They’re All Different - and For the Better!

You might think, at first glance, that people who exchange homes are all alike, just because they have the same travel style. However, in reality they’re all very different, even those at the heart of the HomeExchange community.

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When you think of people who swap homes in general, you might be tempted to think that you are dealing with a uniform group, whose members are all alike and who are all motivated by the same things.

However, in reality, it’s a very diverse bunch! While it is true that all have certain common values, essential to the practice of this mode of travel (such as a taste for sharing and travel), each member also has his or her own motivations and practices. And that’s just fine.

There are 1001 Ways to Exchange Homes

At HomeExchange, we regularly remind community members that there are 1001 ways to exchange homes, just as there are 1001 kinds of home exchange enthusiasts.

Let's start with the reasons that led members to join HomeExchange. Some have opted for HomeExchange primarily for economic reasons (travel at will for 220 USD a year, let's face it, it's a good deal), or for practical reasons (for example, because children prefer to have their own room, in a real house, rather than sharing a room in a hotel). Still others prefer this mode of travel for the people they meet along the way, or for the possibility it offers to live like a local. But often it's a bit of all of these at the same time.

Long Live our Differences!

Each member starts off with different "seed capital". There are those who exchange their beautiful, large villa with a pool, and others who exchange their small studio, those who go on exchanges with their family, and those who travel solo. You’ll find those who live in the city, and those who live in the countryside. In short, everyone is different, with common values, of course, but different nonetheless.

And that’s not all. People also seek different types of exchanges: some will tend to favor far away destinations and travel for several weeks, while others, whether for professional or personal reasons, prefer short weekend getaways, in a neighboring region, sometimes for just a night or two. Everyone’s different, we tell you. And that's fine.

Regarding the type of exchange, some HomeExchangers swear by reciprocal exchanges, which they consider to be the only real exchange possible and feel the most comfortable with, while others prefer exchanges with GuestPoints. Still others will not differentiate between the two types of exchanges, which they happily practice equally. Everyone’s different...

When it comes to finding an exchange, we need to remember that we are not all the same. Some will never need to send a request and will be content to accept or deny the ones they receive, because they have a beautiful house located in a much sought after area, but there are also those who reside in lesser known or less popular regions or cities, who are forced to send several requests, sometimes simultaneously, to find an exchange. And then there are those who receive several proposals a day, and who have become accustomed to answering with an automatic response. Let’s not get upset. Think about it: we are all different. Let's be empathetic no matter what.

Preparing For the Exchange, Each in Their Own Way

Then comes the preparation phase. Some will have called each other on Skype or on Zoom before the exchange to get to know each other and agree on the details of the exchange, while others will have contented themselves with two emails on the site's messaging system. Everyone is different...

Finally it’s the actual exchange. Some will leave super complete home use directions, a wonderful welcome gift, or even small homemade snacks in the refrigerator for their guests, while others will simply have left a little welcome note, with (or without) a bottle of wine. Some will empty an entire wardrobe to make room for their guests, while others will have cleared a shelf or a few hangers in the closet.

There is No Such Thing as a "Good" or "Bad" Exchange: Just Different Exchangers

Are some better exchangers than others? No. HomeExchange is above all an exchange between people. When you think “people”, you think "diversity", since we are all different. Some travel light, others take their home in their suitcase. Some are very thorough when it comes to their household, while others have a less rigorous criteria. All these details are subjective, and should be put into perspective. This is why communication is the key to a successful exchange. First, very quickly in the first discussions, as in life, you can feel if there’s “chemistry” or not. By communicating various details before the exchange, you can avoid unpleasant surprises and make sure that you are both in agreement.

We said it: there are 1001 ways to exchange your home, and 1001 types of exchangers. It’s not a competition to see who will be the best exchanger. All that matters is that both parties are happy, that each finds its “match”. Home exchanging is like finding love: it needs to happen between two people, despite their differences, to work. So let's respect, and even embrace our differences and… let's share!

Look for your next exchange!