Q: I live in London and am looking to visit Melbourne in 2020 for an extended stay. I'm quite flexible with my travel dates but would like to stay from anywhere between 4 - 6 months. Home exchanging looks like it could be a good option but are there any limits to the length of a home exchange? - Jason (London)
A: Hi Jason! Thanks for getting in touch. Home swapping can be a great way to try a new location for an extended period of time - we've even seen a number of members arrange home swaps so that they can try living in a new location 'as a local' before deciding whether to move there permanently. It can be ideal as you'll enjoy free accommodation and, as you'll be swapping, you'll not have some of the headaches involved in renting out your own property (minimum rental contracts, buy-to-let mortgages, etc).
Although the majority of home swaps are for shorter periods of typically 1 – 4 weeks, there is no limit to the length and many members arrange exchanges of anything from 3 months to 1+ years, it totally depends on the length agreed between you and your swap partner.
It can of course be a bit more difficult finding longer term exchanges and so it's important to give yourself plenty of time; Join Home Base Holidays several months before your planned travel dates and be as proactive as possible (contact a number of members to suggest a swap). You might even look into arranging more than one exchange or arranging one swap and using rental accommodation for any period not covered. This will give you the chance to move around and get a feel for more than one area.
For shorter exchanges or 1-2 weeks, members typically do not contribute to utility bills (water, electricity, gas, broadband, etc). However, when arranging a longer term exchange, make sure to discuss and agree all these details prior to moving ahead with the exchange.
Tip: to browse current long term exchange offers, go to the home swap search page and select ‘Long term exchange’ from the ‘Type of exchange’ options.