Sunday, April 29, 2012

Home exchanges

In the WSJ, a retired California couple discuss the (approaching three dozen) home exchanges they have done, bartering a stay at their San Diego condo for visits of a few weeks to a month all over the world, via two networks, and

"Exchanging homes involves some negotiating. Your leverage depends on the desirability of the home you have to exchange. In the U.S., New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., are favorites of international exchangers. After that, there is a second tier of cities, which includes San Diego.

"(One tricky area in negotiations: whether to exchange cars. Our preference is to rely on local transportation. Some cities, like Paris and London, have great public transportation. Unfortunately, San Diego doesn't, and our exchange partners feel strongly that we need to exchange cars. We've done so about half the time.)
"On each Internet site, we have a page with photos of our home, information about San Diego and ourselves, and details about when, where and with whom we want to exchange. Once we make contact with a potential partner, we discuss details of dates, number of people, transportation, etc. On average, an exchange takes about 20 emails and an occasional phone call to work out all the arrangements.
"We are often asked if we have any problems with our exchanges. We do. The biggest problem is cancellations. Since our first choice is to exchange with other older adults, unexpected medical problems can be an issue. With younger exchangers, you can encounter job or financial problems. In a few cases, my guess is that people cancel because they get a better offer—but they never admit that.

"We have had seven cancellations in connection with our 32 exchanges. Fortunately, all except one were early enough that we hadn't made plane reservations and could arrange alternative exchanges."


Brian Luckhurst at Home Exchange 50plus said...

Home Exchange has become more and more popular as it is such a great way to vacation. If you have never traveled this way it is to be encouraged, why pay for a hotel or rent a holiday home when you can stay for free.

Enjoy the experience.

Brian L

Anonymous said...

Hello, we are from paris and we love this way of travelling. If you're interested in coming to Paris, feel free to contact us here