Is HomeExchange for Me?
Some of the most commonly held myths about home exchanging. And our best shots at busting them.
Sharing is not new. It goes back to the dawn of humanity itself, and yet when most people first consider sharing their homes, they squirm a bit. We get it. There are probably a thousand reasons why you think this isn’t for you. Fret no more!
Myth 1: I’m letting a total stranger into my home.
At first glance, it might seem that way. But remember that exchanging is a process. By the time you actually exchange homes, you will likely have swapped multiple messages and spoken via phone or Skype with your exchange partners. These “strangers” will have become friends. And by the time you leave your exchange partner’s place, you’ll feel like you’ve known them all your life.
Pro Tip: You’re in control. If you ever feel like something seems off, it’s perfectly OK to decline the exchange.
Myth 2: No one would want to stay in my home.
You don’t live in a mansion, castle, or swanky penthouse? That’s fine! Chances are that if you like your home, someone else will too, but not for the reasons you might think. Often it’s the location (see Myth 3), or because it’s kid- or pet-friendly, or adult-only, or yoga or eco, or has a pool, a view etc. We say that “For every home, there is an exchanger.” That’s because of who HomeExchangers are; many will exchange homes simply because you asked. So definitely ask!
Pro Tip: Straighten up your home, take some good photos and tell us why you love it. You’ll be on your way to exchanging in no time!
Myth 3: No one would want to come to my city/town/region/country.
You’re probably selling yourself short. You may not live in a tourist hub, but that doesn’t mean no one wants to visit. Many of our members embrace the “live like a local” mantra and don’t want to be tourists; they will love where you live. Also, what seems mundane to you might be a great adventure to others. Or offer a needed change of pace.
Remember that not everyone travels for vacation. Your exchange partner might want to be near where a friend or relative grew up or is getting married, or where the next big business deal will take place.
Pro Tip: Our Passport program makes it even easier to go anywhere and stay for free. With Passport, you don’t have to exchange your home at all; instead you earn Balloons by committing to host fellow members while you are home or away. Then you redeem your Balloons to stay anywhere in the world, not just at the homes of the members you hosted.
Myth 4: My stuff will be stolen or broken.
We’re not naive; we know things break and people steal. But our community is built on trust; if we lose that, we don’t have anything. So we take this very seriously. That’s why we’ve got the best Trust and Safety team in our industry working to prevent fraud, theft, spam and even downright meanness.
But accidents do happen. In those instances, we cite the rule of reciprocity: Your partners are treating your home the same way that they know you are treating theirs. Many exchangers return home to find it cleaner than they left it! If, however, something does happen, you should let your exchange partners know and trust them to do the same. After all, they aren’t strangers. You have their contact information and you know where they live. Get in touch.
Pro Tip: Your home is safer when you exchange than it is unoccupied while you travel. Plus your plants (and pets… if your exchange partner agrees) will be cared for and your mail brought in.
Myth 5: I need to hide all my valuables.
It’s probably wise to keep your valuables secure all the time, not just when you exchange homes. Passports and cash… that priceless Van Gogh, the keys to your 1963 Ferarri GTO Berlinetta. Still, most of our members don’t hide much. As for your… ahem… more intimate items, well, that’s up to you.
Pro Tip: It’s perfectly acceptable to store precious items in a locked space. It can even be your garage or a spare bedroom. Just make sure your exchange partner is aware of this.
Myth 6: I need to be a homeowner to join.
Our members list all types of “homes.” From boats and RVs to converted barns and warehouses, with everything in between. Owning a home is hardly a requirement. Renters are welcome too, but we recommend checking with your landlord first.
Pro Tip: If you are a renter and your landlord is not willing to let you exchange… see Myth 7.
Myth 7: It’s not legal/allowed where I live.
If you’ve been following the news, you’ve read that home “sharing” sites are under fire for creating gray-market economies, avoiding hospitality taxes and driving up real estate and rental prices. Additionally, many Home Owners Associations have forbidden short-term rentals or sublet agreements. These are excellent reasons for joining HomeExchange! Why? Because your exchange partners are invited guests and no money is involved. It’s no different than having a family member stay in your home while you’re away.
Myth 8: Setting up exchanges is difficult.
Coordinating an exchange is usually simple. Just dream up where you want to go and send inquiries. That said, the farther in advance you plan, the easier it is to coordinate and the more likely you are to save on other travel costs.
Pro Tip: Set flexible travel dates, keep an open mind… and have fun! Always register your exchange with us, as you may miss out on some benefits if you don’t.
Myth 9: HomeExchange is not for me.
We like to say that “You’re either like us or you’re not.” HomeExchange members believe in sharing their world. For us all, HomeExchange represents so much more than an inexpensive travel alternative or a one-time local experience. Home exchanging is a lifestyle, a philosophy anchored in trusting humankind and being kind humans. It’s about opening your mind, your home, and your heart to friends you have never met before, and letting them enjoy your world for the first time.
Are you one of us? Then clearly HomeExchange is for you! So what are you waiting for? Join now and start sharing your world today.