Finding someone to take care of your pets while you’re away on summer vacation can be a real headache. Between the high boarding fees at the fancy dog hotel or finding a reliable friend, it can all be too much to handle. However, there’s a solution you may not have thought of: home exchange.
- What exactly is home exchange?
- How to board my pets for free this summer?
- Home exchange: the preferred travel solution for animal lovers
What exactly is home exchange?
Home exchange is a long cherished practice that is becoming more well-known throughout the world. The concept? You exchange your home with someone who lives in an area in which you would like to spend your vacation and they come and stay at yours.
Are there fees? There are several home exchange sites on the market. However, GuestToGuest is free to join, there are no subscription fees, and their user base has already reached 200,000 members.
How does it work? The GuestToGuest home exchange community offers you the unique opportunity to conduct both reciprocal and non-reciprocal exchanges. What does this mean? This means you don’t necessarily need to swap with each other for the same dates, or even at all! Your guest may not live in an area that interests you, so they can suggest an exchange for points, which you can then use to travel to an area that does interest you.
Cecilia offers her home in Ecuador for exchange and asks her guests to take care of her animals. “Our home is a small paradise away from the world, we have horses, cats, chickens, dogs…”
A reciprocal exchange is when you go to stay at the person’s home who is coming to yours. However, GuestToGuest offers a unique system called “GuestPoints”. GuestPoints are assigned to your home on a per night basis. You can stay at someone’s home by exchanging GuestPoints without the person having to travel to yours. With this same principle, you can also host without having to travel to your guest’s home and eventually travel thanks to their exchanged GuestPoints.
How to board my pets for free this summer?
Let’s say you sign up on GuestToGuest to offer your home for exchange during July or even in August. You are contacted by a few users who will then stay at your home while you plan to be on vacation. In your home profile and private messages, you may ask your guests to take care of your animals and feed them. Therefore, while you travel on vacation, not only is your home being looked after, but your cherished pets as well.
Stéphanie lives in Brittany and explains in her profile, “our entire family loves animals. During our exchanges we ask that our guests take care of our ponies, chickens, and rabbit”.
The advantage of home exchange with pets
- You are the one who decides who will stay in your home and therefore can make an important judgement on who would be suited to look after them
“My home is an old farmhouse in the heart of Brittany, in the subdepartment of Finistère,” explains Isabelle. “We have horses that will need taking care of while we are away, along with 3 cats. Experienced horseback riders are welcome to enjoy!”
You too can display on your home profile which animals you would like your guests to care for.
- The home exchange site is entirely secure, there are verified profiles, and optional services to further ensure the exchange. You can for example choose to set a deposit on your home or to require your guests to purchase insurance provided by GuestToGuest’s insurance partner, MAIF.
- You can additionally verify that the people you are hosting are genuine animal lovers by searching for the following groups on their profile: These logos indicate that the person is a member of the “cat lovers” or “dog lovers” group.
Cyril, who has a llama farm in Arçon, a region in eastern France, explains on his profile that “we are a couple in our thirties in love with our animal farm. Here we have our own safe haven that will allow you to recharge, we are also active in a tourism association focused on llamas. Within the season, we can propose excursions with our llamas to our guests.
- By leaving your cat or dog in their natural habitat you can reduce the stress a change of environment can bring to them.
Judith, member of GuestToGuest explains in her profile “My home in Zwaagdijk is Noah’s arc! I live at home with 3 cats who do not travel with me, so I’d like my guests take care of them during their stay in my home.”
By having guests in your home, your animals can benefit from the same level of attention that you would give them. Contrary to a petsitter paid by the hour, your guests live in your home and can therefore take care of your pets more often.
Josiane has a home in Brittany with donkeys and goats. “My husband and I love this method of travel by exchanging accommodation as it allows us to meet new people and sometimes stay in contact.”
- You can verify your profile by sending in a proof of ownership to GuestToGuest and select to only be contacted by other verified members
Among the animal lovers on GuestToGuest, Colette offers her ranch for exchange: “our ranch is 160 acres situated in California. We adore animals; we have horses, llamas, donkeys, and plenty of other farm animals.”
Home Exchange: the preferred travel solution for animal lovers
- Thanks to home exchange you can find people like you and meet those who share your same values and love of animals in France, Canada, South America, and more.
“From here the view over the Pyrénées is breathtaking. We live on an active farm with cows and sheep. There is nothing better to discover the world of agriculture. And the chickens continue to lay eggs even while we are away.” By exchanging your home with Christophe and Caroline in the south of France means you can even try their neighbors bread, cheese, and organic vegetables.
- Travel to unique destinations where your children can learn about life on a farm or even a ranch.
If life with horses or goats in the heart of nature is what you seek, sign up now to browse our homes available around the world such as this ranch in the states.
At this home in the Calvados, cats encounter sea creatures and dogs accompany their owners for beach sailing.
- Leave behind the boredom of anonymous hotels and the feeling of missing your animals and travel to homes with cats and dogs ready to greet you.
A quick look at a our four legged friends:
In this magnificent colonial style home at the heart of a tropical forest in Brazil.
Dogs are treated like kings in this magnificent home in the heart of the Czech Semnice forest.