Trading Spaces: What to Know for Your First Home Exchange

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live a different life? To live in a different place, experience new things, and leave your life behind for a little while? If so, then a home exchange may be just the vacation for you.
 As the name suggests, a home exchange involves literally swapping homes with someone else. You move into another person’s home for a period of time, while giving up yours. This approach to a vacation is quite a bit different than staying in a hotel. With this option, you get the chance to really acclimate to a culture and experience a different lifestyle. Plus, you’re able to spread out and really enjoy some space; which is a lot better than staying in a stuffy hotel room.
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If you have never done a home exchange before, you may be wondering what the process entails. How do you go about finding a home to stay in? What is involved? To be honest, the process of locating a house to trade with is a lot like buying your own home. Though you may not be buying the house indefinitely, you will be buying it for the period of your vacation and you want to make sure that it is the right one.
In order to help you have a successful home exchange, here are some things to keep in mind before you trade those keys.
 Do your research.
 The very first thing to do is research. Decide where it is that you want to visit, and then begin looking for homes that you could exchange with. Travel agents that specialize in home exchanges are always available if you feel a little lost just starting out, or there is always the ‘do it yourself’ route, allowing you to look for other people in the area you want to visit who are also interested in a house swap.
While doing your research, make sure that you investigate the background of the people you are potentially going to swap with. You don’t want to enter into a home exchange with people you feel uncomfortable with.
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Be open minded.
 It is important to realize that the place you are going to be visiting and the home you’ll be staying in may be quite different than what you are used to in your own home. Living arrangements and customs may be different, and that’s okay!
 Don’t shut down and automatically think that you are going to have a bad time because the accommodations aren’t exactly how you expected. Be open minded and willing to accept those differences. After all, that is part of the appeal of a home exchange.
Be mindful.
 Remember that you are going to be staying in someone else’s home, so treat their home how you would want yours to be treated. Clean up after yourself, leave things as you found them, and be respectful. When you make a bad name for yourself by disrespecting the home you’re visiting, this knowledge is easily spreadable through online reviews and shared forums.
Have a chat.
Or a few. Really get to know the people you’ll be entering the exchange with before you actually make the swap. Having a dialogue with the exchangers allows you to gain a better understanding of one another, and also helps you develop an appreciation for each other.
 Although not as overwhelming as looking for a home you plan to buy, home exchanges are still a new, and potentially anxiety-inducing, experience. However, choose to look at it as an exciting adventure, and you’ll be surprised at how fun the swap really is. Preparing yourself for the exchange and knowing what to expect will allow you to get the most out of this fantastic opportunity.
 About The Author
Marcela De Vivo  is a freelance writer in Southern California. She loves to travel with her family and finds the idea of a home exchange intriguing and very exciting! Follow her on Twitter for more.

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