I've been looking into doing a home exchange for extended travel (a month or more for a couple with a 3 year old and a small dog). We're mainly looking to do this in the U.S. or Canada for now.
I've started to look into some of the different websites that offer this service, but in my research so far, there are more options than I expected, and there doesn't seem to be a clear answer for the one or two best choices, especially for a focus on U.S. travel.
I'm curious if anyone has experience or advice on doing a home exchange/home swap. Is it really a viable option for extended travel? Even if you don't have an ocean front cottage in Hawaii? Any advice on specific websites or services to use? Anyone interested in visiting St. Louis for a month?
Thanks in advance!
Check out trustedhousesitters.com. You can use someone else's home, even if they don't need/want to use yours. Good luck!
Rolf Potts (author of Vagabonding) was just on The Tim Ferriss Show (podcast) discussing travel. He talked a bit about home swaps and more. Check out the link to the show here: http://fourhourworkweek.com/2014/11/04/rolf-potts/ and take look through the comments. I haven't had the time yet, but you'll often find additional tips in that section as well. Tim engages quite a bit of people through his work. Do a search for travel on his website as well (www.thefourhourworkweek.com) and I'm sure you'll find a thing or two.
Check this out: www.mytwinplace.com/hosts It is a traveler community where you can use other's house and your host will earn points (travel credit) to book his/her stay in his desire destinations. Then you can host people too when your place or room is available to earn more points to keep travelling. This breaks the reciprocity which makes the whole thing much easyer compare to tradicional home exchange sites.
We have used www.homeexchange.com for about 3 years and have had only successful exchanges. It's a great way to travel especially with children (mine are 4.5 and 6) we almost never stay in hotels now. Exchanging takes a little planning, good communication and a good home profile! Good luck!