View from the campground overlooking Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, México. Photo taken February 14, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Cabri Regional Park, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Where are they going next? Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan on September 25th!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

How to do a motorhome exchange

In the summer of 2016, we gave our motorhome to strangers from Europe to use here in North America for two months. Just imagine that. People we had never met before were going to be using our motorhome. And they were going to be using it for free.

However... a few months later, the tables were turned. We went to Spain and used their motorhome for two months! For free. All of a sudden, this is looking like a pretty good deal!

It's very expensive to rent a motorhome anywhere in the world. So much so that you're better off buying one and selling it when you're finished with it.

But there is another option. A motorhome exchange!

The idea was suggested to us by friends of ours who have done this very thing several times around the world. In fact, in our situation it was these friends who introduced us (online) to the couple we would be exchanging with.

We had several emails back and forth with a British couple who live in southern Spain. They wanted to explore some of western Canada and Montana. We agreed on a two month time frame. They would use our motorhome in June and July, and we would go to Spain and use their motorhome in January and February.

It's tough to get your head around the idea that someone else will be using your motorhome. But, we convinced ourselves that they were also experienced RV'ers. And essentially, they are taking the same risk that you are. After all, we would also be using their RV.

Tana and Graham ready to take off in our motorhome.

One of the agreements was that the owner of the vehicle is responsible for any necessary repairs while the other party is using it. Of course you should make sure that  you have it in tip top shape for the person using it. 

Accidental damage however, is the responsibility of the person doing the driving. Insurance is another thing that we agreed was the responsibility of the vehicle owner. You need to make sure that the person doing the driving is insured on your vehicle.

We also agreed that we would each provide a roadside assistance package for the other driver to use.

Another consideration is the type of vehicle you are exchanging for. In an ideal world, the exchange would be for vehicles of similar value. But it doesn't always work out so comparable, and only you can decide if you would be willing to do an exchange with a vehicle of lesser value than your own.

We decided not to do a formal written agreement. It would be virtually impossible to enforce across borders anyhow, so you have to be able to put some trust in the people you're dealing with. Again, consider that they are taking the same risk that you are. We suggest that you have lots of emails back and forth, and even a video call or two to get to know the people you're dealing with.

The motorhome we used in Spain for two months.

We were fortunate that we were introduced by mutual friends. But there are a few websites out there now that specialize in motorhome and RV exchanges, or "swaps" as they are sometimes called in the UK.

Here are some examples...

Motorhome Holiday Swap (Free, but difficult to navigate!)


RV Worldwide (Paid)

Swap the Map (Paid. Brand new, so not many listings yet. One year free subscription during start up)

Our first motorhome exchange was fantastic, and under the right circumstances we wouldn't hesitate to do it again. It's a great way to save money while RV'ing in another country! 

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Nice little outdoor RV propane fireplace with a big price drop...





11 comments:

  1. I am glad it worked well for you guys, not sure if we could wrap our heads around some of those issues though, it would take a lot of trust.
    Thanks for the tips though.

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    1. We are glad that it worked out well for us too! No, it isn't easy to give over your motorhome to someone who you have never met before. In fact the very first time the idea was thrown out there for us we tossed it around for a bit and then said no but a year or so later when asked again we decided that we would do it after all. Yes, lots of trust needed on both sides. You definitely have to have a good feeling about the other party to do something like this. I am so glad that we did end up doing the exchange though. We sure had a good time RVing in Spain.

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  2. I've been looking for a Class B to rent. It is incredibly expensive up to $1800 a week. Nuts. I found one guy with 1998 Roadtrek for $500 a week but it is booked into infinity. We want to get a feel of what a B is like because we are gearing ourselves toward buying one. You know, rent first concept.

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    1. You might want to consider doing an RV exchange too then Chris! Not sure whether it would still work with a vehicle and travel trailer but it would be something to check out. The other party could use your unit in either the USA or in Mexico. You should look into it, I would expect that there are Class B units that people want to exchange.

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  3. We don't own an RV (yet). In 2011 we rented for 3.5 months and travelled Europe with the kids. It was expensive but we had saved up for it. Swapping sounds like the ideal solution

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    1. Once we retire we are hoping to buy a used class B but that is still some 7 years from now. Our experience in Europe, however, sold us on the lifestyle. It was a wonderful experience that we wish to continue once we can devote more than a summer vacation to it. Thanks to Kevin & Ruth for showing us the way!

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    2. Wow, yeah, I would imagine that it would have cost a fortune for 3.5 months but if you know that ahead of time and save for it then it is so bad. I am sure it still would have been way cheaper that way than to have stayed in hotels and such. After doing a motorhome swap we think that it is a great solution, it's just a matter of finding the right people to do the exchange with.

      Eventually when we need to look at another motorhome we will probably move down in size. We would love to do a trip down to Argentina and a Class B or B+ would really be ideal. Yep, RVing is definitely the best way to travel, at least it is in our option. Hope you can find that perfect unit Duckfeet, 7 years will go by fast enough.

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  4. Wow great info from everyone we have thought about exchanges as well. Would love to do what you and Kevin have done! Thanks!

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    1. Well we hope that you find the information helpful and perhaps one day you will decide to do an exchange too. We sure had fun RVing in Spain and now we want to go back for more. :-)

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  5. Is there a website where I can exchange my home for someones RV for 2 months. I live on a Golf Course in Palm Desert, Ca. My husband and I would like to try rving before we buy one. There must be someone that would love to stay a month or two in a Golf Course home in exchange for their RV

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    1. We don't know of one personally but you might still try the websites above and mention that you want to swap a house for an RV for 2 months. You could also try on Craig's List, putting an ad out for your suggestion or if you are on facebook there are a number of RV groups that you could try posing your question and see if you get any response.

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