Love Home Swap, a socially connected home exchange site, is providing travelers interested in a local experience with an inexpensive, yet stylish way to spend their holiday. The site, which has approximately 2,800 listings worldwide and allows members to connect with other members through Facebook, showcases chic homes located in some of the world's most desirable cities and neighborhoods. Although there is no required screening process to join the online community, almost all the listed properties appear to be just as lovely as some of the finest B&Bs across the globe.
This week, the site is launching a brand new Facebook app, which will allow prospective members to browse and join the online community of swappers. Using the app, new members will be able to add their listings and allow existing members to exchange messages and arrange swaps.
Founder Debbie Wosskow believes her site is different from other home exchange sites because of the level of trust that exists between members. Wosskow says that once people agree to a swap, they happily provide tips on where to eat, shop, relax, exercise and enjoy the best local attractions. The partnerships often result in friendships, which make each stay a very personal and welcoming experience. And just for a little extra assurance, the site has an established "Trust Center" which enables users to search for "starred-members." Members earn a star if they have connected with Facebook, swapped before, respond quickly to requests or have authenticated their home with Experian.
Another wonderful aspect of the home exchange is that swaps can be "asymmetrical" -- one party can choose to stay seven nights in an 800-square-foot apartment in SoHo, while the other party has the availability to spend 10 nights in a six-bedroom beach house in Bali. And swapping does not need to be simultaneous; parties can agree upon any arrangement that is convenient for all involved.
It's also a particularly nice alternative for families who love to travel but don't want to spend an exorbitant amount of money on accommodations -- the annual membership fee is $159 for the Love Home Swap and $299 for the Luxe membership -- and for business travelers looking for a home away from home.