You might remember the movie, “The Holiday” starring Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz. Two women are experiencing relationship problems so they exchange their houses for a holiday away from men. Kate swaps her quaint English cottage for Cameron’s LA mansion. Both love the extreme differences but, of course, there are men everywhere they go! (It ends happily ever after.)
Since 2006 when that movie debuted, house swapping has taken the world by storm. It’s no longer a way to escape from our problems, but a wonderfully affordable accommodation option – and there are now thousands of homes of all shapes and sizes across the world to swap.
As the name suggests, house swapping is an exchange of homes, for an agreed period, at no cost to either party.
Swapping has many advantages over traditional holidays, including:
the cost savings make it possible to travel to destinations you might not ordinarily afford, or to stay for longer that you normally could;
being able to enjoy the privacy, space and comfort of a real home (you might even have a swimming pool to yourself);
the option to swap vehicles – save money by not hiring a car; or having to rely on public transport;
access to local knowledge about the best places to eat, shop and visit;
staying in locations away from the noise and cost of tourist areas.
Other advantages include:
the security of having your house occupied while you’re away, and
the opportunity for someone to take care of your pets at home saving you money on kennel fees and making your pets happier too.
Of course, there are downsides. In particular, you are entrusting complete strangers to use your home while you are absent. However, with the growing number of registered websites that allow users to be rated or reported, this risk may be reduced. Doing sound research and getting to know your potential swapper early is crucial. Leaving your holiday contact details with neighbours is always a good idea. And for more peace of mind, lock away or remove any precious or valuable items such as jewellery.
To find a website to best suit your needs, simply type “house swapping” into your favourite search engine.
House swapping is by no means new – it “officially” began 60 years ago in the US – and with the explosion of websites catering for this growing demand, the only problem now is deciding where to go!