| ||company: Intervac|
country: several National representatives
product: home exchange
who: Intervac is an international organisation that connects people who exchange their homes when travelling. The organisation was started in Europe in the early 1950s by a group of teachers who were looking for economic means to travel internationally.
what: home exchange simply means that two families - from different parts of a country or the world - agree to exchange homes for their vacations. Home exchanges are typically made for 2 to 4 weeks. Since no money changes hands between the exchangers, one can have free accommodation anywhere in the world by trading homes.
why: after a few exchanges, Intervac’s founders realised that this economic way of travel was also a superior way to cultivate international friendship and understanding.
how: the concept has grown ever since and Intervac currently offers its services in 50 countries and facilitates home exchanges for 12,000 families from all walks of life. Intervac provides a checklist on how to organise an exchange and also provides a suggested agreement form for the two parties to sign. The Intervac scheme contemplates an exchange of houses among members, who in some cases may want to exchange their cars as well. Intervac members can be both families on holiday and professionals or travelling workers.
sustainability features: home exchange doesn’t mean just having free accommodations, but also avoiding risks and expenditures of leaving your house in ‘stand-by’ when you go on holiday (the economic/environmental impact of ‘stand-by’ – electrical and heating devices, bills, etc. - is well-known!). And it also means getting to know the foreign culture from the inside and understanding the particular identity of places around the world.