The typical home swapper: Young. Tech-savvy. Hardcore budget traveler. Right?
Who are you, then?
According to the University of Bergamo’s study, My House Is Yours: A Worldwide Study on Home Exchangers’ Profiles and Motivations, you’re a diverse group of sophisticated adventure seekers, spanning all age groups, squeezing all you can from your travel experiences. Over 7,000 HomeExchange.com Members participated in the worldwide study, the first of its kind. Here are some of the highlights:
Yes, for any budget traveler, staying for free is hitting the jackpot. But about 67% of you said that saving money is not the most important reason for home swapping. Twenty-three percent cited traveling more often and just over 18% are looking for an authentic cultural experience. Other reasons include adventure, meeting new people and staying off the beaten path.
You’re also not going to find many HomeExchange.com Members cruising some shopping mall. Not when 84.3% of you prefer parks, museums and the great outdoors to shopping. And then there’s the whopping 98% of you expressing an interest in cultural heritage. Given your access to full kitchens, it’s not surprising that 68.9% of you like to prepare your own meals. What better way to take advantage of all those great farmers markets?
Over two thirds of you believe environmentally friendly tourism is important. This environmental sensitivity isn’t just practiced on the road. Home exchangers show a concern for their environment at home too, purchasing organic food (73.5%), fair trade food (65.3%), products that are environmentally friendly (62.6%) and which support social causes (52.7%).
HomeExchange.com has always been a community. One of the most important elements in any community is trust, and 75.3% of home exchangers agree that “most people are trustworthy.” When not traveling, HomeExchange.com Members get involved in their own communities as well. Fifty-nine percent practice civic involvement at home, which takes many forms, including community service (32.8%) and wildlife preservation (22.7%).
Not only is 45-54 the largest age group (28.3%), but with just 5.9% of the total, those below the age of 34 don’t come anywhere near the 65+ crowd (18.7%). Home exchange also attracts lots of families, with nearly 50% of respondents with children and less than 10% living alone.
The study shows that home exchange is more than a passing fad. Almost three out of four respondents have been Members for over a year, and four out of five have participated in two or more exchanges. In fact, more than one in ten have exchanged over 11 times. Not a surprise when you consider that a whopping 76.8% report they are “Very Satisfied” (with another 16.4% “Satisfied”).
The survey concludes that collaborative consumption (exchanging in place of financial transactions) is spreading quickly, making you the traveler of the future. Or, as study co-author Professor Francesca Forno puts it, “…the tourist of the new millennium.”
Forno goes on to say, “I believe that…experiences such as home exchange are reinventing not only what we consume but how we consume it. People are turning more and more to models of consumption that emphasize usefulness over ownership, community over selfishness, and sustainability over wastefulness.”
Who ever thought being on the cutting edge could be so fun?
Take a look at the Bergamo Study yourself and see what else your future Exchange Partners have to say!