Save Some Money
One of the best reasons to consider home swapping is that you’ll be able to enjoy a property for a fraction of the usual cost of a hotel or privately rented property. With a home swap, you’ll exchange your home with someone else’s on your chosen site and be able to enjoy all the benefits of being on holiday without having to pay for accommodation. Most sites like Love Home Swap, Home Exchange and Guardian Home Exchange, offer annual memberships for a small fee, where you’ll pay for use of the website and get access to a range of homes around the world.
Whether you’re after a quaint cottage in the UK, or a luxury villa in the tropics, there are a range of options to choose from. Once you’ve set up your home swapping profile, you’ll be able to contact hosts in your chosen destination and plan your holiday. Most sites require you to fill out a mutual exchange form with details of your home and any information your guests may need.
“There’s no getting away from the fact that home swapping is a great way to save money on holiday accommodation, but it’s not just homes that our members swap,” says Celia. “They often swap other items too – like cars, sports equipment, bikes, and even gym memberships. Swapping with another homeowner can help you save on other rentals and give you access to more activities you wouldn’t have had otherwise.”
Enjoy More Space
Once you’ve chosen the property, you’ll have the whole home to yourself. This is a particularly good option for groups and families looking for extra space and outdoor features such as large gardens and private swimming pools. Before you book, read the small print and ask any questions you may have – you’ll want to establish a good rapport with the other party involved so you can agree on specific terms such as paying utility bills and maintaining the property.
Home swapping is a good way to travel during current Covid-19 restrictions, too – you’ll have minimal contact with other people, making it a safe option for those who are hesitant to travel abroad.
Get Some Inside Knowledge
According to Celia, home swapping gives you inside knowledge of a particular place, that you just don’t get from guidebooks. “Your home swap host is likely to give you advice on where to eat, what to do and most importantly, what to avoid,” she says. “Home swaps can be found all over, from in the heart of the city’s best neighbourhoods to hidden gems off the beaten track. Wherever you are, you can enjoy a more authentic holiday and live like a local.”
Plan A Longer Trip
The beauty of home swapping is that you can find another host who is happy to ‘rent’ out their home for as long as you are. It’s a great way to really explore a country and stay there for as long as you wish. Many people who regularly home swap often book properties for up to a month at a time. Therefore, those planning a long holiday can choose a home to suit their specific dates. You’ll get to know the area and neighbourhood like a local and experience what it’s really like to live in your chosen destination.
Get To Know The Locals
Not only will you get to know your host, but you are also likely to get to know the locals too, says Celia. “If you are swapping directly with another member, you’re likely to hand over keys with a neighbour or relative or sometimes the local pub or café.”
“Often our members say that by home swapping, they were able to do more things while travelling. Activities or days out that you didn’t think you could afford, or that second bottle of wine with your meal just became that much more attainable with the money you have saved.”
Take Advantage Of Self-Catering
If you’re one to opt for Airbnbs, or accommodation with self-catering facilities, home swapping is ideal if you want to cook your own food and have greater flexibility around meal times. While you’ll want to try the local cuisine and best restaurants in the area, you’ll also have the option to use a fully-equipped kitchen.
Many properties on home swapping sites come with luxury cooking facilities too, from outdoor pizza ovens to top of the range barbeques and custom-made range cookers. Ask your host for food recommendations too – they’ll know the best spots in town for local produce and where to buy any specific foods during your stay.
Receive Exciting Travel Opportunities
“How often can you say that you receive a message in your inbox offering you two weeks in the south of France?” asks Celia. “With home swapping, you can find travel opportunities that you hadn’t thought of and some destinations you had never even considered before.” In short, if you’ve ever wanted to tick a long-haul destination off your bucket list, this is a pretty good way to do so.
Keen To Get Involved? Here Are Celia’s Tips To Help Your Profile Stand Out…
Add Some Personal Details
"To attract potential swappers, it’s important that your profile reflects not only how amazing your home is, but also gives people a sense of who you are too. Listings that are well written, informative, and personal, get the most interest."
Include All The Necessary Information
“Make sure your property title is as informative as possible – be sure to include the most important information, such as size, location, and any special features. You can add further details in your ‘about’ section, for example what amenities you have, if are you including any extras such as car rentals, or the good transport links to know. It's also a good idea to write a small section about your neighbourhood so potential swappers can get a feel for the area, too.”
Research The Local Area
“Before you commit to any kind of home swap, it’s essential to do some thorough research. Most home swap websites do not visit every property listed, so look through all the photos and do some research on the area you’ll be staying in.”
Stay In Communication
“Communication between all parties is crucial, but make sure to keep the conversation online. Most sites recommend speaking to your home swap partner through their website, rather than contacting them directly – this way you’ll be protected against cancellations and be able to contact customer services if necessary.”
Check Any Rules & Regulations
“Whether the home you’re interested in is part of a community complex, or a villa in the rural countryside, hosts will have a set of house rules you might need to follow during your stay. Make sure you agree to these first and share your own house rules, too – common ones include limiting noise after a certain time, allowing guests or pets, and maintaining a smoke-free home.”
Finally, In Need Of Some Inspiration? Here Are Our Top Three Picks…
Best For... Outdoor Activities
Best for... A Tropical Escape
Best For... Skiing
*DISCLAIMER: Travel restrictions are changing daily, so please check the latest government advice before you book. Please ensure you are aware of the social distancing guidelines in place as well as rules on meeting up in groups larger than six.