Interested in doing a home exchange? Many people find that home exchanges are the perfect way to explore the world safely and inexpensively. You get the same comforts of home for much less than you would pay for other accommodations like hotels. Swapping homes is relatively simple and quite exciting, but for first-timers, it may be overwhelming wondering where to begin. Luckily, this guide will explain the basics of each type of home exchange, such as direct and indirect, and how to choose the best option for you. Let’s get started!

What Does It Mean to Exchange Homes?

The name says it all. A home exchange or house swap is when two people temporarily exchange homes for a set period of time. Generally, both homes are located in different areas, be it different cities, states, or even countries. What’s more, is that the properties often vary in style. You might own a high-rise apartment in New York City or Chicago, whereas your exchange partner might have a beach house in Jamaica or a ski chalet in the mountains. The beauty of trading homes is that you never have to visit the same place twice.

What Types of Homes Are Eligible for Exchange?

If you were to search for a home exchange website, you’d find several different options. However, not all home exchange sites are created equal because there is more than one way to do a house swap. For starters, a house exchange can occur between homeowners’ primary residences or their second residences, such as vacation homes, investment properties, or fractional resort properties.

ThirdHome’s exchange club, for example, is exclusive to luxury second homes rather than primary residences to ensure the best experience possible. Staying in someone’s primary home often feels intrusive and uncomfortable because they contain the owner’s personal belongings. What’s more, is that exchanging primary residences limits when and where you can travel. When you swap primary residences, both parties are bound to that property’s specific location. 

A vacation home exchange, on the other hand, enables members to travel to more destinations and in more unique accommodations, such as yachts and five-star resorts. Not only can you swap your home for a stay in any destination of your choosing, but you’re also using your investment to your advantage. Rather than feeling guilty about your second property sitting empty, you can leverage it for additional and unique travel opportunities. It’s a win-win.

Understanding the Different Types of Home Swap Models

Direct Exchanges

Swapping primary residences translates to a direct exchange, which is where you simultaneously stay in somebody else’s home while they stay in yours. However, direct exchanges require you to find not only someone who wants to stay in your home but whose calendar and schedule also align with yours, which is especially challenging if you’re interested in a long-term swap. The direct exchange model doesn’t allow for flexibility of location or time frame and demands more advanced and extensive planning.

If you were to search for the perfect home swap match, it would take a lot of time and effort, including frequent correspondence. In fact, on average, 40 emails are exchanged between the guest and host members, which can be cumbersome.

Additionally, a direct home exchange may be difficult to arrange, depending on the location of your home. For example, someone with a penthouse in New York City might not be particularly interested in trading houses with someone in Oklahoma or Kansas. Consequently, direct exchanges tend to have a low rate of success.

Indirect Exchanges

An indirect exchange allows you to stay at another member’s home, even if they don’t stay in yours. The accommodating member receives an exchange credit to use as payment for their next exchange. This eliminates the need to coordinate schedules and allows maximum flexibility. 

ThirdHome, for example, uses the indirect exchange model by awarding Keys (credits) to members when they offer stays at their home. This, in turn, allows the member to use their Keys where and when they want without having to find another member who wants to use their home. As a result, members are able to make real-time bookings and plans without having to send speculative requests and wait for responses. 

Best of all, ThirdHome’s indirect exchange model is designed to work in tandem with conventional renting. Because our members choose which weeks they make available to other members of the Club, they are able to list any additional weeks on rental platforms, so they never need to worry about losing rental income.

Now that you’re familiar with the different types of home exchanges getting started is easy. To join ThirdHome’s exchange club, simply qualify your home, browse our wide array of inventory, and begin traveling.

If you would like to learn more about our luxury home exchange opportunities, click here to browse our properties or visit our FAQ page.

ThirdHome’s private exchange club offers luxury second homeowners unique benefits and exclusive experiences that other short-term rental sites can’t provide.

Rather than renting a home through traditional vacation sites like Airbnb or Vrbo, home swapping allows owners to spend time at other luxurious homes for a fraction of the cost. When you book stays through our Club, you pay a nominal fee between $495 and $1,395 for the week, saving an average of 90-95% compared to rental rates. What’s more, is the peace of mind knowing that only vetted, qualified second homeowners can exchange with your property.

Perhaps the most exciting perk is that our members have access to incredible properties worldwide that are exclusive to ThirdHome. Here are five luxury vacation properties only available to Club members.

1. Blowing Rock Mountain Dream Home | Blowing Rock, North Carolina

Nestled in western North Carolina, this dreamy mountain abode is dressed to impress, with large windows and balconies overlooking Blue Ridge Parkway – AKA “America’s Favorite Drive.” The 8,250-square-foot home sports eight bedrooms and eight bathrooms, offering plenty of comfort and space for up to 16 guests. ThirdHome members who book Blowing Rock Mountain Dream Home will marvel at its luxurious amenities, which include a baby grand piano, elevator, game room with a 150″ projection screen, table tennis, pool table, and karaoke. You will be only minutes from Appalachian Ski Mountain, downtown, and the Blowing Rock Country Club.

2. La Quinta Escape | La Quinta, California

Located within minutes of 25 world-class golf courses, mountain biking, hiking, shopping, and high-end dining, your time at this luxurious Southern California destination will be well spent. The four-bedroom, five-bathroom home resides in a gated community, only five minutes from Old Town La Quinta. Those who escape to this marvelous exchange home will be in awe of its resort-style patio with panoramic views of the Santa Ana Mountains. And with a crystal blue heated pool, spa, and lounge seating, you can enjoy time soaking up the endless sunshine.

3. Miranda Penthouse by the Sea | Playa del Carmen, Mexico

With expansive, open ocean views, this stunning penthouse is located on Calle 38 Norte. This is the most popular, tree-lined street location in Playa del Carmen, situated only 150 feet from one of the most beautiful Caribbean beaches in the world. Miranda Penthouse by the Sea offers three bedrooms, four bathrooms, and access to the building’s outstanding guest amenities. Here, you will find a resort-style rooftop pool area, complete with more panoramic ocean views, loungers, two large jacuzzi hot tubs, a built-in bar, an outdoor shower, and an outdoor dining and lounging area with a TV for additional entertainment. Plus, members who book this lavish property can also take advantage of a state-of-the-art gym.

4. Maui Oceanview Estate with a Pool | Wailea, Hawaii

If we had to sum up this spectacular Hawaiian estate in one word, it would be “WOW!” As you approach this private, fully-gated property, you’ll immediately see the magnificent glistening sapphire blue ocean, which offers breathtaking sunsets year-round. The home is approximately 5,000 square feet and includes four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a separate cottage, and unobstructed, 180-degree ocean views of Lanai, Molokai, and West Maui. Outdoor living is plentiful and peaceful, with large covered ocean-view decks surrounding the saltwater pool and spa (heated year-round at no additional charge). Best of all, ThirdHome members can bring their four-legged friends, as there is plenty of gated outside space for them to discover.

5. Modern Mountain Masterpiece | Glenwood Springs, Colorado

This beautifully curated, four-bedroom, three-bathroom home has been exceptionally engineered, with attention to detail everywhere you look. Situated on six elevated acres, the house is positioned to take advantage of the spectacular mountain views! Members who book this Colorado getaway will enjoy several lavish features, such as a covered outdoor living room, media room, fitness room, large laundry room, and sauna. Whether you are looking for an adventurous outdoor/ski vacation or a quiet getaway, this exclusive ThirdHome property has it all!

Click here to view all available weeks and plan your next ThirdHome Exchange trip. Remember, you must be logged in to your account to see availability.

Want more information about our Exchange Club? Click here to learn more about ThirdHome.

Have you been considering a vacation home exchange? You might not know it, but there are a few things to take into consideration before deciding on one.

From finding the perfect location to verifying the safety of your potential exchange partner to picking the right time for your trip, here are some tips to make sure that your vacation house exchange is a great experience.

Tips for finding the perfect vacation home exchange

When considering a vacation home exchange, location is one of the most important factors to keep in mind. Unless your goal is to be off-grid, you want to be able to enjoy your home away from home without being too far away from all the activities, so it’s best to stay within driving distance of areas with things to do that you enjoy.

One way to find safe and great locations for your house swap is by using a reputable website like ThirdHome. This type of specialized home swap site allows you to search based on certain features like location and amenities. It also enables you to list your own home for swaps.

If you are looking for a more personalized choice on locations, consider asking family members or friends who tend to travel often about favorite places they have visited.

How to verify your potential exchange partner

When considering a holiday house exchange, it’s important to make sure your potential partner is trustworthy.

To put your mind at ease, we recommend doing some research on your potential partner before making any commitments.

You can verify their identity and find out more about them by checking their profile and recent reviews on specialized house-swapping sites. If they have a good track record with other hosts, this is a good sign that they’re trustworthy and are vetted.

Also, you can reach out directly and ask any relevant questions you might have.

A lot of people are using sites like ThirdHome to set up home swaps so that the exchange is safer than if you were setting it up all on your own. This is a great way to find someone you can trust for a house exchange.

Tips for picking the right time for your trip

One important component to think about when planning a house trade is when you would like to travel. There are many factors that can affect your decision, but generally, the best time for a vacation house exchange is during shoulder season.

As you might expect, this time of the year has fewer tourists and more opportunities for peaceful relaxation. You will also save money on flights because there is less demand, so ticket prices are lower. If you’re looking for a change of pace from the busy holiday season, then shoulder season could be right for you!

Most people think of summer when they think of using a vacation house, but winter may be an even better option for some people! It all comes down to what you’re looking for in an exchange experience and the purpose of your trip. If you’re trying to write your next novel, it may be best to go during off times when things are quieter…

But you can really go anytime you want, as long as your potential exchange partners are open to it. Just keep in mind that there may be more crowds and higher prices around the holidays and during high season, whenever that might be in the destination of your choice.

Tips for making the experience more memorable

Since it takes time and effort to find the perfect location, to avoid regretting your choice, for most people, we recommend finding a place that:


No matter what your dream vacation looks like, you’ll be sure to find your perfect house and location for swapping on specialized sites like ThirdHome which has over 14,000 listings all over the globe. Then it’s just a matter of deciding when to go and you’re ready for your next adventure.

Happy vacation home exchange planning!

Get started on your home exchange adventure with ThirdHome here:

Would you let a stranger into your home? For most people, the resounding answer would be a definite no. But did you know that there has been an increase of almost 300% in travellers placing their homes online to do just that?

Home exchanging is quickly gaining popularity as a way to find excellent properties without the high fees. Read on as we give our essential vacation home exchange guide.

Vacation Home Exchange

What is a Vacation Home Exchange?

Home exchange is when you swap your home with another person or family. People who do this can be found on numerous websites. Most websites follow the same method.

The journey starts by signing up. A membership fee is charged and after this, you have access to a number of homes on offer. You create a listing for the home you want to exchange, browse others that are available then contact the members to discuss a swap.

Exchanges can take part in a number of ways. A simultaneous exchange is where you both swap homes at the same time. The other party will stay in your home and you will stay in theirs.

Another way to do it is a non-simultaneous exchange. This is where you swap houses but at different times. You may use the other person’s home, then a few months later they could use yours.

The final one is a hospitality exchange. In a way, this is like a homestay as you occupy the property while the other person visits.

Vacation Home Exchange: How Does It Work?

What Makes Our Service Different?

Our service is different as we specialize in the exchange of luxe and high-end properties. These are situated in the best locations across the globe, allowing you to travel in style.

Vacation Home Exchange Explained

Exchanging your vacation home is a surprisingly easy process. All you need is a home to allow others to use. With just a quick registration, you can do it in three steps.

Apply for Membership

Not everyone can become a member of our vacation home exchange. This is to ensure that all homes are of the highest standard and visitors will take care of the property.

The home you submit to exchange must be in an appropriate location. Furnishings and finishes will get checked to see if it is a high-end home. A minimum property value of $500,000 applies to keep the standard high.

Joining the Club

Once accepted, an expert from our member experience team will contact you to discuss the details. This will include your travel preferences, lifestyle, schedule, and interests.

Our club works on a key system. The more time you allocate for people to use your home, the more keys you get. When you have keys, you can use them to gain time in other luxurious properties.

Reserving Trips

Once arranged, you can begin reserving your trips. We have a wide range of properties. From city breaks to oceanside villas, you are sure to find something you want.

You will never get charged an overnight fee to stay on the property. Instead, an exchange fee applies based on the keys that you have accumulated.

What Are the Costs?

How much does ThirdHome cost?

The costs to take part in a vacation exchange are minimal. Your first-year initiation fee is free. After this, you will be charged a flat fee of $295 on the first January of each year.

The only other costs are the exchange fee. Your fee can range from around $495 to $1395 for a week stay, depending on how many keys you have accumulated.

Creating Your Listing

There are a few vacation home exchange tips that you should use when creating your listing. Your listing is important, as the more people you attract to the property the more keys you get. In turn, you will get more time at other properties.

Begin by staging the house. Call in a cleaner and get great lighting set up. After this, hire a professional photographer to get some shots of your beautiful home.

Don’t forget to show the surroundings either. If you have a stunning beachside location or mountain vista then make sure it is seen. A great way to do this and incorporate it with the home is to consider drone photography to capture shots from the air.

Bolivia Vacation Home Exchange

Vacation Home Exchange Tips

There are a number of tips you can use to ensure you enjoy our service. Below is our vacation home exchange advice to get the most from the system.

Start Searching Early

A last-minute break is obviously not conducive to a home exchange. Ideally, you want to plan a visit around three to six months in advance. You will get plenty of time to prepare and will be able to get a selection of properties that have not yet been reserved.

Have Clear Expectations

When swapping homes, you should be clear about your expectations and that of your hosts. There is no right or wrong way to swap a home, but many people will have different views on how it should be done. It is better to iron out these beforehand.

For example, will you be expecting cleaners to visit while you are at the property? How do you plan to exchange the keys? Is there a guide on how the system in the housework or will it be left to you to work it out?

All of these are questions you should check in advance. This will ensure there are no surprises or disappointment at any stage.

Starting Your Journey

Now you know about how to use a vacation home exchange, start your journey. Arrange your listing for the property you want to exchange and begin building your profile. Before long, you will be experiencing the vacation of a lifetime.

You won’t find more luxurious home exchanges than Third Home. We have over 14,500 properties in 100 countries. Contact us here to discuss your application and let us start your journey.

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