Search This Blog

Follow Us on Twitter

Want To Benefit From More Than House Swap?


People who participate in home exchange know the value of enjoying travel experiences from the perspective of a local.  House swapping was an early adopter in the sharing economy, even before people started calling it the sharing economy. Recently, a multitude of new companies have launched services that help people “share” resources. Sharing doesn’t necessarily mean free, but it can translate into significant savings, and it can lead to some really interesting local experiences.

We would like to thank ShareTraveler for this guest posting.  Here’s there list of top sharing economy services for house swappers.


You might want to rent a car to explore the French countryside during your home exchange to Lyon. If you don't like the choices with traditional rental car companies, consider peer to peer car rental services like and They generally have better pricing with more diversity of vehicles and pick up locations compared to traditional car rental services. If you are a car owner this is also a way to earn some extra cash instead of paying for airport parking by leaving your car with

If you are just looking for a way to get from one destination to the next consider ridesharing. It's a cheap way to get around that's growing in popularity, especially in Europe. And while you save money, I think one of the best benefits of ridesharing is the local people you meet and the entertainment of conversations during your ride. Drivers join a website such as or, where they post upcoming trips they are taking and how many open seats they have, along with a price per seat. Then riders can sign up to join those trips. Drivers and riders get reviewed, and in some cases you can select traveling companions based on features like how talkative they are. This is often cheaper than taking the train or bus, and a pleasant way to meet locals and travel in comfort without all the unnecessary stops inherent to public transportation.

Tours, Activities and Food

Tours and guided activities are fun way to explore while traveling. If you like large tours that hit all the standard tourist spots, you are probably happy with existing tour companies. But for those looking for a different experience, consider using a peer to peer travel experience website. Of the companies in this business today, is the largest and most sophisticated. They offer a platform for people to buy and sell travel experiences, activities, and extended trips. Events cover a wide range of prices and experiences. My search of options in Barcelona turned up a $10 two hour roller skating tour, a $240 tour of the city in a convertible, and a $1,995 food and wine week, in addition to culinary classes, night life, photography, art, yoga, and a nudist beach visit, with most prices under $100.

A newcomer to the sharing economy is meal hosting. For travelers, this means an opportunity to eat in the home of a local, sharing a home cooked meal with locals and other travelers. There are a few variations on this theme, but the main option from sites like,, and facilitate a cook hosting a group of people for a meal in their home. People attending might be locals in search of a good meal, or travelers looking to enjoy home cooking in the place they are visiting. They're not necessarily cheap, but if you like food tourism, these are great websites to check out.

Boats and Recreational Gear

It’s now possible to find vacation toys through peer to peer rentals. Companies like and facilitate boat rentals directly from their owners, from luxury yachts to kayaks. And you can find all sorts of adventure gear including ATVs, bikes, RVs, snowmobiles and surfboards on sites like and

Pet Sitting

For travelers with pets doing a home exchange, it’s worth looking for a swap partner who also has pets and is willing to swap pet care. This is free and you are already entrusting these folks with your home so it’s not a big stretch to also trust they will care for your pets like their own.

If pet swapping isn’t an option, there are some peer to peer websites to help you find a good sitter. Companies like, and match dog owners with locals. They include reviews, match you with sitters based on criteria you can specify, and allow payment online through the website. Some even provide pet insurance.


There are a lot of great new services for travelers in the sharing economy, providing opportunities to enhance your trips, enjoy new experiences, meet locals, and save some money along the way. For a complete list of peer to peer travel services, I've created searchable tables along with reviews and resources at

Buying Property In Spain?

10 Top Tips For Buying Property In Spain

Buying your dream vacation property in Spain is exciting however getting over the legal obstacles of the buying process can seem daunting.

The more information you have about the property and the Spanish legal process the better so Worldwide Lawyers have provided a list of ten basic tips to help you buy your dream Spanish property with minimum hassle!

1. Find a good Spanish lawyer

Instructing a reliable Spanish lawyer from the outset can prove to be invaluable and can minimise any worry and hassle later on. Your lawyer should be entirely independent from the estate agent or any developer so that you can be confident that they will work only to protect your interests and not any other party.

You should check that the Spanish lawyer is registered with the relevant bar association, that they have professional indemnity insurance and have experience dealing with international transactions. They also need to speak your language! 

2. Get a property survey

If your walls do not provide the strength required to support the roof or if your swimming pool starts to sink further down into the valley, you may find that the relatively small price of a survey would have been money well spent.

If you wouldn't buy a home in England without a survey, why do it in Spain?!

3. Check the ownership of the property 

You will need to ensure that the names of the registered owners of the property match the information you have about the sellers. (This may sound obvious but you would be surprised!). 

This information is set out on a report known as the Nota Simple. This is a document provided by the Land Registry in Spain and provides information about the property. 

4. Check the description of the property 

The boundaries, the total area of the land and details of the property will need to checked against what you have actually seen. 

Never ever buy a property without actually going to see it first- You may laugh but this does happen!

5. Know the applicable local laws

Check out the how the property is classified (i.e. is it rustico, urbano or urbanizable) as this may affect how regional laws may be applied to the property.

You should also check when buying rural land that is not reserved for agricultural use and that full permission has been obtained for residential use.. 

Considering buying a coastal property? It has been known for properties to be built on public coastal land without the required consents. Check with your lawyer whether such laws could affect the property you wish to purchase.

6. Check building permissions have been complied with

It is not uncommon for resale properties in Spain to have extensions or additions carried out without planning permission. Check with your lawyer that any such alterations are identified, and legalized before you proceed to buy the property.

7. Determine any future building restrictions

If you are buying the property due to its development potential you should make sure you ask your lawyer to check the latest town the town planning department of the local town hall to see if the land you wish to buy is affected by any building restrictions, green zones or public pathways etc.

8. Ensure there are no debts against the property

In Spain debts such as mortgages and unpaid taxes are attached to the property rather that the individual. Your lawyer should ask to see proof of payment of the mortgage, utilities, taxes and any community fees to ensure that any debts have been paid before you purchase the property

9. Find out the extra costs of your property purchase

Purchase Tax is charged on the local council’s valuation of the property and not the purchase price of the property. You should ensure that you know the cadastral value of the property and how much purchase tax will be due. 

You should also find out what the continuing costs associated with the property will be and check that you can realistically afford these.

10. Check out the rental restrictions

Some regions of Spain do not allow properties to be let to tourists as short-term holiday lets. Breaches of these regulations can lead to heavy fines. 

Even if you are not planning to rent out the property yourself, you should check whether any such regulations apply to your property as this could impact on the resale value of your property.

This list is not-exhaustive and there is no substitute for the advice of a property qualified and experienced independent Spanish lawyer who can guide you through the buying process. 

If you need assistance from a lawyer in Spain, contact Worldwide Lawyers who will be able to point you in the right direction.

Home Exchange sounds good

IVHE home exchange

Find the right network for you!

What type of exchange is best for you? 

Is bigger really any better?

How easy is it to find the location, activities and type of accommodation that you enjoy for vacations?

You love to travel and the benefits of home exchange sounds appealing, now comes your first step, finding an exchange network to join. Before instantly signing up to a club or network you should consider what are the most important criteria for you. The questions above will help you in make the right decision.

If you are only interested in Direct Exchanges then you have many options, just remember that you will have to find a location and home that matches the same time you will want to swap. 
If you want the flexibility of a Non-Simultaneous exchange, there are only a select number of memberships available. It is not an either/or decision as some organisation offer their members both Direct and Non-Simultaneous Exchanges. When doing your research check to ensure you are getting what you want. 

Bigger is not always better. When you start looking on the internet, many organisations claim to have the world’s largest or most listings. One of them has to be the biggest, but why may this not matter to you? What really matters is you find the right exchange for you – this means locations, type of accommodation, type of exchanges and homes with good amenities. We have found that in an effort to look big, there is what we call in the industry, a lot of dead wood. These are home listings that have been around for years but are no longer valid. It will be extremely frustrating trawling through hundreds of property listings, wasting a lot of your time trying to find someone to respond to your inquiries Be careful to select a home exchange organisation that manages their listings, keeping them current and up to date, and can offer you assistance when needed. 

Now is a good time to talk about price. Some exchange networks offer a free listing. Two sayings come to mind you get what you pay for and rarely is anything really free. When home swapping sites offer free listings there will inevitably be properties on the site that are old or have owners that really are committed to communicate. This will waste your time and will reduce your pleasure in the whole home exchange experience. The other thing that often happens with a free listing is that home owners can list their property, but they cannot respond or communicate to inquiries without paying. This will cause delays in communication, another waste of your time. Remember that you are most likely going to save thousands of pounds, euros or dollars on home swapping, so the small cost of joining a reputable home exchange community makes sense; saving you time, avoiding frustration and giving you a much better experience in home exchanging.


FREE quick and essential guide to Home Exchange

All entries * are required

Read about our privacy policy.


Copyright @ 2014 Vacation Home Exchange .