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Home Exchange Anxiety... by IVHE Member

Our home swap to Florida

Pensacola Beach Exchange

The pleasures and advantages of home exchanging have been well documented but despite the clear benefits, many are still leery of the practice. We have been home exchanging for 25 years yet the concern from friends and acquaintances remains the same. It boils down to fear.

Great IVHE swap to Puerto Rico
People are afraid of going to an unfamiliar home, in an unfamiliar or even foreign place. People are even anxious about those who may be staying in their home. We have certainly experienced those feelings, so we have learned how to dispel the anxieties. Here we will specifically address going to someone else’s home.

First, you know the location, so do some further research. With Google Earth, it’s not difficult to pinpoint the home swap and its surroundings. You don’t have to depend on a possibly biased owner reporting their neighborhood is only “minutes from town” (beach, mall, etc.). You can verify the information. 
Our home exchange to Colorado

Secondly, there is the fear that you will arrive, possibly after dark, to a home you cannot gain access to. That key that was supposed to be
in the planter? Not there. Short of breaking in, you fear you will have to find a hotel for the night or even the week! In 25 years of home exchanging, this has never happened to us. Yes, the key wasn’t where it was supposed to be, but there are many solutions to this. Many times the home swap is in a development with an office. Be sure this office has been advised you will be in the property, and has your name on file. Even better if you have a name of an on-site employee who knows you are coming.

 If the residence is in a neighborhood or building, have the name and phone number of a neighbor who can let you in - often owners have given a key to someone nearby to pick up mail, water plants, check on the place while they are gone, frequently being absent longer than your planned stay. Another common tactic is to provide the phone number of a relative who lives in the same town and can similarly assist you. We have often been greeted on arrival by a friendly face bearing food for breakfast (since often you arrive after stores are closed, it’s a nice touch, but that’s another blog).

IVHE swap to Puerto Rico
There are other fears to address such as what if the residence is not as advertised, but space dictates we stop here. I’ll give you a hint: be flexible, you probably think your house is wonderful too, oh yeah, but sometimes
the plumbing is tricky…

By Tricia Noto owner of property 185

 Home exchanging is a fabulous way to save lots of money and to become immersed in other cultures and explore new corners of the world. It really is very easy! For more information on exchanges please visit to see a stunning selection of properties available for home exchange.

Great New Zealand Home Exchange

Our IVHE- home exchange to Property 595 - Sunny one level semi detached townhouse in the heart of Auckland, New Zealand

Aucland Home Exchange property 595
We were able to complete a vacation home exchange with our vacation property in British Columbia #489 for a house in Auckland for a week.
 We checked in to the Airport Holiday Inn Express and crashed for a few hours after the all night flight. Later we started exploring the coast on the west side of Auckland. The west coast was hilly and remote. The roads reminded me of the mountain roads in West Virginia. In addition to the beautiful scenery we saw a rare colony of gannets and the beach where “The Piano” was filmed. The townhouse was a great location where we could use public transportation to explore the sights around town.
 We toured the Winter Gardens and the nearby Auckland Museum. Kelly Tarleton’s Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World were great and we walked back to the house. We took a ferry to Devonport and hiked to the military structures and gun placements on North Head.

Once we had finished exploring the local sights, we picked up a rental vehicle and left Auckland and drove to the Coromandel Peninsula. On the west coast, we walked though the Water Works Museum where water powered each exhibit. Next we took a train ride up a mountain on a track that one man laid over the course of 26 years. It was quite a remarkable achievement. On the east coast we wanted to hike to Cathedral Cove, but a recent cyclone has destroyed the staircase, so we did a scenic hike to the Shakespeare Cliffs instead. After an enjoyable hike to Wentworth Falls, we visited an active pit open gold mine. We entered several abandoned gold mine tunnels in the Waitawhete Gorge; we found no gold, but the glow worms were in residence. In Hamilton, we spent several hours touring the majestic gardens. The 500 foot Wairere Falls sRotorua is a tourist town surrounded by geothermal activity. We went to a Maori hangi (feast) where we were fed pork, chicken and lot of other foods that were cooked in an underground pit. Their performance was both educational and entertaining. We visited a village buried by a volcano, hiked in a Redwood forest, and toured the Rotorua Museum. Further south, in Taupo, we hiked to Huku Falls and the Crater of the Moon. We saw Maori rock carvings while boating on Lake Taupo. We took a raft through a cave in Waitomo and saw thousands of glow worms, enough to illuminate the cave. At a nearby bird center, we saw kiwi birds and other native birds. We continued south to Wellington. We spent half a day in the TePapa Museum and still didn’t see all the “Must See” exhibits. On our second day in town, we took the cable car to the Carter Observatory and the Botanical Gardens.hould not be missed on the way to Rotorua.
Home Exchange property in Rotarua0598

 We finished our North Island tour with a drive along Wellington’s scenic south coast.

This was our first exchange with IVHE, location was very convenient, we could walk or take the city bus anywhere in Auckland. Cottage was well furnished and comfortable. Highly recommend this exchange programme to others. Don  - Owner of Property 489

 Home swap/trading to save $£$£$ on your vacation is a wonderful way to experience the world! money. It really is very easy! For more information on home exchanges please visit to see a stunning selection of properties available for home exchanges and trades.

Home Exchange - It’s Easy in 2 parts!

  Home Exchange Part 2

* Kitchen: It is not necessary to clear out all cupboards, indeed it is very useful for your guests if you leave some basics (eg flour, oil, dried herbs) in the kitchen for your home exchange guest to use. Remove or simply leave a note about items that you do not wish to be used. It is nice for your home swap guests to have a bit of space in a cupboard and fridge for their own food supplies.

* Make your home exchange guests feel at home: clearing a small space in the wardrobe and a drawer or two will make your guests stay much more comfortable and make your property feel like home.

* Local knowledge: a couple of recommendations for your favourite restaurants will get your home swap guest's vacation off to a flying start. Also useful are ideas for days out close to home, and useful contacts such as local pharmacy, doctors and plumber.

* Clean, clean, clean: the cleaner your property, the happier your guests will be! If you do not use a regular housekeeper or cleaner, remove as much clutter as possible and consider using a cleaning agency to give your property a thorough spring-clean. Guests should always leave the property in the same condition in which they found it even if there is a housekeeper coming in after them, leaving the property in nice tidy condition is expected.

* Vehicle insurance: if you are considering swapping cars, boats, ski-doo's etc check with your insurance company that they will be covered, some countries are fine for occasional other drivers to use vehicles, others are less so.

Home exchanging is a great way to save lots of money and experiencing different cultures and stepping into someone else's world!. For more information on exchanges please visit to see a stunning selection of properties available for home exchange. 

Home Exchange - It’s Easy in 2 parts!

 Part 1
 Once house swapping contracts are signed and both you and your exchange partner are ready to go, there are several ways to help make your home exchange as successful as possible. We all know how disorientating it can be trying to find your way around a new home so here are a few tips to make the home exchange process easier when exchanging your primary or non-rental property

* Communicate!: In these days of high speed communications you can build a relationship with your home swap partner well before the exchange or trade takes place. Regardless if you are doing a direct swap or a trade, or whether you will have the opportunity or not to meet in person, it makes a big difference if the host and the guests get to know each other a bit before the visits. Make sure your guests know important details such as how to get to your exchange property, where to find the keys and maybe a friendly local who can be on hand to answer any questions that might come up..

         *Make your guests feel at home: Small touches such as a pint of milk left in the fridge or a bunch of flowers will be much appreciated by your guests especially if they are arriving from a different country. Of course this is not always possible if it is a vacation property and the host has not just been there. Equally a thank you note or small gesture from the guest will also be very welcome.

* Leave instructions: It can be baffling trying to work out how to use other people's electrical appliances!

* Be prepared: Accidents can happen, it is sensible to put away breakable valuables or items with sentimental value so they cannot be accidentally knocked over.

More next week!!

Home exchanging is a fabulous way to save lots of money and to become immersed in other cultures and explore new corners of the world. It really is very easy! For more information on exchanges please visit to see a stunning selection of properties available for home exchange. 

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