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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