Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Home Away from Home: House Swapping


For many travellers, the novelty of hotels has long worn off. Maybe you’re a seasoned traveller and can’t stomach the idea of more pastel paintings and single-serving soaps, maybe you’re a mother with four kids in tow that you’re tired of shushing for the benefit of other guests, maybe you’re just in search of something a bit more personal. You want to get away, but you still want to feel at home. Is that too much to ask?

Not anymore. The latest budget travel trend, popularised in the 2006 film The Holiday, is called ‘House Swapping’, where vacationers trade houses for the duration of their holiday. While many people might balk at the idea of allowing a stranger to sleep in their bed, drive their car, or care for their pet, most swappers have spent months corresponding with each other, exchanging emails, pictures, and phone calls.

Home swap sites offer exchange agreements allowing customers to be as specific as they like about what their guests may (and may not) do. While house swapping can be a great way to save money while on vacation, keep in mind that it involves a lot more work. Your home should be clean and well-maintained, and you’ll need to provide linens, basic food items, and detailed information on your area.

Many travellers are taking advantage of sites like Home Link and Home Exchange to find houses in exotic locations for their next trip. You can also visit 1st Home Exchange for more great tips on house swapping.

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