If you’ve seen the movie The Holiday, you might be familiar with the idea of swapping your home with someone else to experience a new place. The idea is simple: you go to their home, they come to yours. While the movie might have taken liberties beyond just the home, the vacation idea still stands. Home swapping is a very real way to stay in inspiring places all around the world. Here’s how to make your first home swap:
Join a swapping community. There are networks out there like Love Home Swap that can help you get started. Using different search filters (like destination, number of bedrooms, pools, pet-friendly, etc.), you can find the home you’re looking for without shooting in the dark. In addition to the Classic Swap, you can also Swap for Points. For instance, if you’re away for the holidays, you can open your home up for stays and accumulate Points that you can then use for a future getaway.
Think of your ideal experience. Will you be taking the kids on a family vacation? Or maybe you’re looking for a romantic getaway in a different city. Knowing what would make your stay great will help you negotiate the terms of your swap. For instance, if you’re planning a family vacation, swapping with another family whose home for exchange is packed with toys, highchairs and strollers can make life easier.
Get your home swap-ready. Since somebody else is going to be settling into your home while you’re gone, there’s no need to pack everything away. To make room for your house guests, free up some cabinet space in the kitchen, bedrooms and bathrooms. You should pack away or safeguard any valuables or special personal items. Enlist a neighbor or nearby family member to lend a hand should your home swapper need it. Be sure to leave your swapper that person’s contact information.
Leave a personal touch. How your home works might be second nature to you, but it might take a little getting used to for your guests. Leave a guide for home swappers to help them out with things like your WiFi password, operating instructions for the TV and any household gadgets, and any home care guidelines you agreed on. It’s also a nice touch to leave some local tips and recommendations. Point out your favorite cafes, restaurants and attractions, and suggest services for things like transportation, cleaning and babysitting.
Get the keys. One of the most important parts of the swap is the keys. Make a plan ahead of time with your swapper. Many people leave keys with a neighbor, friend or family member to deliver upon the guest’s arrival. Others securely courier a spare set ahead of time, or store them in a secure locker for collection.
Ready to swap houses? Start browsing some destinations and homes here.