International Home Exchange 101- Anyone Up for A Cultural Adventure?

My family in a quiet park in our home exchange village in Provence, last summer 2013

My family in a quiet park in our home exchange village in Provence, last summer 2013

Welcome to my free DAILY blog series: 

The Why To’s and How To’s of International Home Exchange (A week long series)

1st class: International Home Exchange 101 – An Introduction

 It is because of my experience with international home exchange that I am so comfortable giving it my heartfelt endorsement. In fact, I’ve been endorsing it almost incessantly for the last five years, to anyone who shows interest! Just recently, my daughter forbade me to talk to her dental technician about our international home exchanges any more, at least not while she was still seated in the dental chair. It’s true, the technician was more interested in my stories than in removing the sharp edges of the dental x-rays from her mouth. I promised my daughter I wouldn’t say another word, but on my way out of the office I did hand the technician a business card for the home exchange website I use, complete with a free ten day trial.

All jokes aside I can truthfully say that I talk to a lot of people about my families incredible international home exchange experiences, and one thing is consistent, the people to whom I have extolled the virtues of my international home exchange experiences have been fascinated and more than a little intrigued. Who could not be intrigued by something so phenomenal?

Despite the fact that international home exchange is extraordinary, it remains virtually untapped. There are millions of families that could be but are not benefiting from this fantastic opportunity.

About International Home Exchange

I’m going to back up a bit, just in case you really don’t know what international home exchange is. In an international home exchange, two parties who live in different countries actually trade their homes for a designated period of time. There is no money exchanged; it is free of charge. The only difference between an international and a domestic home exchange is that the domestic exchange is between two parties who live in the same country; and a domestic exchange could be for a shorter duration, sometimes as little at a long weekend. The reason I am writing about international home exchange specifically is because the purpose of my book is to provide families everything they need to afford cultural travel outside the familiar customs and routines of their native country.

Home exchanges can be simultaneous where both parties trade homes at the same time or if both parties have second homes, they are able to offer one another non-simultaneous exchanges, where the parties use one another’s homes at different times.

International home exchange has been around since the early 1950s, when the first few home exchange companies started up, and it has proven to be remarkably reliable for over six plus decades. The past couple of decades have seen many positive advances. As you can imagine, the advent of the internet has made the process of international home exchange infinitely easier, and it keeps getting better and better. Today there are a couple of handfuls of websites that are dedicated to international home exchange.

International home exchange is on the verge of getting the mainstream attention is deserves. Since the moment I first tried it, I have found it to be an amazing and underutilized phenomenon. I therefore want to help it gain the momentum it deserves. It’s always been my desire to share the benefits of international home exchange with other families so they too can afford to experience the tremendous joy of cultural travel.

Not only is international home exchange building momentum, but a whole new industry, in which international home exchange deserves center stage, is starting to emerge.

Around the world, the negative impact of troubled economies have had the positive effect of triggering creative people to find ways to make money or save money; and since travel is both a huge industry and hobby, it has not been exempt from all of the money making/money saving strategizing.

There is a new and exciting market for “Peer to Peer Travel Services” or “Peer to Peer Travel Sharing.” Included in these markets are services to both save travelers money and at the same time satisfy their craving for richer cultural experiences. One such on-line service allows you to make a reservation to go to the home of a local, and to dine on an authentic meal they have prepared for you.

Major travel industry research suggests this trend and this market is going to continue to grow. It seems more and more people are looking for affordable, culturally rich travel and they are opting to learn to trust their peers in order have that.

I’m still waiting for someone to figure out how peers can share the cost of airfare. In the USA where I live, major airlines keep merging, most recently United and US Airways. These mergers have resulted in too few competitors, too high airfare prices, and devalued airline loyalty programs. I’m also just hearing that hotels are also devaluing their hotel loyalty programs and nickel and diming guests for all sorts of formerly free services, like early check-in or late check-out. In order for us travelers to continue traveling, we have to be more and more creative to compensate for the off-putting costs of airfare and hotel accommodations.

These peer to peer resources may just be the only thing that will save us! I know that international home exchange has been my families saving grace; hopefully, it will be yours.

About the Unnecessary Skepticism

International home exchange, like nothing else that I have ever encountered, provides almost inconceivable value and benefit at no financial cost. What I will show you is that it is completely credible.

I know that more families would take advantage of international home exchange, if they understood it correctly.  If they weren’t afraid of it.  In this free weekly web series, I’ll explain  how you can partake in an international home exchange, without fear or doubt. You will see firsthand why it is not crazy to trust it.

It is true we are in an age of distrust, and that is precisely why international home exchange is such an unexpected and delightful phenomenon!

About Families and International Home Exchange

Anyone can and would benefit from international home exchange, but families especially, derive the greatest financial benefits

Since most costs associated with international travel increase proportionately per person; this includes: airfare, accommodations, transportation, food, entertainment, and souvenirs. It is infinitely more expensive to travel as a family than it is to travel individually or as a couple.

The benefits of a free house with use of a free kitchen, a family sized car, and a myriad of other free amenities will save a family significantly more money than it would save a smaller party. Some of the other amenities I am referring to are: washing machines, pools, bicycles, sporting equipment, beach gear, outdoor play equipment, toys, etc…

Families are more suited to this style of travel

 While I can’t profess to be the ultimate authority on how people should travel, I do believe that the type of travel supported by international home exchange is perfectly suited to families with children.

In an international home exchange, you do not have the frequent moving around that is common in other forms of international travel; and this is a good thing for families. What family is going to benefit from the stress involved in uprooting the family every couple of days?

As a mom, I can tell you that packing, being in transit, and unpacking over and over again is not a pleasant scenario. What is pleasant is to stay put and experience a place, its people and its culture more fully. It’s a deeply enjoyable and enriching experience for the whole family.

Multigenerational families too!

Travel trend reports in 2014 suggest that extended families are traveling together more frequently.  It is not uncommon for middle age parents to want to travel not only with their own children, but with their senior parents, and/or their own siblings and their families as well.

International home exchange as a style of travel is perfect for these extended families.  It is obviously the most affordable option; but also the most spacious, comfortable, slower paced, and entertaining for such a family.

Everyone benefits from an international home exchange

Does any of this talk of families imply that international home exchange will only benefit families; absolutely not. Singles, couples, young, old, it doesn’t matter; home exchange can save you a lot of money and the cultural advantages far surpass any other type of travel.

Tune in tomorrow for International Home Exchange 102 where we will start to get into the nuts and bolts of things.

HHWT-3Dcov-web If at any point, you find yourself ready to pursue an 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.

About Kerry Ascione

Past business and IT professional turned travel writer, blogger, speaker and coach. Huge supporter of the Peer Sharing Movement, especially as it relates to making the lives of families richer in culture and travel. Author of Have Home Will Travel, The Ultimate International Home Exchange Guide for Families.
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4 Responses to International Home Exchange 101- Anyone Up for A Cultural Adventure?

  1. Talie says:

    Home exchange sounds amazing! wow what a wonderful idea! I’m going to show my mum this blog and *fingers crossed* it may convince her haha. Thanks for such an amazingly written blog!


  2. basketslife says:

    Kerry this is awesome! Really Great Information I was just telling my Hubby about this! Awesome thank you for sharing!


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