The truth is home exchangers are incredibly trustworthy people. In fact…
International home exchangers make up what I believe to be “a remarkable and wonderful sub-culture” in an otherwise, altogether, distrusting world.
I think it is fair to say that all international home exchangers have something in common. They are all passionate about cultural travel and want to experience, not just see, the world around them.
More often than not, they are educated professionals; but they run the gamut from young professionals just starting their careers, to retirees just finishing theirs.
Home exchangers are likely to be open-minded, as I believe most travelers are. They are neither rich nor poor, but somewhere in the middle.
I have found all of my home exchange partners to be extremely trusting, trustworthy, generous and respectful.
In my six years of experience with international home exchange, I have found the majority of exchangers to be middle aged working professionals and parents with children of various ages, from toddlers to teenagers. But that is also who I’ve been looking for, since I myself am a family traveler.
With that said, it is not just families that partake in international home exchange. Anyone can benefit from home exchange, for instance::
Young singles or couples
Perhaps they were backpackers before; and now having bought or rented their first homes are interested in a somewhat more luxurious style of traveling than backpacking. They can still enjoy all the cultural benefits they appreciated before, but now they can appreciate them in comfort without paying more; in fact it will actually cost them less.
Parents with grown children continue to home exchange long after their children leave home. They started home exchanging when their children were young and they continue to exchange because they love it so much. Sometimes they are joined by their grown children and sometimes even grandchildren. Some of these experienced home exchangers have completed 50+ exchanges; 80 is the highest number of exchanges by one exchanger that I am privy to.
Newly released travel trends indicate that more and more people are choosing to travel with several generations of their family, from grandparents to grandchild. I can tell you from my experience, that International home exchange is the best way for a multi-generational family to enjoy cultural travel together. It is the most affordable, comfortable, entertaining, and enjoyable form of travel for diverse ages, physical capabilities, and emotional tolerances. My home exchanges always include three generations of my extended family.
More French people exchange than German
Interestingly, home exchangers are more likely to be natives of some countries in larger numbers than in others. I assume this has to do with prevailing societal beliefs surrounding the issue of trust; but that is just my assumption.
If you take a look at any of the home exchange websites and check the quantity of listings in various countries, you are likely to see an imbalance that is not related to the size of the country. For instance, on http://www.homeforexchange.com today, there are 3,521 listings in France, 975 listing in the Netherlands, yet only 230 listings in Germany.
It is a shame. I hate to see anyone excluding themselves from the remarkable benefits of an international home exchange. I hope that changes as international home exchange gains the mainstream exposure; which I anticipate is coming soon.
Individuals with Handicaps (and their families)
Handicapped individuals and their families can benefit enormously from an international home exchange. It is possible to find handicapped and wheelchair accessible homes, as well as cars. While there aren’t as many listings to choose from, there aren’t as many people choosing them.
My husband tells me not to rush us into old age; but I do look forward to our retirement for one reason. Retirees can really take advantage of international home exchange. They have no time constraints, they can take advantage of the best weather, the best airline rates, and longer durations. Ideally I would love to spend about six months abroad each year when we retire.
Also, as a retiree, you still have the option of traveling with your family; you can include your kids and your grandkids, or your own siblings in your home exchange. It’s a fantastic perk; a wonderful gift for your extended family and a means to enjoy one another’s company for an extended period of time (or not!) I’m really looking forward to retiring to take full advantage.
Yes, luxury travelers of all ages are now realizing (per 2014 travel trends) that authentic cultural experiences are stylish and attractive. International home exchange while affordable (free actually) is more appropriately described as luxury travel than budget travel. I can speak from personal experience when I say that, each of my home exchange homes have been incredible, the most comfortable, attractive, and well equipped accommodations I have every had the privilege to stay in while traveling.
If you are interested in learning more about international home exchange, please take a look at my newly published book, Have Home Will Travel – it is packed with 304 pages of everything your family needs to engage in this rich and wonderful style of travel! Please click on the book title to find out more about the book which is available in paperback and on Kindle.