House Swapping As A Safer, Cheaper Travel Alternative
A great alternative to staying at a hotel or resort when on vacation is house swapping. Exchanging your home for someone elses is an exciting way to experience a new area like a local
without having to pay for boarding. While finding someone with whom to swap houses is usually a unique and safe way to save money on vacation, you should take precautions to help make the swap as secure as possible.
Here are four things everyone should do before house swapping:
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1. Use A Third-Party Agency
The process of house swapping, which has been around since the 1950s, has been made easier thanks to the internet and its ability to bring together interested swappers from all around the world. These websites, known as exchange agencies, add a much needed layer of security to the swapping process.
To help ensure that exchangers are serious and responsible about the swap, many exchange agencies charge sign up fees in order to become a member. However, both pay and free sites advise users to first connect and develop a rapport with each other before a swap
to help ensure a comfortable, positive experience.
You should never let a random stranger into your home, let alone let them stay for an extended period of time without you there. So, after finding someone interested in exchanging homes, be proactive about communicating.
Ask questions like:
These types of questions build trust and help to develop a relationship
- How many people will be coming with you?
- Will you be bringing any kids or pets?
- Will you be needing a car or other vehicle?
- What activities are you interested in doing?
- What destinations do you plan to visit while here?
- Do you have any suggestions for experiencing your city to the fullest?
with your swap partner, while also allowing you to you prepare your house to make their visit stress-free and comfortable.
Communicating as much as possible is also a good way for both parties to lay out their expectations on both ends of the exchange. Remember, you are staying at their house, just as they are staying at yours, so if you go into the swap as acquaintances, there wont be anything to worry about on your vacation.
3. Check Your Insurance
Although a house swap is not considered a commercial transaction, and therefore isn't in violation of a typical home insurance policy, its a still good idea to check with your provider to see whats covered
and whats not.
Be sure you inform your insurer about the swap, and take all the precautions you need to keep yourself covered.
Most companies would be happy to know that your home wont be sitting empty while youre on vacation, but if there is something your insurance wont cover, talk to your exchange agent to see what they suggest.
If youve also agreed to swap automobiles, check that your auto insurance covers guest drivers.
If not, talk with your insurer to arrange the coverage.
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4. Prepare Your Home
After spending all that time hashing out details and getting to know your guests, you should be confident in knowing that your home is safe in their hands. Nevertheless, you should still take some common sense precautions
to secure your home. Here are some steps you can take for your protection, as well as theirs:
- Keep your jewelry, valuables, or any irreplaceable items in a home safe, safe deposit box, with a relative, or wherever you feel most comfortable.
- Safety proof any potential hazards around the house to avoid any legal troubles.
- Clean your home from top to bottom before your guests arrive, and dont be afraid to make it clear that you expect to find it just as tidy upon your return.
- Compile a guide to your home, complete with instructions for your security system, and any other relevant security information. Consider giving them the number of a local relative or friend in case something goes wrong (get the OK from that relative or friend first, of course).
Now that you have a better understanding of how to make house swapping as safe as possible, you can now enjoy experiencing the world with this extraordinary, money saving travel alternative.