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Beginner’s Guide to Swap Housing

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House swapping has been around for a long time, but many people are still unaware that it can allow you to travel the world without spending too much cash!

With almost no overhead costs it will give you a lot more freedom on your trip.

But many people do not want to swap housing because they might be afraid of what will happen.

So, to help make your first house swap as easy as possible, we’ve compiled a few tips to keep you safe and comfortable during your stay.

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Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will make a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Swap Housing Meaning

House swapping is when two or more people sign up on a home exchange website and agree to stay in each other’s homes for a certain period of time.

Typically, you will be able to list the dates and length of your stay and the owner of the home will be able to do the same.

When you find someone you want to swap homes with, all it takes is a quick email and maybe a video call to confirm the arrangement.

Swap Housing Tips

If you are ready to start finding people to swap homes with, here are a few tips that you should keep in mind:

Find a reputable swap housing website.

There are many websites for swapping homes, but not all of them are legit.

That is why before agreeing to anything, make sure to check out the policies to see if there are any ridiculous or unfair terms for either party.

Make sure that both parties have complete trust in each other.

If you’re afraid that your prospective house swapper will not stay true to their word, then you should look for a different host or guest.

When it comes down to it, trust is the key to a successful house swap!

Be prepared with extra supplies.  

As with any guests coming into your home for an extended period of time, be prepared to have extra food, toiletries, and anything else that your swappers might need while staying with you.

Be prepared for the worst.    

You never know what might happen while your swappers are staying in your home.

It is always good to have some contingency plans in the event that something goes wrong.

Providing them with emergency phone numbers to call and having a first aid kit nearby are just a few things that you may want to have on hand during their stay.

Be flexible.  

While house swapping, your guests will be spending several days or weeks in your home.

Because of this, it is important to be understanding if they are ever running behind on their end or if something unexpected comes up that stops them from meeting the initial expectations.

However, do not make them feel like they can get away with anything and everything under the sun either!

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What guests will expect during the house swap

Once you have decided to swap homes, it is important to know what the expectations are for both of you so that everyone is on the same page.

Here are a few things that people normally expect when staying at your home:

A clean house.  

It’s important to have a clean house when you are expecting guests.

This means that all areas of your home should all be tidy and neat, which includes bathrooms, kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms, etc.

Comfortable beds, with clean sheets.  

We all like to sleep in comfort, so make sure to have clean sheets on all of your beds.

Remember, you want your guests to feel welcomed and comfortable!

Reliable Wi-Fi connection.  

People expect a strong internet connection when they travel these days, so make sure your Wi-Fi is reliable before you expect people to use it.

Also, be sure to share the wifi password with your guests, to avoid any inconvenience.

An overall friendly atmosphere.  

In order for house swapping to run smoothly, people need to be able to feel at home in your place.

Even if you are not a naturally hospitable person, try and let your swappers feel welcome when they arrive by providing them thoughtful welcome gifts.

A safe environment.  

When people are traveling, they will want to feel safe and secure in your home.

Talk to your swappers about staying safe and making themselves at home during their stay.

This way, you can make sure everyone is respected and feels good in the space they are staying in.

Reliable transportation.  

Even though it will not be part of your responsibility to make sure that your guests can get around town, knowing routes and having a general idea of how long it might take to get to different places can be very helpful.

So make sure to share tips on the best transportation to nearby places and main attractions.

How do I leave my home while I am away?

Leaving your home while you are away can be a little scary, especially because you will need to trust that your potential swappers are going to respect your home and leave it the way they found it.

Here are some ideas on how you can ensure that everything will be alright while you’re away:

Have them sign a contract.

When you’ve found your ideal house swapper, make sure that they agree to the terms that you have set for them to follow while they are in your home.

Ideally, the website that you use to house swap should have a contract so that the swappers have to agree to a set of rules.

By doing this, you will know exactly what they are responsible for while they are in your home and vice versa.

Leave a spare key in a very hidden spot.

If your swapper does somehow find themselves locked out of your house then leaving a spare key somewhere in the home will at least give them access to it so that they can let themselves in.

If you do not think having any extra keys lying around is safe, another option could be leaving an extra key with a trusted neighbor or friend that lives near your house.

What to look for when choosing a house swapper

There are many different things that you want to take into consideration when selecting the ideal house swapper.

Here are some ideas on what to keep in mind:

Are they responsible?

One of the most important things to think about when you are looking for a house swapper is their level of responsibility.

Before accepting a house swap, make sure that the person you’re dealing with is going to be able to respect your home, clean up after themselves, and leave it in the same condition they found it.

Ask them questions about their experience house swapping or living in a different country.

That way you have a better understanding of their experience and how they handle situations.

Do they have children?

If your potential swappers are traveling with their kids, then your situation will be a bit more different than if you were house swapping without any children involved.

It is important to remember that if there are children in the home you will need to determine whether your home is child friendly.

Make sure that any sharp corners or items you don’t want to be knocked over are out of reach and cannot be played with.

Will they respect my privacy?

Though it may be exciting to live in someone else’s home for a little while, make sure that your potential house swapper also respects your privacy and space while they are there.

If you are open to swapping with them, then they should be okay with having the place to themselves for a little while.

It is important that everyone involved knows what is expected of them so that their stay is pleasant and they don’t feel uncomfortable or unwelcome at your house.

10 Best Sites to Start House Swapping

Now that you know how to find a trustworthy house swapper and what you need to do once they arrive at your place, here is a list of the best websites that you can use if you want to start swapping homes:


HomeExchange is the original website created for people who are interested in swapping homes with other travelers around the world.

To get started, members have to set up a profile, and then they can start exchanging their homes almost immediately.

Their annual membership fee is $150 which includes unlimited home exchanges for 12 months, property protection, member support and so much more.

HomeLink International

A membership-based site where you will have access to thousands of listings in different locations around the world.

HomeLink is a great resource for those who are looking for an extended stay in another country, like a long-term home exchange.

They also have American homes available if you want to find someone you can swap with close to the United States.

If you don’t mind paying an annual fee of $105, then it is definitely worth checking out their website and profiles today.


Is a website that was created specifically for homeowners who want to lease out their property to travelers looking to swap housing or short-term rental.

HouseTrip includes homes all over the world, even in locations that are usually very hard to find on other sites.

If you are looking for homes in Europe, then this site is definitely worth checking out.

Be sure to look at their website if you are interested in swapping your home or temporarily renting it out to someone else who will be traveling near the area where you live.

You can sign up for free and pay just 3% per booking.

Love Home Swap

Love Home Swap allows you to swap housing with someone else in their network for as long as you like.

You will have access to thousands of listings across 100 different countries if you decide to join their website today.

Their standard membership fee is $13 monthly billed annually.

swap housing

Home for Swap

Home for Swap is a great place to begin your house swapping adventures.

You will have access to over 10,000 members from 120 different countries if you choose to use their site as a resource every day.

The best part about this website is that they offer a 24-hour support service if you need it during a swap or booking.

Their annual fee is 70 €, which allows you to list your property and connect with other users who you can swap housing with.

Holiday Swap

Holiday Swap allows you to swap housing with other people in over 100 countries so that you can stay in a new and exciting destination without having to spend too much money.

This website allows you to try the site for free for 30 days and gives you the option to sign up for the premium membership for only $10 a month.

The premium membership includes email support, property boost, a 14-day property damage guarantee, and much more.

Switch Homes

Switch Homes allows you to find homes all over the world so you can travel easily without having to spend too much money.

Currently, their site has rental listings in locations like Australia, France, United Kingdom, and more.

Their site is easy to use because they have individual property profiles for each listed homes.

All you have to do is sign up for their free membership (with no yearly fees) and then search through the available homes.

With all of these home exchange websites online, you will have access to thousands of homes all over the world.

No matter what country you want to travel to or how long you plan to stay there, it is easy to use if you don’t mind paying a small monthly fee for their services.

Remember that memberships on these websites are affordable for the most part, but always read their policies before accepting any offers or making any bookings with them.

House exchange Pros and Cons

Staying in a new home while you are traveling is oftentimes more exciting than finding a hotel room.

However, we will now take a look at some of the pros and cons with home exchanges so that you can make the best decision for yourself.


•  Picking up new skills along the way, like cooking dishes that are native to the region you are visiting.

•  If you are interested in interior design, then swapping homes will allow you to see how other people decorate their homes.

•  Some homeowners who sign up for this type of housing exchange will give you free access to their amenities such as pools and hot tubs.

•  Saving money on accommodation all over the world is easier than ever when you use one of these websites to swap homes with someone.

•  You can connect with other like-minded people who are also looking for places to stay while they are traveling.


•  Not all property owners will be good at communicating, which could lead to some awkward situations if you end up swapping homes with a person who doesn’t respond in a timely manner.

•  You might not feel comfortable staying in someone else’s home when you aren’t familiar with the area they live in.

•  Property owners may make demands that you are not okay with when it comes to their house rules while you are living there for a certain period of time.

•  Some homeowners might have additional plans for you during your stay, which you will need to discuss before making any agreements with them.

At the end of the day, it is up to each individual to decide if house swapping is right for them or not.

Remember that communication is key when using these types of housing exchange websites, so always make sure you confirm all of your plans with your potential host before making any agreements with them.

swap housing

How to swap houses safely

One of the biggest concerns people have when they swap housing is how safe it will be for them to live in someone else’s home.

We’ll take a look at some ways you can stay as safe while you are swapping homes with someone you don’t know.

Read each homeowner’s reviews and ratings before making any agreements with them.

If there are other people who are currently using this person’s services, then they should have testimonials or reviews that you can read through before finalizing an agreement.

Watch each homeowner’s interactions with other people

If they are rude to their customers in public, then they will probably be just as rude when they are hosting you in their home.

Make sure you have a backup plan in case anything happens with your host

If they are not willing to work with you, then you can always find another homeowner who is interested in house swapping.

Don’t be afraid to step up and speak up for yourself

If you feel as though the homeowner is treating you unfairly, then let them know that you will not stand for it.

Get references from your potential host before agreeing to anything

This is a great way to check up on them and see what other people have experienced when they have used this person’s hosting services in the past.

Do not be afraid to report dangerous situations

If you feel that you are in danger at any time when you are staying with someone, then contact the authorities.

House swapping can be a great way to travel the world, but it is important that you stay safe throughout the entire process.

As long as you use common sense when you swap housing, then it shouldn’t be too difficult to find an exchange that fits your lifestyle and budget.

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Home Swapping: Frequently Asked Questions

If you are still hesitant about participating in house swapping, then it may be helpful for you to read the most frequently asked questions below.

1. How does it work?

•  Find a reputable website to swap housing and sign up to become a member

•  Then find a homeowner who is living in your desired destination.

•  Find out how often they would like their home swapped and if you are okay with the length of time between swaps.

•  Agree on terms for swapping homes, which can include money, cheques, home swapping, or any other type of payment.

•  Once you have swapped homes with them, enjoy your trip!

2.  Are house swapping websites free?

Some housing exchange websites do allow you to swap homes for free or give you the option to pay in order to access more features on their site.

Make sure to read the terms of service for each website that you sign up with to find out if any of them include free swaps, or want you to pay money for their services.

3.  What is the best website for swapping homes?

The best website to use will depend on a few factors, including your personal preferences and what kind of exchange you are looking for.

Make sure to read each website’s reviews, terms of service, and frequently asked questions before making any agreements with them.

4.  What are the types of housing exchanges?

There are three different types of housing exchanges – direct swaps, homestays, and house sitting.

Each one is slightly different than the others, so make sure that you know how each one works before committing to any agreements with homeowners.

5.  Do I need to have a certain type of home in order to swap housing?

No, you do not need a certain type of home in order to swap with someone. Many homeowners prefer to have a larger house, but others will exchange homes with smaller properties as well.

Now that you have made it through our beginner’s guide for house swapping, we hope that you feel confident in your ability to complete this process.

If you follow the advice listed above, then it should be smooth sailing through your first experience with house swapping.

So what are you waiting for?

Start searching through the list of housing exchange websites right now so you can make your dreams of traveling the world come true.


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