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Authenticity and value - why "going local" with home exchange makes so much sense...

Here are some key reasons why "going local" via home exchanging makes so much sense... you may discover more reasons as you grow your travel via home exchange experiences. Yes - it takes a bit of time and a bit of trust—but the rewards go way beyond most people's expectations.

Click the headings below to explore each benefit below on this page:

Home exchange simply means that two families from different parts of the world (or within Canada if you wish to pursue a domestic exchange) formally agree to exchange homes for vacations. Depending on the two families' mutual agreement, locations and circumstances, swaps can be for just a weekend or up to several months. A typical exchange is for 2 to 4 weeks with swapping of cars being an important but optional part of most home exchange deals. Since *no* money changes hands between our members (this is also called barter), Intervac members can have "free" vacations anywhere in the world simply by agreeing to exchange their homes and cars.

Intervac invented home exchanging over 50 years ago... and we have grown by referrals from thousands of satisfied members who have proven this unique travel concept – one exchange at a time. You can also substantially enhance the quality of your next vacation trip while saving money by joining Intervac. Here is why:

AUTHENTIC TRAVEL EXPERIENCE - by immersion into another culture, region and lifestyle

Most travellers find it difficult to connect with the "locals" in a meaningful way despite the growing desire to engage with the local culture. With Intervac you can fully immerse yourself into another culture and local lifestyle by living like a local resident as opposed to being a tourist. You can experience the true flavour of your chosen destination through its local people by meeting friends and neighbours of your exchange partner who will ensure a warm welcome and provide "insider" information about their community and region. Most of our members report very satisfying "local culture" experiences which cannot be replicated in any other way. We believe that home exchanging appeals to many people who are looking for "slow travel" where you take your time to experience your destination in a greater depth. You may wish to read what our members say about their experiences.

COMPELLING ECONOMICS - by eliminating hotel and car expenses

Any dream vacation suddenly becomes affordable via home exchange by eliminating most hotel and car rental expenses. Our annual listing fee is a fraction of what it costs to stay at a resort or hotel for just one day. But with home exchanging your family can suddenly afford to experience almost any destination in the world while also giving you more spending money to sample local specialties, tours and restaurants. You will also have a fully-equipped kitchen of another member's home to prepare family meals when you choose not to eat in restaurants. This is deluxe living for less at its best. As one member said - with home exchange you can drink champagne on a beer budget - as you will have covered the most expensive part of any vacation which is the accommodation and car rental costs. You will find that you will reap substantial rewards that far exceed your efforts. Except for the cost of getting to your destination, a vacation almost anywhere in the world doesn’t cost much more than staying at home.

COMFORTS - of a home and local community when vacationing

When staying in a private home your family will enjoy more space, privacy, comfort and independence. You will have at your disposal the convenience of a fully-equipped kitchen, living space, bathrooms and bedrooms for all family members. This is a huge difference from staying in a hotel room! And if your vacation plans include visiting relatives, you can enjoy their company when it is mutually convenient and enjoyable for all parties - as opposed to living with relatives 24 hours a day. Friends and/or neighbours can enhance visitors' stay or assist with any issues while an exchange is in progress. Frequently exchange families remain friends for many years - and later even arrange youth hospitality exchanges for their teenagers.

Here is one blogger's comparison between home exchanging and taking a cruise:

* On board the ship you lodge in a cabin the size of most homes' closets.

* Separate bedrooms for each child? No - try a bunkbed two feet above your nose and a sofabed you can't get past to use the bathroom.

* A full kitchen to store beverages and prepare healthy food? No, it's four heavy meals a day and a midnight buffet.

* Most swap homes have wireless internet while cruise ships charge about a dollar for two minutes of web access.

SECURITY - of your home when vacationing

If you preview our live database you can see that our members are people of substance - professionals, business owners or retirees. Our typical member is over 35 years of age - mature adults who own and respect property. Home and car exchange arrangements are made directly between any two Intervac families. You decide who you want to exchange with and you can get to know them before making your decision. Our members take care of each other's properties while vacationing. Insurance companies prefer to have your home occupied when you are vacationing. Indeed many home owner insurance policies start to automatically reduce coverage if your home sits empty for a longer periods of time. With home exchange both member's home are occupied and protected as opposed to sitting empty when you vacation. Knowing that your home is in good hands of another Intervac member like you will be very re-assuring and help you relax during your vacation.

SERENDIPITY - of finding amazing off-the-beaten path destinations

Most members are open to any interesting exchange offer and therefore your Intervac membership can open new travel opportunities which are *not* typically considered or even available to "average" tourists. Imagine living in a Danish fishing port.... or a western Canadian ranch... or a historic French village... or in Manhattan overlooking the Central Park... or on a barge moored in central Amsterdam! Such new travel possibilities created by Intervac membership are endless. If you are flexible you can let serendipity and/or spontaneity take you to places you have never dreamt about. Home exchangers report that their best holidays were in some of the most unexpected places around the world. So just go with the flow!

RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL - by reducing pressures of mass tourism

We believe that home exchanging reduces demand for mass tourism developments such as hotels, resorts and fleets of rental cars as our members stay in private homes and use private cars. We "blend in" right into the local community and typically support local shops and markets. This is what we came to experience. We also encourage our members to buy "carbon offsets" to compensate for "green house" emissions produced by their car and/or airline travel. Intervac supports the growing movement towards responsible travel.

ALIGNED With SLOW TRAVEL - by enabling a deeper connection to a place

There is a growing recognition of the benefits of the “slow movement” which celebrates an enhanced and deeper connection to food, to places, to people and ultimately a more satisfying connection to life.Slow travel is one example of this trend as travelers strive to become part of local life through a deeper connection to a specific place, its people and their culture. Slow travel is the opposite of those hectic “vacation package” tours where tourists are rushed between “must see” sites and return home tired and with only a blurred recollection of where they have been.

Home exchanging is perfectly aligned with the slow travel movement as our members stay in each other’s homes for the duration of their pre-arranged exchange period. Members find each other on our database so they can vacation in other members’ homes, cottages, apartments, condos and villas. They can live and shop locally and use a fully-equipped ‘home away from home’. This is an important part of experiencing your travel destination as a "slow traveler".


As one of our members said so eloquently: "... home exchange is an act of international trust, cooperation and exploration at the individual level that one has to experience to really understand. It is important to me to move the exchange beyond a free home/car arrangement by properly receiving my exchange guests in my community including meeting my friends, family or local professionals with a common interest."

Indeed - home exchangers experience much more of their destination for much less cost.

Join Intervac - and vacation at home ... anywhere in the world