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Frequently Asked Questions

About Know Your Trade
What is the best way to use the KYT database?
Why use KYT instead of individual home exchange sites?
Does KYT have an affiliation with any home exchange site?
How do we determine ratings?
How can I add my experience as a home exchanger?
 
General Questions about Home Exchange
What is home exchange?
Why should I join a home exchange?
Is it safe to let a stranger stay in my home?
 
Home Exchange Club Site Features
Do most home exchanges require membership?
What is the difference between an open and closed system? Does one have an advantage over the other?
Can I browse sites even if I am not a member?
Is there a way to tell if listings are up to date?
Do most sites allow photos?
Are there different kinds of home exchanges?
 
Choosing a Home Exchange Club
Are there home exchanges created specifically for certain groups?
Is there a home exchange club that KYT considers the cream of the crop?
Why are there so many different kinds of home exchange club sites?
Should I join more than one home exchange club?


What is the best way to use the KYT database?
KYT has created a list of all the home exchange web sites. (If you know of any that we have missed, please let us know.) Our database can be browsed by categories.

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Why use KYT instead of individual home exchange sites?
Know Your Trade knows about all home exchange sites. We have no agenda other than to simplify the process of choosing a home exchange and to create a community for all home exchangers to share, regardless of country or particular home exchange membership.

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Does KYT have an affiliation with any home exchange club?
Know Your Trade has no affiliation. We have joined as many clubs as we could so that we can rate them in every area possible, including member areas that are not always visible to visitors.

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How do we determine ratings?
Mouse over each rating to find the criteria for each category. Please take a look and feel free to offer any suggestions.

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How can I add my experience as a home exchanger?
KYT welcomes your input. Just go to the ratings page and input your ratings and comments about your present home exchange.

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General Questions About Home Exchange

What is home exchange?
Swapping homes is an idea that has been around since the 1950s. It has evolved from a catalogue based system to an almost exclusively web based one, although a few sites do still use catalogues. Home exchanges usually involve a mutual exchange of homes for an agreed period of time. Many swaps are done simultaneously, but some are non-simultaneous. Most of the time the arrangements are made by the traders, though some of the sites assist in arranging a trade.

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Why should I join a home exchange?
The three most compelling reasons to become a home exchanger are money, space, and an opportunity to "live like a local".

Money:
At least 20 percent of a travel budget is spent on lodging. This goes much higher, of course, in prime locations. Restaurant bills are decreased or even eliminated, if desired. Some exchangers even throw in an automobile.

Space:
Who wouldn't want more space in an accommodation, especially if staying in one location for more than a day or tow. Added bonus: Often families exchanging with other families leave toys and bikes for the exchange family to use.

Living like a local:
Often in a home exchange one becomes immersed in the neighborhood. There are many stories of children making friends with neighborhood children. The last time we were in Paris , we got to know the local shop owners. It was a great opportunity to experience a slice of Parisian life, outside of the usual tourist attractions.

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Is it safe to let a stranger stay in my home?
All home exchange clubs state that it is extremely rare to have any problems during a home exchange. On digsville.com, I found this statistic, "An international, vacation home exchange survey, polling over 1,000 home exchangers from the United States and forty other countries, returned a finding of not one case of theft. Even incidents such as a party consuming bottles of wine and not replacing the same, were few and far between."

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Home Exchange Club Site Features

Do most home exchanges require membership?
All sites require membership. All do not charge a fee, however.

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What is the difference between an open and closed system? Does one have an advantage over the other?
Open systems are those that allow visitors to view and contact listings. Closed systems only allow contact by members of the home exchange site, although viewing listings and photos is usually permitted.

Both have advantages. In an open system, listers can be contacted by visitors as well as members of the site, thus opening a wider avenue for exchanges. A closed system guarantees that members can only be contacted by other members, thus offering some measure of security.

There is also a third option that a few agencies use. Free membership allows the member to be contacted but s/he cannot contact other members.

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Can I browse sites even if I am not a member?
Most sites allow visitors to view listings and photos. Only a very few sites require membership for browsing.

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Is there a way to tell if listings are up to date?
It varies from site to site. Some sites have a latest listings area on the home page, others have the date of membership, expiration date, or last update noted on each member’s listing. Some sites have no indication.

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Do most sites allow photos?
Every site allows photos. The range is immense. Some sites only allow one photo which must be emailed in; some require them to be reduced to a very small size, while others allow unlimited pictures, panoramic or even movies.

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Are there different kinds of home exchanges?
Yes, there are many different kinds of exchange sites. Some are:
Open/closed
Specialty
•Vacation or second home

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Is my contact information visible to people browsing the site?
Most sites hide contact information. Some do have lister’s information available to members, while others include the email address only for direct contact. Still others provide no direct contact,

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Are there home exchanges created specifically for certain groups?
Yes, we have found sites that are geared towards people with disabilities, gay/lesbian, religious groups such as Christian, Jewish, Latter Day Saints, teachers and sabbatical exchanges.

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Is there a home exchange club that KYT considers the cream of the crop?
KYT has rated all the home exchange clubs based on specific criteria. However, the only way to really find the best is to get your input. Tell us which sites you like and don’t like and why.

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Why are there so many different kinds of home exchange club sites?
The answer to that, in one word, is competition. As Gypsy Rose Lee famously said, “You gotta have a gimmick.” New sites are coming into being. Everyone is trying to crawl to the top of the heap. Some of the gimmicks will work, others not. Time will tell.

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Should I join more than one home exchange club?
If time and budget permit, it may be beneficial to join more than one club. For example, if you have a particular destination in mind, it may help to join one that is based in that area in addition to one of the larger ones. Or join one of the newer clubs that has unique features to help it grow in addition to a more established club.

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