Vacations should be an opportunity to relax and let worries melt away, but paying for travel and lodging can create its own kind of stress. These house swapping sites can save you money by connecting you with a network of people willing to trade their house for yours.
The sky is the limit when it comes to the types of agreements available. Some people are looking to permanently swap houses, some are looking for a year or longer commitment, and others just want to trade for a week.
For each of the sites reviewed here I’ll take a look at the countries included, an overview of the types of agreements available, cost for membership, and an overall impression of the quantity of listings available (on sites that provide free listings searches). The sites below are in no particular order.
- Footprint: consists of 27 different countries including Australia, US, China, Spain, Egypt, and Costa Rica
- Typical agreements: vary widely (a week to over a year)
- Cost: membership is $110 per year
- Listing summary: lots of listings with varying flexibility. For example looking in California there are 17 options including some for Berkeley, San Diego and San Francisco.
- Footprint: 276 countries listed from Argentina to Zimbabwe
- Typical agreements: swaps and rentals available here with a wide variety of time slots. Site targets education professionals though no restrictions are apparent on the average user. Search results are easy to browse and filter by criteria like rentals only, Internet availability and pet-friendliness.
- Cost: donations requested
- Listing summary: larger database of listings
- Footprint: 126 countries listed from Africa to Wales
- Typical agreements: brief description for each listing left me wanting to know more about the house prior to indicating any potential interest.
- Cost: £29 per year or £39 for two
- Listing summary: decent number of listings though not nearly as comprehensive as SabbaticalHomes.com
- Footprint: 75 countries listed from Australia to Venezuela
- Typical agreements: it’s obvious Intervac has been in the business for a while (the site claims since 1953). Its site demonstrates a professional polish along with marketing tactics like popular destinations, featured listings and a money back guarantee if you can’t find a house to swap with. Agreements vary widely and it will likely be easy to find a match for your needs.
- Cost: $65 per year in the US, $95 per year for international membership.
- Listing summary: very large database, probably larger than SabbaticalHomes.com. Listings include detailed information, usually images and a map.
- Footprint: 122 countries listed from Australia to Yugoslavia
- Typical agreements: HomeExchange.com also has a polished presence with some marketing tactics like top 10 destinations, “special price” membership and various articles from the media. Listings contain lots of text that can be difficult to digest without any images mixed in. The initial search results page just displays a series of text links. Detailed descriptions contain good information but few visuals.
- Cost: $99.95 per year
- Listing summary: large database, but troubled by an awkward search interface