share your story on a specific post on this blog, to feature your story. I think it could be inspiring to many!

  2. Excellent information,
    however , I am looking for a home exchange in Fortlauderdale , Pompano beach, Delray beach , Boca Raton ?For the month of July 2017 preferably with vehicle?
    For my home in CapeTown , suburb of Green Point near all beaches on the Atlantic Coast .
    Please refer,or connect.
    Many thanks,sincerely, Abe Wollach
    Yours sincerely
    Abe Wollach

  3. Hi
    I take the opportunity of this topic to ask about looking for people interested in a ” Long term ” exchange : might be 6 months or one year to make the experience of a long immersion in the country
    Is there a way to select potential home exchangers ?
    Thank you
    Sylvie

  4. Nice article! We did something similar in 2015. We organised 6 exchanges over 56 days with one week for a road trip. The people we exchanged with were amazing. One owner even let us stay in his Whistler condo just to help us out; no exchange needed!

    My tips are these:
    1) If you want to do multiple exchanges you’ll probably need to email lots of people. Start off with the areas you are interested in but chances are you’ll need to consider more properties than you first thought!
    2) Have a plan for where you are going and be realistic on how long it will take and cost travelling between exchanges. We travelled with young kids so mostly focused on short distance exchanges. If you can travel between exhanges using something exciting like a ferry ride or train it makes things so much enjoyable
    3) Set up a calander – I set up a calander where i had exchanges so I knew where my gaps were. This was a good way to keep track of where I was staying and when. Don’t be afraid to ask if people if they can change their dates. We were able to shuffle some dates around to better fill up the calander.
    4) Set up a contact sheet – We set up a sheet with everybodies contact details etc. It doesn’t sound difficult but once you start organising multiple exchanges you will find out that there are multiple phone numbers, emails, neighbours etc which are better stored in a common place.
    5) Think about how you are going to manage all those non-simulataneous exchanges on returning home! We find simply letting the exchange people know when the house is booked is a good method. It keeps you in contact and generally people will update you on their long-term plans.

    Regards,

    Simon

    • Great tips Simon! Thanks for adding your personal recommendations here. I bet this will be extremely useful for like-minded travelers seeking to do a multi-destination trip with HomeExchange soon.

  5. After running a large corporation for 20 years, I never had time to travel or make close friends, after partial retirement, I found HE and decided This was great, it would force me to travel. It did. We toured, Londen, Ireland, Scotland and Switzerland, for 3 months, one after the other, it took time and work to organize each exhchange. We found that if we swapped with others that had a second home it gave us flexibility of schedule.

    I started with a simple schedule broken down to one month, divided into first half and second half. Then, asked person can you block the first 3 weeks or the last 3 weeks of each month. This gave us flexibility in schedule for travel etc.

    We had such wonderful exchanges, we gave them extra time as well, and several HE allowed us to stay for 3-4 weeks in theri homes, which was extended. Because all of our homes were not primary, it was perfect. We have become great friends with every previous exchange. Thank you, for getting us out of our comfort zone and allowing us to meet other professionals.

    We are planning on 6 months in Europe in 2018, and HE is our plan.

    Diana H
    The Villages, Fl/ Sarasota Fl.

  6. we did 10 weeks across the northern USA in 2013 (Nov-Jan) with our special needs daughter and all bar 9 nights were home exchange. We had a mix of simultaneous and non simultaneous, as well as 2 groups into our home with no plan to use theirs…just meant that someone got to see our part of NZ and we had someone minding the house. It worked a treat and one stop we ended up staying a few extra days as our next house was having a blizzard! HE works so well for our daughter

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