... and the best gay homes around the world
Home Around the World is a long-established LGBT home swap and hospitality site, widely known for having some of the loveliest homes available for exchange and also the friendliness of our members. Whether you are gay or gay-friendly, single, a couple, a gay parent or are just looking to make new friends with whom to swap your home, you and your partner will always be assured of a warm welcome...and the feeling that you're almost home.
Our site guides you step-by-step through the joining process from creating your personal profile and your property listing to contacting our members and arranging your first swap. You'll discover that home swapping is not just about saving thousands of dollars on vacation costs. As you enjoy your new holiday experience of living as a local in uber cool, chic city centre apartments or stylish relaxing retreats you'll discover that home swapping is also about establishing lasting friendships with other members who also value their homes.
What is your role with Home Around the World?
I am Ken Russell, the owner and CEO of Home Around the World. We are based in London and it’s always great to find new members popping up all around the world.
What kind of experiences are available for those who join?
By joining a club of like-minded people, our members sleep around the world without ever losing the comforts of home. Staying in upmarket hotels and eating in fancy restaurants is great, but on a vacation it can be ruinously expensive and it’s almost always an impersonal experience. And unless you’re just relaxing in a resort, how often do you return from a vacation feeling exhausted?
Personally I’d rather live life at my own pace, sleep late if I choose to, sightsee at my leisure, take new pleasure in shopping for food in supermarkets, meet local people and just enjoy all the comforts a home can offer.
If someone were to offer their home, what would you suggest they include?
Our listing design ranks amongst the best of any mainstream or gay accommodation site and enables members to provide a balance of information about their homes and area. A listing is your advertisement, so it’s worth spending a little time getting it right. Apart from promoting the best of your home and area, it’s also important to upload some well-chosen images. By supplying personal information including your holiday likes, preferences and what you're looking for our members begin to know more about who might be swapping with them and living in their home. The personal touch is very important to encourage contact from other members.
Why is this home exchange network important for LGBT travelers?
When Home Around the World started our clientele was the LGBT traveler, as based on the concept that like attracts like, it seemed only natural to cater for our own community. However, a few years ago I began receiving emails from gay-friendly people disappointed that they might be barred from joining. Thankfully, times were rapidly changing and so it was an easy decision to open the site up to our ‘gay-friendly’ friends.
Our members are singles and couples of all ages and backgrounds and they offer a variety of homes from the simple and comfortable to the simply luxurious and ... the one thing they have in common is the warm welcome they offer each other.
This might be an unsettling idea for some folks who may be concerned with the security of their things
It is quite natural to be hesitant about inviting people we don’t know to stay in our homes – just don’t forget your exchange partner, no doubt shares your own anxieties! With careful communication however, the reality of home swapping is quite different. Swapping your home involves first establishing a friendship based on mutual trust. As your communication develops through emails, photographs and phone calls, strangers soon become friends and once that friendship and trust has been established, the anxiety truly disappears.
It’s like swapping with a member of your own family without all the accompanying stress! In all the years we’ve been in business we have never received any reports of damage.
Are there any other things that potential users should know about?
Trust is the key to all home exchange arrangements and our members engage in home swaps in the safety and security that they are exchanging homes with other members who have paid the same nominal annual fee to use the service.
Most members are looking for simultaneous swaps but non simultaneous swaps are also popular. They can provide an ideal way for new members, who might be hesitant about making their first direct swap, to stay with another member first and then return their hospitality at a later, mutually convenient time. The site also provides ‘The Essential Guide to Home Swapping’ - a useful step-by-step guide to assist all our virgin home swappers eager to make their first swap.
Once a member, all home exchangers qualify for an optional free Host listing if they would also like to have occasional paying HATW guests in their home. We also advertise vacation rentals as some of our members also own second homes and there are generous discounts on renewals and additional listings.
Our great review system provides members the opportunity to earn a month’s free membership by leaving a review of their exchange because we know there’s nothing better than personal recommendation. We guarantee that if a member doesn’t arrange a swap during the membership period, we’ll add on a second free year.
These are extracts from an interview with Ken Russell. To find out how HATW got started and to read the complete interview, click here.