Home Exchange: a concept that promotes sustainable and responsible travel
HomeExchange members tend to avoid mass-tourism and often chose to travel off-the-beaten-path. Experienced home exchangers know that by swapping homes they can considerably reduce their holiday accommodation budget if not eliminate it all together. They also know, that swapping homes is the surest way to find authentic, local, experiences. But did you know that home swapping is good for communities, economies, and the environment?
“We loved the meeting with Christine and Nicolas who like to share their ecological way of life. We had a very nice stay in the yurt, very quiet, in a beautiful garden! “- Georgia and Stéphane, members of HomeExchange
What is sustainable tourism?
According to the World Tourism Organization, “sustainable tourism also called responsible tourism or ecotourism, is directly inspired by sustainable development and corresponds to a new form of tourism that takes into account the economic, social and environmental impact of traveling, while respecting the needs of local communities“.
The very concept of home exchange fits perfectly into this philosophy of sustainable and responsible tourism since we highlight the local aspect of travel and since it promotes the use of existing resources (i.e. homes) there is no negative impact on the environment.
One study found that on average, home sharing resulted in significant reduction in energy and water use, greenhouse gas emissions, and waste generation”
Compared to hotels, for example, home sharing consumes 63% less energy than hotels in North America and 78% less energy than hotels in Europe. Water usage is also significantly reduced (12% in North America, 48% in Europe).
Moreover, the home exchange philosophy of sharing and living like a local encourages members to travel in an** eco-friendly way. **Because members stay in local communities, they are more likely to walk, bike, or take public transportation, than if they were staying at a traditional hotel (often out-of-the-way). Not to mention, living like a local, promotes the local economy and develops local businesses! Win-win-win!
In addition to all the environmental and sustainable benefits of home swapping, many GuesttoGuest members are committed to zero waste, energy-independent houses, recycling, permaculture, reduction and reducing energy consumption. Here are a few examples of members who share their eco-conscious lifestyle during their home exchange.
Sabrina and Mickaël’s Eco-Home
"Welcome to our ‘green’ home where we avoid using plastic as much as possible and where we reduce as much waste as we can. Our ideal situation: all garbage cans remain empty! Our house is practical, eco-friendly with its "ice box fridge" and dry toilets."
– Sabrina and Mickaël, 20 home exchanges
“We live in an eco-neighborhood (geothermal), we commute by bike or public transport or electric car. We have a garden and try to produce very little waste; we haven’t reached zero waste yet, but are very attentive to our consumption, ensuring we buy only biodegradable and organic products. Making our own cosmetics and household cleaning products are also great ways to keep things eco-friendly. It’s not hard, you just need to be committed.”
– Soizic and Xavier, 4 home exchanges
“We try to be kind to our beautiful planet. We use electric cars, take bicycle trips, focus on zero waste consumption and recycling, and make our own toiletries and house cleaning products. I make my own bread and I grow my vegetables in the garden. I have lovely fruit trees and I make lots of preserves. We also have a composter and 4 chickens that give us eggs! We use a pellet stove, and soon we’ll have solar panels installed. Though we are not 100% autonomous yet…but we are no longer in overconsumption mode thanks to all our homemade products. We love our lifestyle.”*
– Corinne, 22 home exchanges.
Does sustainable travel interest you? Would you like to go on an ecotourism family holiday? All it takes is finding your next house swap to appreciate a better way to travel!