Tips for a Long-Term Exchange

Roser Goula, Social Media at, is currently on a four month back-to-back home exchange journey with her husband. We asked her to share some tips for planning a long-term home exchange getaway.

Even though organizing a multi-city exchange can seem a bit overwhelming at first, it’s really not  too much different from setting up a regular home exchange. Apart from what you already do (cleaning, house instructions, local guidebook), there are only a few more things to make sure you’re ready for a lengthy exchange before you leave for your journey.

Swap your keys

The first question people usually ask us when they hear about our four-month exchange trip is about the key exchange. How do we coordinate it? Easy! We make sure someone is at our home to welcome our exchange partners and hand over the keys. They feel cared for and get to know their “in case of emergency” contact, and we make sure our keys aren’t lost. Another option is to send keys by mail (although some regions have more reliable postal service than others) or, even better, meet your partners during trip if you happen to have a stopover in the same city. That’s what we did for our exchanges in New York and Melbourne!

Dinner with our NYC exchange partners

Dinner with our NYC exchange partners

Meet your exchange partners

At home in Barcelona, we love to wait for our partners, welcome them, and exchange keys before leaving. Even though that was not possible on this trip, we were still able to meet some of our exchange partners along the way. If you can coordinate it, meeting your new friends is a great way to share local advice and learn some last minute tips about the house.

Leave a day in between each exchange

Even though the exchange partners we’ve met so far have been very respectful and clean, we want to make sure our apartment is spotless when the next ones arrive. That’s why we have a cleaning service scheduled to come in after every partner leaves our home. To make sure there was enough time to clean, we arranged our back-to-back exchanges with at least one day in between.

Enlist someone you can rely on

While we always leave clear instructions for our home, sometimes the unpredictable happens (and the laundry needs to be done!) Since we can’t be there to check in during our travels, my mother offered to come to our apartment to make sure everything is in place, towels and sheets are washed, and welcome baskets are prepared. Moms are the best, aren’t they?

The view from our Upper East Side apartment

The view from our Upper East Side apartment

Allow some extra days

Budget some time at when you reach each new destination to settle in, recover from jet lag, and get to know your new neighborhood. After the first week, you’ll feel much more confident about taking small trips to discover nearby cities.

Start planning in advance. Way in advance

The further you travel and the longer you plan on staying, the more time you will need to prepare your exchange. Flights from Australia or New Zealand can be pricey, so members living there tend to start planning at least six months in advance. The first step is to determine your destination. If you’re looking for simultaneous swaps and are traveling while school is in session, reach out to freelancers and retirees; their schedules are generally much more flexible. Don’t forget to update your favorite destinations and preferred travel dates on your profile; that way, your perfect long-term exchange partner can find you!

Do you have any tips for planning a long-term exchange? Tell us in the comments!

19 Comments on “Tips for a Long-Term Exchange

  1. I would like some information In home exchange program I own a conndo in cape Canaveral Florida on the beach and like to exchange with sone one in Spain.

  2. Last year we did a 6 month trip to Australia – 3 home exchanges – and it was amazing. We caught up with families that we exchanged with previously – who are now great friends – and hat an absolutely amazing time. We can only recommend long term exchanges – it really makes a difference!

  3. Aloha, we have a home on Maui and would love to spend the school year 2016/17 (August 2016-August 2017) in Munich. How do I go about it if I do not get a simultanious exchange? How can it be that I might be 6 months in a home in Munich and I have a 1, 2 and 3 month exchange partners on Maui. How are the “costs” balanced.
    Can anyone explain how that can work?

    Thank you very much


  4. My husband and I live in Ottawa, Canada. He will be on sabbatical leave next fall (2015) and we will need to find a place to live in Barcelona from Sept 1 to Nov 30, 2015.

    Is this something that is possible through your website?
    What if nobody wants to come to Ottawa for that period of time?

    Your comments/advice would be appreciated.

    • Hi Danielle,

      I can see how a home exchange would work perfectly for your situation! With home exchanging, there are a few different kind of exchanges that can happen: one is a simultaneous exchange, where both families exchange homes during the same time; and, the second kind of exchange is a hosted swap where one family hosts the other… and then, of course, we have many members who list their vacation homes, which are usually always available. I suggest that you sign up for our 14 day free trial, peruse our listings in Barcelona, and get your feet wet with our community to see how it works.

      Of course, if you have any questions, just let us know. We are here to help!

      Happy home exchanging!

  5. I am looking for minimum month-long exchanges near Berkeley, CA, and Cambridge, UK in order to be near grandchildren. Was hoping to find someone who might want to do Library of Congress or other research, or whatever combination. Months available are flexible as we are retired. New to Home Exchange, we haven’t had time yet to explore how to match up with folks.

    • Hi Elsa,

      Welcome to our community! We hope that you are enjoying your experience and meeting a lot of great people to home exchange with. Hi To help you, please feel free to post your listing ID on the comments below, so that other members can find your home and contact you on the site for an exchange.

      Thank you and happy home exchanging!

    • Hi elsa

      We live in Cambridge UK. I’m not sure we can do a month , but where are you from?

    • For Elsa Skaggs from Hunt Janin

      I’ve asked Anona Fowler for your email address, but maybe y0u can give to me directly.



  6. My family and I are looking for a long term exchange also. We would like to travel to France for May June July 2016 ! If anyone is interested in coming to ski and explore New Zealand at this time then it would be great to here from you.

    • Hi Nocola,

      Please feel free to post your listing ID in the comment below, so that other members can find your home and contact you on the site for an exchange.

      Thank you and happy home exchanging!

  7. I am brasilian and I’m looking sommebody in Spain or in USA to Exchange home with me during october 15 and november 30, 2015. My appartment is in front of the Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro. If sommebody wants, please write me.

    Tank You very much


  8. Hi, we are a world schooling family from Austria (not Australia 😉 and we are interested in longterm exchanges (3 months and longer) almost anywhere and at anytime (not tied to school holidays). Have a look at our listing (ID 502624)

    Looking forward to lots of interesting people.
    Uli and the rest of the traveling family

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