Home exchangers say 'most people are trustworthy'

(Photo by Jeff Hire)

A study of home exchangers has found that over 75% regard most people as "trustworthy".

'My House is Yours' is the first in-depth study of people using home exchange to travel the world. It was carried out by the University of Bergamo and based on a survey of 7,000 members of the HomeExchange.com website.

The vast majority of participants (93%) said they were satisfied with their home exchange experience, with 81% saying they had swapped homes more than once.

The study suggested home exchange was about much more than saving pennies, with 98% saying they were interested in cultural heritage and 84% wanting to visit museums and nature parks at their home swap destination.

Nearly two-thirds (62%) described themselves as having a high level of education and just under half (49%) said they had taken part in a home exchange with their kids.

The USA, France, Spain, Canada and Italy were the top five countries of residency for the home swappers.

Over two-thirds (69%) took advantage of having access to fully equipped kitchens by preparing their own meals while on holiday, while 63% said fairtrade food and 73% said organic food were important to them.

When not out and about sightseeing, 59% of homeswappers said they participated in local community and youth services, wildlife preservation, cultural preservation or animal welfare.

Researchers Francesca Forno, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Sociology of Consumption, and Roberta Garibaldi, Assistant Professor of Marketing and Tourism Marketing concluded that "people are turning more and more to models of consumption that emphasise community over selfishness", and that home exchange "may help to make our societies work better towards a sustainable future".

"Swapping houses is one of the most significant boundaries of modern tourism, because it incorporates some of the dynamics that characterise the tourist of the new millennium: the increasingly felt desire to travel several times a year, even with limited budgets, the need to organise tailor-made trips as personalised as possible and the desire to make the trip an authentic experience … not only to know a new country with all its attractions, but also to immerse yourself in a new culture," they said.