Cut Travel Costs with the Knok Home Swap Program

Foto casa Canarias Knok

Howdy, Heroes. I bring to you today a guest post from Penelope, who works at Knok.com, the company featured below. I personally have not ever swapped homes. To be honest, I’m not sure I would, because I fear my own home getting damaged in the process.

Of course, I have 4 boys. I live in fear of my house getting damaged on a daily basis.

So what, really, am I worried about??!?

I’ve done a little research, and it turns out that there are several home exchange companies around this planet. The cheapest one charges about $65 per year, and the most expensive is about twice that. Knok lands in the middle at about $100 US annually. Interestingly, Knok appears to be the only one offering insurance as part of the package. They also attempt to match families up based on a profile system. Anyhoo, without further ado, here is the post from Penelope:

Has traveling with your family become more of a stressful, overwhelming task than the relaxing, enjoyable experience you were hoping for? Has it simply become too expensive? If so, Knok a new generation home swap community has the solution for you! With thousands of homes in over 159 countries, Knok is the perfect platform for families to choose their dream destination whether it be Paris, New Zealand, or Berlin whilst staying in the comforts of a real home.

Imagine traveling all around the world and staying where your children have access to toys, your own personal kitchen, your own laundry appliances and your own private lounge area for your family to relax and unwind after a long day of excitement. On top of that, imagine your own private pool or car included in the deal? Also with the recommendations left by your swap partner you and your family are able to completely immerse yourselves and live like a true local. There is nothing better than to have the option after a very exciting, tiring day of exploring to be able to return to your “home away from home” and still not miss out on those special moments you have with your family around the dinner table.

It is no secret that traveling with children can be a very tiring task; Knok wishes to alleviate such stress and strongly believes that families are able to have new enjoyable experiences without having to worry about accommodation expenses. One of the best advantages of Knok is that no matter how many times you engage in a home swap, a full year’s membership is cheaper than one night’s accommodation at a hotel…inclusive of home insurance! So not only are you able to enjoy the comforts of a real home whilst on holiday, you are also able to reinvest all the savings you have made from accommodation costs back into your holiday activities, making your holiday all the more memorable experience for you and your family.

For once it is possible for mums to return from their holiday actually feeling relaxed and their children satisfied –the two don’t usually blend right? Home swap and experience your very own “home away from home” in Morocco, Rome, Greece, Barcelona…..Just don’t blame us when you are hooked!!

This guest post was written by Penelope H. who works for Knok, a new generations ‘home swap’ platform that enables people to find the best home exchange for their holidays.

The editor-in-chief of Earnest Parenting, Amy is the mother of two sets of twin boys. Yes, they drive her crazy, but they also make her laugh occasionally. Amy enjoys writing, quilting, reading, and working on her burgeoning cyber empire.

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  • Lauren Kahn July 18, 2013, 10:49 pm

    All you did here was buy into the incessant Knok promotions for its website. New home exchange sites, of which Knock is one of many, try and poach members from established websites by even giving away memberships.

    I have been a member of Homelink and Intervac since 1990. I have gotten many exchanges from both. As I write this, I am in my 52nd home exchange in Toulouse, France. Great location for day trips, but the house has problems: http://altecockertravels.weebly.com/the-nasty-side-of-home-exchanging.html

    The established websites do not like to speak about the “dirty house” aspect of home exchanging. I have had plenty that were dirty and a few that passed over into the “Home Exchange Hall of Shame”. My current one has a hot water heater that has to be reset about every other day, a refrigerator with a broken door handle and the people are not clean by my standards. Many of the websites just tell you that home exchange is “easy”. It is, in fact, a lot of work. If you are not prepared to keep a clean home, you should not do it. When you get one that is not as clean as it should be, you are basically stuck with it unless you are prepared to move out and spend a fortune in a hotel.

    Basic information on home exchange can be found here on my website: http://altecockertravels.weebly.com/how-to-do-a-home-exchange.html

    If you have an independent website helping parents, you should do research before buying into some site’s promotional material. There is a reason why most of the experienced home exchangers who know what they are doing remain on with Homelink & Intervac. We like to deal with experienced exchangers. New people often get sucked into the promotion, have second thoughts, jerk you around, etc. We have all learned from bitter experience with new sites to stay where we are.

    Knok is just one of many and the insurance they claim to provide is very limited and not going to help you with a dirty house.

    Be well advised that no home exchange service inspects the homes. No matter how gorgeous the photos they love to post on home pages (and the really gorgeous ones usually turn out to be rentals), you can’t tell if a home is dirty or clean from a photo–or even a video. Home exchange is based on trust and some people are just not trustworthy. The same goes for some home exchange websites. All the attempted poaching of members is to inflate their numbers of members so people will think the one with the most members is the best. it isn’t necessarily true. You want the ones with the experienced members who are serious about home exchanging and not there just to chat. For that Homelink & Intervac cannot be beat. For the record, I am not in the pay of either of those sites. I am just a satisfied member of both–since 1990 with 52 exchanges behind me and a few scheduled in the future.

    No one really knows how many members any of the sites really have (and for the newer sites how many they really have where a home exchange is really the point (instead of someone trolling for rentals).

    Knok? Just another new kid on the block giving exchangers already on other sites a virtually free membership for the first year to inflate their numbers. Anyone investing in home exchange sites ought to go elsewhere because a new one seems to pop up every other day. Don’t waste your money, look at my advice, and you will see why you should go with an established website.

    If you get an exchange from Knok, come back and tell everyone about it. Otherwise all you are doing is promoting their advertising. That is not very helpful to anyone.

    Reply
    • Amy LeForge July 19, 2013, 12:53 am

      Lauren, as we already discussed in a rather lengthy Twitter conversation, I posted this article because I saw (and still do) it as relevant for parents. I did agree with you that I shouldn’t directly endorse something with which I have no experience, which is why the post was amended to clarify that point. Prior to Penelope submitting the post, I didn’t know that home exchange was a reality; I’d seen it in a movie and thought it was just that: something in a movie. I find the whole thing fascinating.

      I did do some research and found Knok mentioned in articles on some high authority sites. That speaks well of the company, as does the not one but two rounds of seed funding it received. Yes, investors don’t always pick winners, but I can tell you from personal experience that they are much more critical of prospects and careful with their dollars than in decades like 1990’s, when we saw the dot com boom. Investors risking their money speaks volumes to me.

      Of course Knok is going to engage in marketing campaigns in order to get their name out there. They are one of thousands of new companies pursuing a similar strategy. There is nothing sinister in that. It’s also true that businesses compete for customers. That competition is what drives prices down for all and is good for consumers. The business that loses customers in that transaction does have the choice to improve their own offerings or marketing and try to win customers back. But grousing over the fact that they lost is just poor sportsmanship. I do not accuse your chosen home exchanges of that…you are however doing it on their behalf.

      Additionally, I looked to see if anyone had complained online about Knok. I found nothing. You claimed in our Twitter conversation that it’s not possible to know if people have had negative experiences because they wouldn’t put their complaints out publicly. That’s not a reasonable claim. If there’s one thing that humans are good at, it’s complaining. Another thing that we’re good at: litigation. If there really was a big problem with Knok, there would be a record of it somewhere.

      In all cases, a person looking at purchasing a membership with ANY home exchange website should do their research carefully and make their best decision. I was clear in stating that the article was written by an employee of the company. I committed no impropriety. Yes, the article is promotional in tone. I typically avoid that tone, but chose to publish this time. That is within my purview.

      As you may also recall, I offered in our earlier conversation the opportunity for you to publish your own article on this site. It would have been easy for you to write an article detailing your experiences and educating parents on how to choose the best site, what pitfalls to avoid, and so on. Instead, you chose to attack.

      I would caution you about the words you choose to describe a company with which you admittedly have no experience. Libel is a serious thing.

      I’ve spent some time this week trying to understand why on earth any person would be so hostile and contemptuous of another, simply because of a disagreement. I can’t come up with any justification for the way you have treated me. I certainly hope that I never treat another person so poorly.

      That said, I do forgive you and wish you well. If you want the last word in this conversation, be my guest. I consider the matter closed.

      Reply
  • Lauren Kahn October 19, 2013, 4:22 pm

    What I was saying is that you did no research when you posted your article. It is no justification that you took favorable “mentions” of Knok from other sites as “proof”. The fact is I have no idea how many members Knok has or how successful they have been in making home exchange matches. Statistics are carefully hidden–which says it all to me.

    To write a piece about home exchange, the only “evidence” anyone has is anecdotal. Some home exchange services, for example, are suspected of leaving up listings of memberships long after people have left their site in an effort to inflate their numbers (homeexchange.com is the main suspect).

    You endorsed Knok based on their promotion on other sites. That is, quite frankly, unforgivable and irresponsible. You did it because it is the easy way to do “journalism”. It is not journalism. It is no research at all.

    No one, including me, knows the skivvy on all these sites, but at least I belong to 3 of them (added homeforexchange.com to the mix since my first post). I have also belonged to homeexchange.com, which I detest (for why, see here: http://altecockertravels.weebly.com/homeexchangecom-too-much-hype-poor-management.html). About Knok I know nothing except they want to use social media to create “perfect” matches. Perhaps that will attract some younger people. I find that presumptuous and off putting.

    If you are going to present yourself as a journalist, please do your research before just posting someone’s promotional hype.

    Reply