Have you heard of HomeExchange before? Maybe you have seen the film The Holiday with Kate Winslet and Jude Law where Kate Winslet’s character swaps homes for the holidays with Cameron Diaz’s character? With the rise of the internet in the 90’s HomeExchange became the first online platform, after starting life as a brochure, where people could organise to swap their homes with people online to visit new places around the world without having to book an expensive holiday.
Sounds Great Right!
Well, it gets even better. They have recently merged with GuesttoGuest and their website is looking better than ever. Very modern, easy to navigate and very automated. I really like it. All existing users can continue to use their existing credentials to log in and search for properties as normal whilst benefiting from the new user experience and added benefits from the merger of the sites along with some new and updated features too.
If this concept is new to you let’s run through some of the great features and benefits of booking via HomeExchange and what you can expect as a new member. First of all, it is free to sign up but it has two different membership types.
You can choose the Essential Membership which is payable at £10 per night for any booking and stay you take via the platform. This membership level will give 24/7 support in case of an emergency, free profile verification and protection before during and after the exchange.
The Optimal Membership is £110 per year and covers you for all of the above as well as Bonus Guest points for the first year (500 GP), a loyalty programme which enables you to earn discounts when you renew and the option of a free second year membership if you are unable to book during your first year (please check t&c for this). If you choose this membership level, there are no further costs when booking and you receive unlimited access and booking for 12 months with no additional costs.
How It Works
HomeExchange has over 400,00 homes in over 187 countries allowing you to make your visit more authentic and enabling you to be able to live like a local for the duration of your stay regardless of the country you are visiting for a better holiday experience. This is what sets it apart from standard travel agents.
By choosing your membership level, essential or optimal, you can book to stay as a guest or give your home out to guests. This uses a new Guest Points system and you can earn guest points from hosting and spend them when booking. When you first sign up you get 1,150 guest points to be able to start booking a stay straight away for free without having to host using your own home. This is a great feature for first-time users I think and will definitely encourage more people to give it a try.
Booking My Next Holiday Via HomeExchange
Right now, I have not done an exchange yet. I am currently exploring homes available for a summer break! So as you can see their service is wider than their actual name says because you don’t necessarily need to do a simultaneous exchange with someone else’s home.
I feel more comfortable right now to try that and I have been searching for homes to stay this year during the summer. I know it can be daunting if you have never done a home exchange before so I think being able to book a stay without using your home as an exchange is a great way to try out the service.
The Platform has included a service that covers you which I will automatically get now that I am in their new system. The price is £110 inclusive per year but I will not need to pay the balance until my renewal date when I will be paying the increased amount. The new verification system is a great feature. You have to send a proof of address and ID so then everyone knows that you are legitimate. This is so important because now I will feel safer when I do a future exchange.
With the addition of the verification system and the cover, I now feel much more confident in using my home to host and also travelling to stay in someone else’s home too. I am actually doing some renovations at my flat in London which makes me wonder if I should try the proper exchange too. It is looking better and I could feel more comfortable having guests now. My flat is small but well located, very close to Central London so it is very popular and with high demand.
I have already had some messages to do an exchange from different countries around the world. This could be a lovely way for us to start travelling more and reducing our costs as we won’t need to worry about accommodation, just transport. And if you book in advance you can get very good deals for flights, trains etc. Travelling by car is also an option depending on location.
Currently, I am searching for a house in the south of France this summer. I will be using my Guest Points to book this. So travelling by car could be a good option here to keep costs down. We are super excited to try their new system and who knows, we might end up doing a simultaneous exchange after that.
On top of this, we have received a request to travel to Brisbane around Christmas 2019. Although this seems magical and dreamy to us, we will need to check flights. I know around that time of the year would be very expensive. But, the world is our oyster with so many places to visit and with HomeExchange there are so many options for us to choose from.
So, if you need me, I will be searching for a new holiday on HomeExchange, I think perhaps this will be my new hobby/addiction! 🙂
Are you planning your next holiday? Which country would you like to visit? Could HomeExchange be a new option for you?
*Disclosure: Sponsored Post. I have been given a membership for HomeExchange together with Guest Points to do an exchange this year and for the purpose of doing a future review of my experience.
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Sarah | Digital Motherhood says
This sounds great, I didn’t realise you’d be able to do it without having people stay in your house. Will have to look into this! #KCACOLS
I didn’t know that either! Sounds great right! X
we used something similar called HomeAway several years ago and thought it was fantastic. I will admit that I don’t think I would care for strangers staying in my place, though I’m not sure anyone would want to anyway! #KCACOLS
I have heard of it too. I think the difference with this one is that you don’t have to necessarily exchange your place which makes the whole experience different I guess. 🙂
Veronica Lee says
Sounds fantastic! I wasn’t aware that it’s doable without having people stay in your house. Good to know! Thanks!
Yes! I was happy to learn that too! 🙂 x
Karen, the next best thing to mummy says
I watched a program on the television about this a few years ago, great idea#kvacols@_karendennis
Yes it is a great concept! I am looking forward to trying it myself 🙂 x
Fiona Cambouropoulos says
A fun way to travel if you are in a position to take advantage of home exchange. #KCACOLS
Yes, fun and also helps you to save money as you are reducing the cost of your trip when you don’t pay accommodation! 🙂 xx
This sounds like so much fun! It makes me think of the movie The Holiday! #KCACOLS
Yes it does! 🙂 x
Sheila Yale says
I’ve often wondered about this type of vacation. It looks really fun! Thanks for the information. It’s definitely something I will look into. #KCACOLS
Yes it is definitely interesting! Hope you look into it further too 🙂 xx
Lisa Pomerantz says
This sounds like an easier way to travel, expense-wise. I love the whole ‘reuse’ aspect too. A swap sounds fun and if all things are secure and safe, why not? It could feel weird to have strangers stay here, I’d have to give that some thought (plus, who would want to must factor in too). But if this encourages healthy and affordable travel for all walks of life, I am all for it! xoxo #KCACOLS
Exactly that! It is not easy to be open to let people in your home but I think once you try it, then there is no way back!! 🙂 x
I never knew about this but sounds really interesting X #kcacols
Yes, it is worth to have a look at it I think 🙂 x
Hayley | Devon Mama says
I love the sound of this, travelling with young kids means a home suits us far more than a hotel room! Looking for a holiday for this summer so will definitely be checking them out!
Yes check them out! They have lots of amazing homes to choose from 🙂 xx
Madeline (This Glorious Life) says
I’ve seen ‘the holiday’ a few times but had never really given much thought to the whole home exchange thing being a real possibility! I think it would work quite well for us as a family, we all feel more comfortable in things like lodges or villas rather than hotel rooms. x #KCACOLS
Jenna - Northernbird84 says
I’m intrigued by this, it sounds a great service. And I love that you don’t have to have someone stay in your home but I can’t even get my hubby to entertain Air BnB so I don’t think I’d have a chance with this! Definitely going to look though. Thank you so much for sharing #KCACOLS
Lydia C. Lee says
That is exciting – if you go to Brisbane, and swing by Sydney and let me know. I can show you around! #KCACOLS
Peachy and Clementine says
It’s really a great idea but I’m not sure about strangers staying at my house. It’s neat that you can do it without having to put your house out there. I didn’t know that could be an option. Thanks for letting me cohost #KCACOLS. Always a pleasure.
You are welcome lovely xx
This is a lovely idea! I’ve never once taken a vacation where we used someone else’s home. I bet it is a lot cheaper! Thank you for sharing this with your readers #KCACOLS
Yes, it is definitely cheaper as you don’t need to Worry about accommodation costs at all! Xx
Ann from Rainbows are too beautiful says
Ohh, we’ve used Airbnb and Homeaway before so this could be interesting! #kcacols
Yes, check them out 🙂 x
This sounds good, as long as I don’t have any people staying in my house. Though, if they fed the cats, that wouldn’t be so bad…#kcacols
Lol you can put that in your house rules as well as watering plants etc 🙂
Jo (A Rose Tinted World) says
What an interesting concept! Glad there is an option to not exchange out your own home. #KCACOLS
Yes I like that too. At least to start with the experience like that first x
This could very well be an option for us. My other half is very keen on exchange holidays whereas I have not tried it yet. I like the fact that you have to verify yourself, it seems that it takes safety and security seriously which is good.
Yes they do take that in place which is great! Check them out for sure! I will be reporting back after my holidays during the summer so I hope my feedback will be helpful x
Jen Cannon says
This sounds heavenly! I am not sure how comfortable I would feel staying in someone’s actual house but I could probably get over it if it meant going to the South of France ! LOL
Exactly! And some houses are second homes which is eveb better! 🙂 x
Mummy and the Mexicans (Ruth) says
I like this idea, its a great way to save money on holiday and at the same time maybe getting to see the untouristy side to the place you are visiting. #kcacols
Exactly! It is a complete different experience! I love the idea of feeling like a native in the country I am visiting rather than a tourist! 🙂 xx
Clare M (Flip flops or Wellies) says
This looks interesting knowing that you don’t have to let out your own home. It’s bad enough when visitors come round and you have to hide everything, I’d need a serious de-clutter to let anyone stay #KCACOLS
I know that part is hard to do so starting tge experience without doing an exchange of your home sounds perfect to me! 🙂 x
Tracey Bowden says
I love that you can use this without having to swap your own home too. It is a great idea #kcacols
I love the concept too! 🙂 x
Ali Duke says
I didn’t know that you could do this, definitely something I will bear in mind for our next holiday.
Yew check them out for sure! 🙂 xx
Crummy Mummy says
We’re actually thinking of looking into this as we live by the sea and people always say it’s something they’d do – I will look up this company! #KCACOLS
Definitely! You will have tons of enquiries! 🙂 x