Home swapping: a new holiday trend in China!

The newest way to get away from the norm for people looking for an inexpensive vacation is house swapping.

An increasing number of young people in Shenzhen are drawn to the idea of home exchange vacations.

Lin Xin, who works for a real estate broker in Shenzhen, could not help being excited after reaching an agreement with a friend in Chengdu to swap homes for free during the seven-day Spring Festival holidays.

“It’s a pure swap and no money is exchanged. I will stay in his home and use his car during the holidays while he can use mine,” Lin said. “It will be more relaxing and cheaper than staying in hotels.”

He estimated he would save nearly 3,000 yuan (US$455) on the trip.

Home exchange programs were becoming popular among young people in big cities like Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing, the Shenzhen Economic Daily reported yesterday.

Some travel Web sites are catching on to the trend and are responding to the demand.

The programs are attractive because travelers don’t need to book accommodation and their only expenses are travel and food. They can also enjoy a home environment that a hotel just doesn’t have.

A recent survey conducted by the travel section of Sohu.com showed about 50 percent of those polled were in favor of home swapping, while 30 percent did not agree saying they did not want strangers staying in their homes.

The survey also found big-city residents were more open to the new travel option compared with their counterparts in smaller cities. But home swapping was obviously not an option for most people going to Yunnan, Tibet and Hainan. (Mu Zi)

Shenzhen Daily, January 25, 2011

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