The last six months have been filled with unexpected changes— to how we live, shop, work, and travel. Home exchangers can celebrate this way of travel that is flexible and adaptable to almost any situation!
Though many vacation plans were cancelled or rescheduled, and new destinations had to be found, many home exchangers still found a way to make it a positive summer. HomeExchange members adapted by updating their home descriptions, sanitizing their homes, and exploring places to travel where social distancing could be possible.
Learn more about how members adapted their exchanges!
They planned long-term exchanges
We received many comments asking how to arrange a long-term exchange. Staying somewhere long-term is certainly trending, thanks to remote work and school policies and the need to quarantine when visiting a new place. Here are some tips to arrange a long-term home exchange.
They went quiet on social media
When polled, nearly half our members said they kept their travels quiet on their personal social media channels due to increased sensitivity around traveling.
Angela said, "I share on Instagram but not Facebook and since so many decided to stay at home this summer (and the weather has been bad). I don't put that many pictures out there rubbing people in their face."
They fell in love with their own homes again
Some members chose to stay home to remain safe during the pandemic. This was a great time to do some work on the house and garden and rediscover why you love your home and your neighborhood!
"The only vacation I’ll be taking in 2020 is to my backyard," said HomeExchange member Lauren. "So happy we decided to move to San Diego after just one HomeExchange to this great city!"
Ambrosia and her family also spent time enjoying their beach house this summer rather than traveling somewhere new. "Looking forward to traveling, but for now at home," she said. "If you have to confine us, let it be on the beach, with a good book, movies and a cold beer."
They gave last-minute exchanges a try
Since conditions were so volatile, it was hard to plan a vacation far in advance, like some people are used to doing. So this summer, members enjoyed last-minute weekend exchanges.
A quarter of exchanges this summer were finalized less than a week before the start of the exchange!
When home exchanger Manu's plans were cancelled, they found a last-minuted solution. "After the cancellation of the mouths of the Rhône in April then England in July, we finally enjoy our plan B in Haute Savoie," Manu said. "A magnificent setting, a comfortable house and above all a very warm welcome from our new roommate."
They changed their travel plans and went somewhere different
When first attempts at traveling didn't work out, our members were flexible. If air travel was no longer safe, they opted for a road trip with the family. If staying in a city wasn't an option, they found a secluded cabin. They adapted their plans, deciding to travel somewhere else and having just as much fun.
"We had initially planned a road trip in California and Utah with 3 exchanges for July," said Isabelle, a member from Paris, France. "We had to change our plans. We still wanted to exchange homes, respecting traveling limitations. We exchanged with a family in French Brittany in July, close to the sea, for guest points."
When Gabrielle's exchanges to France and Spain were cancelled, her family thought they would have to stay home this year. But on Facebook, Gabrielle saw a German family looking for an exchange within driving distance, as their plans had also fallen through. It was an ideal match!
"I sent a quick message and the exchange was arranged - perfect!" Gabrielle said. "I feel swapping homes is a great way to get a change of scenery whilst being able to adhere to all the corona guidelines... The great thing about swapping with locals is... they can provide us with information about the corona guidelines that apply in their area and also suggest the best spots to avoid crowds but get to see and experience the local area."
Linda had planned nine weeks of exchanges in Europe for this summer, but it became clear it wouldn't be possible. "Our lovely exchangers, most of whom have already visited us, have said we are welcome whenever the situation changes, maybe in a few years time," Linda said. "Instead of going overseas, we did a big camping holiday in our own state (where we have eliminated covid), 5000km driving, some incredible sights, and we spent our "international airfare" refund on a bucket-list trip to see the Horizontal Falls near Broome. Money well spent!"
They were supported by the HomeExchange team
HomeExchange adapted its policies to accommodate these unusual circumstances. All GuestPoints were refunded when exchanges were cancelled due to COVID-19. Throughout the global pandemic, the HomeExchange team has been available for all members who found their exchange plans compromised. Our coronavirus policies can be found here.
Emma benefited from HomeExchange's flexible cancellation policy: "We had an exchange booked in June 2020 and due to Covid-19 our exchange was cancelled , however home exchange let us keep our guest points even though the exchange had to be cancelled!"
They made the best of their situation
Most of all, no matter what happened to HomeExchange travelers this year, they made the best out of a tough situation.
"We had to cancel our last exchange to New Zealand, but we can't complain: the virus caught us in Polynesia and here we are!" Ari said.
Carmen had to cancel her exchanges to Mallorca and Greece this summer. While it was disappointing, she chose to visit Galicia instead while hosting people in their own home. "It has been a pleasure to make our homes available to you and receive your gratitude for what has meant to regain some normality and to know our land, she said.
HomeExchanger Beatriz summed up our members' feelings on this tumultuous time: "We have to try to continue living and enjoying what we have."