Stay 4 Free: Free Home Exchanges

FAQS - Frequently Asked Questions

Home exchange
What is home exchange?

Home exchange is when two parties agree to exchange their homes for a period of time for vacation. There is no set time limit; exchanges can last for a weekend, a week, a month, or even a year. Nor is there is a rule for the location; the two parties can live in the same general region or in different countries.

What is home swap?

The same as home exchange. The term home swap is more often used in Europe.

What are exchange partners?

These are the two parties that agree to exchange their homes. They initially meet at, but frequently long lasting friendships evolve out of these home exchanges.

What are the benefits of home exchange?

First, you can travel the world and save thousands of dollars (euros, etc) because you're not spending money on hotels or any other accomodation. In fact, this benefit is in our name: Stay 4 Free!

Secondly, you're 'at home' while away, that is, your 'new' home has all the comforts that you associate with living in a home. You will not live 'out of your suitcase', and you don't have to continually look for places to eat (3 times a day). If you've traveled extensively, particularly with children, you know what we mean.

Lastly, you live like a local which allows you to experience different cultures from the 'inside' rather than from the 'outside' like a tourist. Clearly, the best way to do this is to live like a local, where the locals live, rather than a tourist. Hotels tend to insulate you from the real cultural experiences. Staying in a local home does offer you that experience.

What costs are involved?

Home exchange parties do not charge each other, so your stay will be free.

home exchange
Ask yourself: Would you rather sit in a hotel, or relax on your own private veranda in the evening sun? car exchange
Tip: car exchange is frequently included in home exchange arrangements

Membership Levels
What membership options do you offer?

There are two levels of membership: free BASIC membership and paid PREMIUM membership. To compare the differences click here.

What can I do as a visitor (without signing up)?

As a visitor you can explore, find, and view all listed homes and associated user profiles. You cannot list your own home, maintain your profile, manage your own favorite homes, or contact any of the other members. For that and more you need to sign up.

What can I do as a BASIC member?

As a BASIC member you can list your home, create a profile, manage your own list of favorite homes, and send messages and request to any other members. To send messages you must have your home listed with at least one photo. BASIC membership allows you to list one home with up to 10 photos.

What can I do as a PREMIUM member?

As a PREMIUM member you can freely communicate with all members in the community, that is, view and reply to messages and requests from other members -- as often as you wish, there is no limit. These conversations allow you to build trust between you and the other exchange party and freely discuss dates and other details relative to a home exchange.

Do I need to sign up to use Stay4free?

You don't have to sign up to search and explore all available homes. However, to be able to list your own home and send messages to members you need to sign up, either for the free BASIC membership or the paid PREMIUM membership. The free BASIC membership doesn't cost anything, and we invite those who may be interested in exploring home exchange to sign up and give it a try!

Listing your Home
Is my home suitable for home exchange?

Some people think their home is too small, too much out of the way, or too average to be listed on However, not everyone requires a luxurious home with a view, a hot-tub, and a pool. In fact, most people have average homes and are more than happy to exchange theirs against your modest place with the primary goal of having a (non-hotel) roof over their head, have a great experience, and save a lot of money. We ask that you highlight the strong points of your home but don't over-inflate so that both parties can make informed decisions about a possible home exchange.

What information do I provide?

Your home listing is like a marketing brochure, so it is best to complete all fields, including, title, property type, description, amenities, house rules, neighborhood, and above all numerous photos. Having quality photos really helps. We suggest you include photos of the outside, both front and back, the inside, the bedrooms, bathrooms, outside view from inside the home, and and a couple pictures of your neighborhood. If you consider automobile-exchange also include a clear picture of your vehicle. We recommend uploading horizontally oriented photos (i.e. landscape format) as they will look better.

Do I have to accept an exchange request?

No, you are under no obligation to accept any offer or request. There is no need to rush and you should carefully evaluate whether the offer meets your requirements and whether the home and surroundings appeals to you. If not, be courteous and thank the member requesting the exchange. If you are not certain and need more information, ask questions, lots of questions, before confirming an exchange. It is not unusual to have a lengthy conversation (with many messages going back and forth) before the two parties come to an exchange agreement.

What if I own more than one home?

As a PREMIER member you can list as many properties as you wish. If you have the free BASIC membership you can list only one home. In reality for most members that is sufficient as they just list their primary residence.

Searching Home Listings
How do I search for a home?

The easiest way to start a search is to enter any combination of a city, country, and/or postal code on our home page in the box that states "where do you want to go?". Stay4free will then find that location and display a list of homes nearby.

Alternatively, you can click the 'search homes' menu item and enter the location as well as any number of filters (discussed below).

What if I have certain requirements?

To meet your requirements, Stay4free provides so called filters which allow you to filter your search results. The most common ones are 1) your travel dates, and 2) number people you travel with. These common filters are always available under the location text box.

The home page as well as the search page displays these common filters. On the search page you will see a 'more' link that, when clicked, displays all filters. Any combination of these can be selected, such as, number of bedrooms, the presence of a kitchen, automobile exchange, property type (apartment, villa, boat, etc). We recommend that you not select too many as this will severely restrict the number of homes in your search result. Too many filters may lead to getting no results at all.

contact us
How do I
how it works
get started