The main reason a family vacation happens only once a year and you spend the rest of the year saving for that trip is the cost. That is simply with one hotel room, take into account a large family that would require multiple rooms and the cost skyrockets. The great alternative and money-saving choice is HomeExchange.com. This great site is the "You Stay in My House, While I Stay in Yours" home swapping service.
Started in 1992 by Ed Kushins, HomeExchange.com has evolved into the largest and fastest growing online home exchange travel company in the world. This year their 46,000 plus members will make over 75,000 home swaps across 154 countries. HomeExchange.com makes it easy to plan and enjoy a home exchange vacation in almost any country, city or area of interest and offers travelers a memorable, authentic 'live like a local' experience. The site is available in 16 different languages. HomeExchangeGold.com, serving the luxury market, launched in 2012. To help introduce Splash Magazine Worldwide readers to this great service, we are giving one lucky reader a one-year membership in HomeExchange.com.
For the first time, a detailed profile is available of the expanding demographic of home exchange travelers. The survey finds that the industry itself is making a deep impact on society. According to the researchers, "people are turning more and more to models of consumption that emphasize community over selfishness," and home exchange "may help to make our societies work better towards a sustainable future."
With 93% of respondents satisfied with their experience and 81% having swapped homes more than once, the future also looks bright for home exchange. No longer just looking for an inexpensive travel option, home exchangers possess a deep cultural curiosity (98% declare an interest in cultural heritage and 84% visit museums and nature parks).
While a savvy breed of traveler (with 62% stating a high level of education), home exchangers also represent a wide cross-section of the traveling public. For example, the typical home exchange participant travels as a family (49% of them with children) and comes from across five continents, with the USA, France, Spain, Canada and Italy being the top five countries of residency.
Fair trade food (63%) and organic food (73%) are important to home exchangers, and 69% prepare their own meals while traveling, taking advantage of their access to a fully equipped kitchen. When not on the road, they are active contributors to their communities, with 59% reporting that they participate in community services, wildlife preservation, youth services, cultural preservation or animal welfare.
Given the strong sense of trust found among respondents (75% agree that "most people are trustworthy"), collaborative consumption and home exchange should continue to grow in popularity. As stated in the survey:
"Swapping houses is one of the most significant boundaries of modern tourism, because it incorporates some of the dynamics that characterize the tourist of the new millennium: the increasingly felt desire to travel several times a year, even with limited budgets, the need to organize tailor-made trips as personalized as possible and the desire to make the trip an authentic experience… not only to know a new country with all its attractions, but also to immerse yourself in a new culture"
o It’s a great option for anyone looking to experience a destination like a local, for families who need more space without the cost of having to get multiple hotel rooms, for retirees, for couples and for just about anyone else looking to get away.
o There are over 46,000 Members on HomeExchange.com. It is the largest home exchange company in the world
o The site is now available in 16 different languages from Chinese to Turkisk
o To date, there have been over 400,000 home exchanges achieved across 154 countries
o There are about 70,000 exchanges achieved per year all over the world
o Home exchangers trade their homes, condominiums, apartments or house boats
o A year membership is $119, which is WAY less than even a one night stay in a hotel
o Fun fact: HomeExchange.com is the company they used in the movie The Holiday with Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet
o HomeExchangers can experience destinations in homes on the beaches of Brazil, the countrysides of Italy or in homes / condos and apartments in bustling cities all over the world.
o Growing popularity of emerging destinations include: Brazil, New Zealand, Argentina, and Mexico. Most popular destinations include the USA, France, Spain, Italy, Canada, the UK, The Netherlands, Demark, Australia and Germany.
o HomeExchange.com is like internet dating for you home and found Ed Kushins has put together his list of five do’s and don’ts:
· Do get to know the person or family you are swapping with. Talk on the phone, swap recent photos and video chat over Skype. By the time you swap, you guys should be friends.
· Ask for referrals about prior exchanges. This will tell you a lot about the person or family you are swapping with.
· Agree on the ground rules for your exchange, Sample Agreements are provided on HomeExchange.com as guidelines
· Leave a few local tips and eateries for the person / family who will be staying in your home
· Exchange cell phone numbers and leave a manual on how things work in your home, when plants need to be watered, etc.
· Don’t leave your home a mess or the person you’re swapping with a mess. The general rule is to leave the house exactly as you found it, and to take care of the home as you expect your partner to take care of yours.
· Don’t leave your valuables exposed
· Don’t lead someone on and market your property honestly. If you don’t live in the most desirable / less touristy of neighborhoods, let people know and let people know why your neighborhood is so great
· Don’t cancel as people have spent money on airfare. Respect your obligation.
· Don’t - worry! HomeExchange is simple and much easier than you think
For a chance to win the one-year membership to HomeExchange.com you must follow @SplashMagWW and @HomeExchangecom and retweet the following:
RT and follow for a chance 2 win 1 year membership to @HomeExchangecom and @SplashMagWW http://www.lasplash.com/publish/Domestic_150/homeexchange.com-giveaway.php
Winner will be chosen from all valid entries on December 30th, 2013. All decisions by Splash Magazines Worldwide are final.
For more information visit HomeExchange