Over the past few years, the way people choose and book accommodation for their vacation has changed dramatically. More and more travelers replace hotel rooms with Airbnb properties while house swapping is becoming increasingly popular. The new trend is: exchange your house and spend your holidays for free. House swap is easy, fun and cuts holiday costs, but there are a few things to keep in mind before joining this worldwide community.

What is House swap?

House swap is the new trend when it comes to accommodation while traveling. And it actually works pretty easily: you lend your house to other travelers while you’re staying in theirs. It can be a house, a cottage, a boat or a room -you name it-, and you can swap it from a weekend to a year. In that way, not only you save a lot of your vacation money but instead of living in a touristy hotel you get to experience the city like a local.

How does it work?

House swap - Feel like home

There are many House swap companies online that will help you find the perfect accommodation for your dream holidays. Love Home Swap and Home Exchange are among the most known. Swappers have to set up an account and share information about their house and personal profile. Then they can start choosing destinations they’d like to travel to. Once a perfect match is found, exchange members can start discussing the details and then sign an exchange agreement form. Most sites have an annual membership fee that ranges from 36 US$ to 312 US$ while some offer a free-trial and few are for free.

Types of House swap

There are different types of house swapping but the most common are the following three.

  • The “simultaneous exchange” which means that you’ll stay in your exchange partner’s place while they stay in yours.
  • The “non-simultaneous exchange”, when someone lets you stay in his holiday cottage or second house.
  • The “hospitality exchange” when you’re hosted in someone’s place while they also stay in the house.

Why is it better than hotels?

House swap is much cheaper than staying in a hotel or renting a place via Airbnb, especially if you’re traveling for long periods of time. But the vacation cost isn’t the only reason to get into house swapping. Staying in a cozy apartment in a friendly neighborhood helps you experience the city like a local and not as a tourist. Moreover, if you choose the “hospitality exchange” and spend your holidays sharing a house with your hosts, you’ll get a real taste of the local culture. Plus, your hosts will show you around the city and introduce you to all the lesser known places and hangouts.

You want to travel on a budget but you have no idea where to go? We suggest these 7 super romantic getaway ideas

Important things to know before becoming a house swapper

First and foremost you have to ask yourself if you want to be a house swapper. Allowing people that you’ve never met before stay at your house isn’t easy for everybody. So before creating a profile on a house exchange site, consider if the thought of another family staying in your house could ruin your holidays. Another thing to consider is whether you are willing to cook and clean on your holidays. Many people don’t appreciate doing household chores while traveling.

If you decide to jump into the house swapping game, make sure to discuss in detail with your exchange partner what he expects of you well as what you expect of them. Finding the right house swapper is of great importance. Therefore, you should also start planning your house swap well in advance. Unlike other accommodations, house swapping isn’t a great choice for last-minute trips. Especially for international travels, swappers are advised to start arranging a house swap three to six months prior to the exchange.

Last but not least, make a proper research on your exchange partner. Devote a lot of time talking to them, check out their references and do a little online digging in their social media profiles.

Present yourself, your house and your expectations in detail

House swap - Cosy Appartment
House swapping means: to feel cosy and like home.

It’s equally important to create an informative profile to present your house in detail as well as letting your exchange partners know what they should expect. Is your house suitable for families with kids? Do you have any pets and do you allow any? What are your requests when it comes to cleaning? Some of these things should be included in your profile while others you should discuss with your exchange partner. Leaving a guide with instructions for your house such as electrical appliances, plant care, and garbage collection is a good idea if you want to avoid any unpleasant surprises when you get back house.

Reliable house swap companies

As mentioned above, Love Home Swap and Home Exchange are among the most known house swap companies but aren’t the only ones. Intervac has been helping people exchange their houses already since 1950 and they still have a great community with thousands of members while new sites such as HomeExchange, Home Base Holidays and Digsville keep popping up.

For hospitality exchange, Bedycasa and Culture Go Go are quite popular while IVHE, which focuses mostly on vacation- or second-house swapping is for those who prefer “non-simultaneous exchange”.

To make your vacation a little bit easier there are a lot of Apps to offer help. But we have the 10 most helpful Apps for you. Check them out here.

So you’re planning a trip to Berlin? Then what can we say “Welcome to our awesome city!”. Maybe you just moved to Berlin and are eager to discover it, or maybe you’ve lived here a while and feel pretty familiar with the city and have seen all of the main sites. (Psst! Not these 8 insider spots though!)

It doesn’t matter if you just moved here, full of excitement and euphoria, or you’ve slowed down a little bit. It is a fact that Berlin is one of the most awesome and exciting places in the world, it offers something for every taste, it is loud, tough, sparkling and grey all at the same time. And who knows the capital of Germany better than these cool TOP Berlin Blogger? That’s right – Nobody! So check them out, and stay informed about the coolest spots and most thrilling activities. Speaking of which – check out blogger, Cheryl’s guide to being an expat in Berlin.

But wait wait wait: before we begin our ranking I have two things to say:

#1: it’s just a listing, not a evaluation.

#2: Yes, they are mostly English, but for you guys who wants to have big challenges: some of them are in German – I heard it’s one of the easiest languages in the world 😉

Berlin blogs #1
Stil in Berlin

Top Berlin Blogs ranking - Stil in Berlin

I’m totally fascinated by this blog and I’ll tell you why: Every year Stil in Berlin starts a competition about… bread! Bakeries are invited to send their best bread, so the Blogger can make a huge taste tasting (umm… where can I apply?). But that isn’t all: These kinds of contests are not limited to just bread, but range from coffee shops and bars to restaurants. Let’s take a look at the Best Of category – definitely the creme de la creme of Berlin!

But there is a lot more to discover than just bread (again… can I apply?!). You’ll find a huge smorgasbord of the the hottest locations in Berlin. Do you want to know where to find the coolest flea markets? and want to pimp your closet out with some fresh vintage items? or maybe after all that shopping you’re feeling hungry, Stil in Berlin will help you find the most delicious food and drinks in the city.

Sounds like you could plan your city trip to the fullest with Stil in Berlin hm?! For all of you who are feeling a little bit lost (like any of us in a new city) I recommend the map tool. Take a look on the map and find Going-out spots, art, culture and wellbeing.

So how about this: stroll over to a flea market, browse through some vintage stores in Mitte and end the day with a super-duper delicious snack, of course recommended by Stil in Berlin. Sounds amazing, right?!

TOP Berlin blogs - die besten Cafés in Europa

Do you love coffee? Of course you do! Why not try out the 10 coolest Cafe’s in the world? Soooo…how deep is your love for coffee? An extra plus: you’ll definitely get the perfect Instagram shoot.

Berlin blogs #2
Berlin Food Stories

Top Berlin Blogs ranking - Berlin Food Stories

The Berlin Food Stories blog is written by Per Meurling and it will be your #1 source for food inspiration. His motto is: “Life is too damn short for a bad meal. Let everything you eat be delicious and extraordinary.” Words to live by!

This traveler with a big heart for culinary delights has lived in Berlin for many years and his mantra for his foodie platform is ‘No bullshit, but fun and 100% independent’. Look at his Top list category if you are craving something specific – German, Modern bistro, BBQ, Italian, Greek, everything in-between. Moreover Per created a foodie calendar with all the best events in Berlin.

But that isn’t all: if you are a foodie #level3000 and you see yourself in joining the wonderful world of gastronomy check out Per’s job category. Here you’ll find a listing of all sorts of catering jobs. It doesn’t matter what kind of job you have now. Go ahead and follow your passion…

If you feel excited about that, now you can book a ticket to a food guided tour through Berlin (4 dishes in 4 different locations). Here you can discover Berlin and German cuisine by taste. Go book your ticket now! Groups range from 10 to 12 people here (Link).

Berlin blogs #3

Top Berlin Blogs ranking - MyPostcard

OMG, who is this again? Just kidding, today we are listing ourselves, MyPostcard, too because – why not?

In our pretty cool office in the heart of Berlin MyPostcard is texting about traveling, photography and family. Moreover we monthly present the Blogger of the month and give you cool hints to TOP influencers in Social Media (wait what? Like this ranking?!?)

TOP Berlin blogs - MyPostcard

And another plus: We are texting about the postcard! A lot of course because we love it! I give you an example: Did you know that you have to pay almost 9 € postage to send a postcard from the Maldives? From Malaysia you just pay 0,11 € – that’s a difference 🙂 See the postage costs of all countries here.

Berlin blogs #4
Awesome Berlin

Top Berlin Blogs ranking - Awesome Berlin

Am I allowed to introduce Berlin’s biggest fan? Here we go: Awesome Berlin! If somebody from Awesome Berlin thinks something is totally awesome they will write about it. What does that mean? Everything you’re reading is from personal experiences and recommendations.

Totally useful: the division in different districts. If you’re interest in a special part of town you can search all locations and activities in that area separately. You’ll need it when you just moved into a new neighbourhood, or just arrived at your hostel. Discover your neighbourhood.

In my opinion I really like the guide for all newbies who are just in Berlin for 2 or 3 days. Awesome Berlin didn’t choose the hidden areas and crazy places in Xberg or Neukölln. They wrote about the sights and Must-Sees in Berlin like Unter den Linden or the Brandenburger Tor. So they made it easy for you to plan an efficient tour through the capital city.

By the way: if you haven’t found a place to stay during your trip Awesome Berlin can help with some Finding Berlin – of course always with style!

Berlin blogs #5
Finding Berlin

Top Berlin Blogs ranking - Finding Berlin

Exploring Berlin isn’t difficult! But if you’ve already explored a bit of the city you may have realised that discovering the real Berlin isn’t quite as easy and takes awhile. You’re going to need more time than just 2 days.

Using the Blog – Finding Berlin it’s a lot easier. And it’s not just for tourists. Everybody who wants to see the real Berlin will find the information that they need. Other than that the blog offers a colourful bouquet of interesting stories and authentic photos.

Furthermore have a look in the Street Life category. Here you’ll find little stories which could only be written about people on the streets of Berlin. The category Making Berlin offers a very different insight. Here you’ll read about innovative products and gripping projects.

The most intriguing thing is the architecture category. It’s unbelievable how a somewhat mundane and overlooked building can take on a new sort of beauty in pictures. See them here and read the fascinating stories behind them and of course the fascinating history of Berlin.

Top Berlin Blogger - Deutschland

So if you are already in Berlin… why not making a sightseeing tour by bike? Find out the 9 best bicycle routes in Europe

Berlin blogs #6
Love from Berlin

Top Berlin Blogs ranking - Love from BerlinThese two expats, Rae and Aaron from Love from Berlin are totally focussed on lifestyle. Here you’ll find the craziest information from art and culture to the “Berlinterpreneurs” – sorry, what again? Love from Berlin presents the best freelancers from around Berlin, with their awesome ideas about industry experience and varying topics. You can read detailed interviews with young creatives, for example you’ll find a talk with Domenico, who runs a unique magazine-shop in Prenzlberg. A great place to grab a cup of coffee, and take a browse through the coolest magazines from around the world.

TOP Berlin blogs - Love from Berlin
Source photo: www.lovefromberlin.net

Furthermore, use Love from Berlin’s calendar to stay up to date with all cool art and culture events around the city.

Berlin blogs #7

Top Berlin Blogs ranking - Hauptstadtmutti

It can be tough being a mommy (and a daddy of course) in Berlin: picture this you are waiting for the tram and the tram has stairs. You have a stroller. Wow. These are the sort of problems that can annoy you all day long.

But here we go with Hauptstadtmutti: Isa and the other authors writing about being a mom in a big city like Berlin. You can read about style topics and interviews with moms (we love the #momcrushmonday). In the Berlin segment, they talk about activities on the weekends with your kiddies, about the best playgrounds, and exactly which events you need to visit with the whole family.

Attention: Hauptstadtmutti wrote a book about the 111 places you should visit with your kids. Go check it out now.

Instagram moms - lifestyle bloggers

By the way: the 20 best Mommy Blogger you find here in our ranking. Check them out, they are awesome! 

Which TOP Berlin Blogger we forgot?

It’s a fact that the people here in Berlin are as diverse as the city itself. There are so many experiences, stories, and tips, which shouldn’t be missed. A great reason why you should write to us in the comments and tell us your tips and which blog we forgot.

It doesn’t matter when you arrived in Berlin: in spring when people starting to creep out in their scarves and gloves, during summer when everyone is sitting on the banks of the Spree and canals having a beer. Or in autumn when people are standing atop the Siegessäule taking photos of the beautiful yellow and auburn leaves on the trees. Or during winter when Berlin shows its beautiful, although tough icy face and leaves you craving a hot chocolate or coffee in a cozy cafe.

Discover your own Berlin – These TOP 7 Berlin blogs will help you on your own adventure.

TOP Berlin blogs - while discovering Berlin send a real postcard with MyPostcard

By the way: Because Berlin is so awesome and photogenic no matter what the season, you’ll definitely take a lot of pictures. Send your most beautiful photos as real postcards to friends and family with MyPostcard. And let’s be honest: how cool is a personalized Berlin postcard?!