GuestToGuest answers all your questions about home exchange:
We know it seems crazy—why would I let a stranger into my home for free? But home exchange has actually been around for a while, and with great success. The last couple years home exchange has grown exponentially, so here we are to answer all your questions about home exchange.
Q: I’m curious, where did home exchange start and what does it look like now?
A: Home exchange has been around since the 1950s when teachers began to swap their homes to take advantage of their long summer holidays at a lower cost. It was one of the first signs of an emerging sharing economy, and today the practice appeals to a variety of consumers. Exchange eliminates the middle man, who often takes a significant cut of the profits in traditional markets, and allows people to travel more for less. Finally in the 1990s, with the invention of the internet, the transition from catalogues to online databases catapulted home exchange into the mainstream.
Q: Why should I try home exchange?
A: More and more travellers are looking for authenticity and adventure, and home exchange is a great way to really see a country and get to know its people. Stay in a cosy, lived-in home and discover a whole new experience while immersed in a community, with the bonus of local guide who knows the secrets of the neighbourhood. You won’t leave your home empty or pay for a house sitter, instead it will be left in the care of someone who understands your concern, because they’ve been in the same position!
“Our experience with GuestToGuest has always been very positive. I recommend it to friends whenever I can… It’s a new way to travel and it’s helped me develop an open mind.” –Yolanda
Q: That seems pretty interesting, but isn’t it a big risk?
A: It’s certainly a leap of faith the first time, but two thirds of people who have done one exchange with GuestToGuest come back for more! It’s reasonable to be a bit cautious at first, but there are a number of things you can do to be more confident about your first exchange.
- Shop around until you find a host/guest with whom you feel comfortable.
- Look for reviews, descriptions, and photos.
- Talk! Let each other know what does or doesn’t work for you.
We encourage you to get to know each other before the exchange, and if you have any doubts, don’t hesitate to contact us! We have optional services to protect your home, and a whole staff here looking out for your well-being, so we’d be happy to answer any question you may have. Home exchange is grounded in trust, and we want to help you get there.
“It’s is our favourite way of traveling, it’s based on trust and respect—values to defend.” –Véro
Q: So what does GuestToGuest do differently?
A: A number of things!
- We are first and foremost a social network: We want our members to get to know and support each other.
- Our flexible GuestPoints system: Members can conduct non-reciprocal and non-simultaneous exchanges. It also solves the problem of inconsistencies between homes. If your travel dates, destinations, or home comforts don’t match up, you can cover the difference with an exchange of GuestPoints.
- It’s free! Honestly. Unlike many of our competitors who require a subscription fee, at GuestToGuest our only paid services are optional.
- AND: We give 750 points to each new member so you can try home exchange as a guest before making up your mind. We want to inspire confidence so you’ll keep coming back!
“GuestToGuest is simple, friendly, rich in useful features, and led by a dynamic team that is highly responsive to any question.” –Laurent
Q: I’m convinced! How do I get started?
A: Create a profile for free with GuestToGuest! Put some thought into it, and add a few photos so that people will have a good idea whether or not your home suits them. Then send out some offers! We recommend around 20 or so, to have the best chance at arranging an exchange on the first go. Discuss with your host to arrange the details of your exchange, and then get on the road! Enjoy your holiday, take care of the home you visit, and you just may find you’ve created a new tradition.
“We left a bottle of wine and chocolates for our guests, and the funny thing was, when we arrived in London we found the same chocolates!” –Lapo