House swap. Great way to travel... saves a bundle.
The Sunday Times, AU - Nov 14, 2010
By Barbara Bode:
That’s what a friend wrote when I mentioned home exchanges. Another friend whose life is ruled by pets, wrote, “Before we had our pets, we listed our home and did a successful exchange with an British couple – they stayed in our home in Maryland, while we stayed in their home in southern Spain. Worked out very well.” One of my most cautious and serious friends e-mailed, “I have arranged a couple of successful swaps through a membership organisation. Somehow I feel more secure using a system that has been set up already, and members have to pay a fee so you can assume they are at least halfway serious.” Recently a number of bright blue and white adverts proclaiming ‘Cut your holiday budget in half!’ embellished online news services. These are all promoting a project called ‘Homeforexchange.com’. Launched in 2005 by a Dutch couple, Ans Lammers and her partner Mark Wiersma, a technology genius, they were spurred into developing it not because the exchange idea was so new but because the quality of other home exchange websites was so poor. Many still are confusing or just too long. Skimming through more than a dozen such sites, I found that a few have learned and produce clearer information, briefer directions and forms that are easier to use. HomeForExchange.com still leads, with clear, speedy communications. For novices like myself, there are several helpful sites in addition to the information available from Homeforexchange.com. One is ‘La Vida Local: How to arrange a home swap’ (www.lavidalocal.com/howto/homeswap .htm).
[editors note: unfortunately there is no online version of this article and we are not allowed to publish the complete article]