There are many sites now that enable you to arrange for home exchanges – that is where one person contacts another and arranges to swap houses for a set period of time. You can also swap RV’s, boats, vacation homes, anything you can think of where people can sleep. These exchanges are perfect for everyone. They can be a one night stay by yourself or a one year stay abroad with your entire family. Home exchanges do not need to be simultaneous. You can do non-simultaneous, for example, where a family comes to stay in your house while you are visiting family for Christmas and you stay in their house over the summer while they are visiting their family.
You set the parameters and make the agreement suitable to both parties. I have seen many different offers – from the smallest one bedroom studio to castles.
The sites we use are www.homeexchange.com and www.homeforexchange.com and we have had great successes with both. Through the former we were asked to swap our modest duplex for a luxurious home on a private lake in The Adirondacks of NY (see photo above & Peaceful Lake Retreat Blog). We also found a free apartment in Dublin, Ireland for the Navy-Notre Dame Football game through the latter site. Everyone was paying thousands for their trip staying in hotels while we saved thousands and could walk to everything!
Home exchanges are a great way to experience living like a local all while having privacy and personal space.