Every year we visit my wife’s parents in England. We have never managed to find a home exchange near them, so we end up staying in a rented cottage. Since saving money is a priority and I claim to be a house swap expert we decided to try to find an exchange near the relatives. The photo is taken a few hundred yards from their home.
Step one was to use home exchange agencies that each have hundreds of members in England. These include HomeExchange.com, HomeforExchange.com, HomeLink, and Homebase Holidays. All of these industry leaders have a geographic based search. I looked for exchanges in the English county where the relatives lived, then considered nearby places. Prime targets were those interested in going to the USA but we also contacted folks that said they would go anywhere or consider all offers. I didn’t analyze each listing carefully but made sure that everyone contacted had a home that we would be willing to live in for a couple of weeks. All of these agencies have maps showing the specific or general location of the home. This was helpful to see how easy it would be to drive to parent’s house.
Our dates are fixed as we have booked our flights. Although the proposed exchange is six months in the future many we contacted got back to us saying they had already booked their summer vacation exchanges. We contacted about 50 families; many have responded quickly and politely. Several have indicated that they aren’t free this year but would like to consider us in the future.
Everybody’s home exchange situation is different; if we just wanted England it would be no problem to find an exchange. Wanting to be near my wife’s folks and having specific dates makes it much more difficult. Home exchange is always easier if there is flexibility as to location and dates.