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Cheap holidays? The exchange of houses seduces its followers, while remaining confidential


This already old service sees its number of followers grow further with soaring prices. While remaining a niche in the face of seasonal rental platforms or the hotel offer. Under what conditions does an individual win by exchanging his house?

Laurence Julé and her husband have done their calculations.

And according to them, they are largely winners.

According to this fan of house swapping, “

for a fortnight's vacation, you earn at least 3,000 euros by avoiding the rental of a house and a car (left available by their host, editor's note).

It is enormous

 », enthuses this person in charge of a center for delinquents.

The couple is representative of this fringe of convinced and zealous home exchangers, whose number is growing a little more each year, while remaining relatively confidential compared to the ogre Airbnb, for example.

Followers of "come to my house, I'm coming to yours" are very active.

The spouses have already exchanged their 137 m² Morbihan house 44 times, via the HomeExchange platform, managed by the French co-founders Emmanuel Arnaud and Charles-Edouard Girardi.

The Breton couple tested the practice for the first time seven years ago, during a stay in Lyon.

Since then, they have criss-crossed villages in France, Italy and Spain as a priority.

This summer they have planned a trip to Rome.

Laurence praises the quality of each of their escapades.

The money that we don't put into renting, we use it for restaurants, excursions, outings… It allows us to enjoy ourselves a lot more!

 A challenge in these times of crisis.

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Membership peak in 2022

Because, if the French still want to leave, they have to deal with inflation and soaring prices, from plane tickets to hotel nights, through the restaurant or the amusement park ticket.

So for those who refuse to give up on leisure, exchanging homes again appears as a solution to leave at lower cost.

The share of accommodation weighs up to 30% in a travel budget.

Read alsoHouse swapping: HomeExchange buys the British Love Home Swap

Concretely, home swapping amounts to offering your main or secondary residence, your holiday apartment or your chalet to other people for a few days or even a few weeks.

And to reside in exchange with the person you are hosting, whether they live in France or on the other side of the world.

All this without paying for the night and defining the terms (leaving the car available, paying all or part of the charges, etc.).

To access the goods of the platforms, you have to pay an annual subscription of around a hundred euros depending on the actor chosen, SwitchHome, HomeLink, HomeExchange or even Intervac, to name but a few.

The practice convinces, while still remaining relatively confidential.

HomeExchange, one of the best-known players in France, recently exceeded 110,000 members, compared to 108,000 at the start of March and 60,000 two years ago.

Read alsoHotel room prices are rising but customers accept it

Our biggest membership peak occurred in 2022, when travel conditions were relaxed: a salvo of 12,000 French people joined the platform.

This is 37% more than in 2019

 , ”reveals Sarah Marouzé, of HomeExchange.

The annual fee is 149 euros.

The key is the possibility of eyeing 180,000 homes around the world – including nearly 64,000 in France.

Last year, HomeExchange recorded 225,000 exchanges of stays - 32% more than in 2019. At the top of the requests: Paris, Barcelona, ​​or the French departments of Bouches-du-Rhône, Gironde and Morbihan.

But “

any accommodation, wherever it is located, always finds a buyer,

 ” assures Sarah Marouzé.

“All the little touches make you feel welcome”

Barcelona is one of the most demanded cities, like Paris.

Ekaterina Belova

The service is not new, but the crisis in purchasing power further strengthens its followers in their convictions.

This is explained by Sandrine Léon, who has exchanged her 46 m² Ile-de-France apartment 59 times in ten years.

This professional photographer assures us: since she and her family have exchanged their homes, they go “

every school holiday and even during bridges


Before, we did not leave as often, and, above all, we stayed less long on the spot


Moreover, the family only travels "

like that: it wouldn't even occur to us to go on vacation any other way."


The exchange experience is also highlighted by Laurence Julié.

With their hosts, "we

prepare a meal in advance, we set the table if the arrival is late, we leave a bottle of wine... All these little attentions make us feel welcome, it's very pleasant.

And, sometimes, the “

beautiful encounters

 ” between exchangers create real links: “

It's a human adventure and we often keep in touch after the exchange.

We happen to remain friends for several years



Read alsoHoliday rentals between individuals: 3 tips to avoid scams

Examples that Lilli Engle, president of HomeLink France, gladly puts forward.

Members have told us about their trip around the world thanks to the home exchange and all have told us about the kindness and generosity of their hosts


The organization began its activity in... 1953, by offering accommodation in the catalog for exchange.

It is currently only accessible online, for an annual subscription of 125 euros.

His particuliarity ?

Ask exchangers to mutually prepare a guide to the best addresses and reliable services and professionals in the area.

The exceptional beauty of the home exchange also lies in the notion of serendipity.

It's the fact of discovering an incredible place in a completely unexpected way

 ", underlines the one who has been running HomeLink France since 1989

. no one wants to leave room for the unexpected.


Read alsoTravel insurance: Covid-19, Visa and MasterCard cards… The answers to your main questions

Psychological and financial barriers

Home exchange platforms want to reassure by offering monitoring and guarantees covering possible material damage.


To convince new followers who may be more inclined to consider the practice in these times of tight budgets, platforms must overcome several fears.

It's not easy to consider welcoming a “foreigner” into your home… So the platforms ensure it: membership fees cover “

guarantees against theft, material damage, non-compliance…

 ” lists Sarah Marouzé.

HomeExchange requires a security deposit of $500.

If the cost of the damage is higher, the platform, via its insurance, covers it up to 1 million dollars.

Professionals are also trying to clear up holiday disaster scenarios.

A last minute cancellation from a host?

The team takes care of finding alternative accommodation in the same place

 ,” she replies.

Read also“Set-jetting”, this form of travel that we all already practice (without knowing it)

In the event of a major accident, home insurance can also intervene, provided of course that you have declared this home exchange beforehand.

During the formalization of the exchange with the host in writing, are therefore to include all the information relating to your insurance, their coverage and, if there are any, the deductibles.

Lilli Engle finally insists: “

To reassure you, you can lock up in a secure place what is fragile or precious.

And, at the end of the exchange, each of the two parties completes an evaluation sheet.

We follow the process from start to finish.


Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2023-03-24

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