Are you planning on going away this summer but want to avoid the hassle and stress of dealing with noisy, crowded hotels where kids running around everywhere? If so, there’s a perfect solution for you in the form of a home exchange. The principle is simple and it is as complex as it sounds. A home exchange consists of swapping your house with another family’s abroad or in the UK if you are going away for a weekend break for a week or two, leaving you with a fully quipped holiday home.
The idea of a home exchange is attracting more and more travelers who are looking to save money without having to miss out on the fun of going on holiday, particularly those with a large family. On average, home exchange home exchanges have allowed a saving of up to 50% for some people who have been brave enough to give it a go. Cutting down the cost of accommodation then means you can spend your money on other luxuries whilst abroad. Even if you don’t have a big family, this alternative holiday solution has also been a successful experience for singletons and small groups of friends. Some even said that the experience of living in someone else’s home allowed them gain a better experience and feel for the city and culture of the place they visited than they would have if they slept in a hotel.
How it works
Most of the time, home exchanges are organized through a specialized website where you’re able to see and post ads giving details and images of your place of residence, as well as the number of rooms, bathrooms, and facilities available. By leaving a contact number will enable fellow home exchangers to get in touch if they are interested in swapping houses. It’s really as simple as that!
This process is becoming a big hit in all the popular tourist cities, especially London. With hotel prices often extortionate particularly during peak season, much the same as real estate prices in the city, agencies such as Castle Estate which propose accommodation offering good value for money to invest in for future home exchanges.
The pros and cons
One of the downsides to a home exchange is that generally, the website you choose for your advertising purposes cannot protect your properties safety and does not intervene in the actual swapping process. The only guarantee often offered by the website is registration fees if you don’t find accommodation to exchange within a year.
On the flip side, home exchange is a way to build relationships with people around the world. For example, in addition to trusting you with their home, owners often leave visitors a list of recommended places to visit. It also gives you the opportunity to experience everyday life in an unfamiliar city as one of the locals.
Advice to keep in mind
Plan well. A successful exchange takes time so don’t go rushing into the first offer you receive. Carefully plan how you want to advertise your how and the impression you aim to give to fellow home exchangers. Kind touches such as a welcome gift upon arrival, a fully stocked fridge and letting your neighbours be away that they might see some unfamiliar faces are always a respectable thing to do.
Communicate. Be in regular contact with the people you are swapping homes with before you both depart for each other’s houses. Knowing a bit more about who will be occupying your personal space and rooms will give you more peace of mind and allow you to relax whilst on holiday.
Take caution. As good as this whole process sounds; you have to remember that at the end of the day you are inviting strangers to live in your house. Some advice will be to make sure you hide any possessions you do not want them to find, and also have insurance in case any damages or accidents occur. This all comes back to communicating and establishing a fair agreement between both parties before swapping homes in order to avoid any problems to arise on your return.