The revolution of house swapping
Are you already thinking about how and where to spend your next Christmas holidays? Of course, timing is essential if you want to take advantage of last minute offers; indeed, you will have to book your holiday two months before your departure date at least.
If you want to experience something different and enjoy a pleasant stay in a destination you have longed for at length, you may join a home-swapping network and put your house at the disposal of polite holidaymakers who are ready to let you spend a relaxing week in their apartment. The exchange of homes makes your travel to a place you have always wanted to go easier.
Home swapping has been steadily getting a footing among people who can afford low budget holidays and among tourists who are interested in availing themselves of their vacation to make a cultural exchange. Home exchange, indeed, can contribute in improving mutual understanding among peoples of the world, while providing a real and genuine experience of a location through a direct insight into a community.
House swapping represents also a kind of sustainable tourism, as it does not put extra pressure on local resources.
There are several networks specialising in home exchange. Listings are updated frequently, as the house swap revolution is attracting and involving an increasing number of home owners. Unimpeachable honesty is a key characteristic the members of home swapping networks must have.
Exchanging homes for holidays allows cutting down on costs linked to the organisation of the holiday. You can travel and stay in someone else’s house without paying anything for your stay. The University of Bergamo has carried out a survey discovering that only 17% of people who opt for home swapping choose to exchange their home to save money. Indeed, people who join home swapping networks say that spending a holiday in a house is much more comfortable than staying in a hotel. A house offers many comforts hotels cannot give, above all to those who travel with their children.
Obviously, it is indispensable to be open-minded and to have the necessary detachment to entrust a home to unknown people, despite the value of the house and of things contained in it: antique furniture, refined furnishings, ethnic carpets, paintings of great value, expensive technology devices that make the home more comfortable.
The member of home exchange networks pay an annual fee comprised between 25 and 360 euros. There are some networks specialising in deluxe properties and some other offer a “listing alert” that sends a real-time alert of a new member when there is a matching between supply and demand.
Italy – Tuscany in particular – is one of the most sought-after destinations, even if the culture of exchange still needs to grow in the country. Home swapping is very popular all around the world. There are numerous lofts “for exchange” in New York, sea-front villas on Koh Samui Island in Thailand, charming chalets in Whistler in Canada, beautiful country homes in Cape Town in South-Africa, large apartments in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates among the others.
A loft can be exchanged with a two-roomed flat or with a castle. The only necessary condition is that they all have a unique and special charm.
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