the World with Holiday Trades
RV Trips Around the Globe by Jaimie Hall
Update 3/22/2012: Holitrade, mentoned in this article, is no longer in business.
Through RV and caravan clubs, you might find someone willing to exchange RVs -- or caravans as they are called in many other countries. The International Caravanning Association is a worldwide organization that organizes tours in many parts of the world. Their Web site has a "Rig Swop" page that lists members wanting to exchange rigs. Search for the caravan association for the country you are interested in to find other swaps. You may also find ads for swaps at these Web sites:
House exchanges are quite popular. Do an Internet search and you'll find many Web sites that provide a venue for making an exchange. Most are limited to trading "stick" (brick-and-mortar) housing. Holitrade, however, has expanded this idea to include exchanging not only houses, but campervans or RVs, cars, boats, yachts and timeshares -- all on the same site. You might be able to trade the use of your motorhome for a stay in a house or even a houseboat! (Holitrade charges no fees.)
Another house exchange Web site is Seniors Home Exchange. For the over-50 age group, this site also lists RVs and campervans along with houses. (Seniors Home Exchange charges a fee.)
With house sitting, you care for someone's home
-- and often their pets -- while they are on vacation. Duties
are usually minimal, so you have time to explore the area.
Caretaker Gazette lists house sitting and caretaker assignments all over the world. Some are for extended periods of time and may involve pay. Caretaker Gazette (which charges a subscription fee) has both a print and online edition as well as email notification of new opportunities. Also, an Internet search for "house sitting" will turn up a number of other Web sites.
These Web sites act as brokers. They do not investigate people who place an ad. Working out the exchange and its details is up to the two parties. At the Holitrade site, see the FAQs for a list of items to discuss. The UK Motorhomes site suggests these thoughts for first-time exchangers:
- Place your listing or ad at least 6-8 months prior to your contemplated holiday.
- Look for an exchange with a motor home that is similar in size to your own. Remember you will be in a different country and you will need to concentrate on traffic conditions and road signs rather than the size of the vehicle.
- Come to an agreement over insurance and any other costs that may occur during the exchange, for example if the fridge breaks down, or you get a blow-out in one of the tyres.
- Join a motor home association in the country you intend to holiday in. They can often make bookings for you on ferries etc and provide good information on camping sites.
- Keep in constant touch with the people you have exchanged with building up a bond with them so that you both feel comfortable with the exchange.
A couple of years ago, my granddaughter and I traveled to New Zealand and rented a campervan. Three weeks was not time enough to see all of even the South Island, plus renting a campervan was expensive. I'd love to go back for another, longer visit. I'll definitely be checking out exchanges!