Tired of small, impersonal, overpriced hotel rooms? House swapping – where you lend your own home to another family while you live in theirs – may just be the solution you have been dreaming of. Listen up!
Saving on a hotel or flat rentals means you can indulge in a week away rather than just a quick weekend escape. No need to make it a cultural marathon either: there will be time for both sleeping in and exploring!
The comfort of a real home
Perfect when you are travelling with children. Rather than being cramped in one room with a spare bed on the side, everyone gets their own bedroom… Since these are lived in homes, there might be a game console, board games and toys too.
Like in your own house, everyone can have their space, their rhythm, whether reading, playing, listening to music… and maybe enjoying a home-cooked meal (prepared in a fully equipped kitchen: rental apartments always seem to only offer the strict minimum) before watching a movie on the couch. Full relaxation guaranteed.
Living like a local
Staying in a more residential area brings a wealth of authentic experiences: shopping at a farmers’ markets, chat with local cheesemongers and bakers, discover adorable cafés and restaurant with no tourists in sight and learn a lot more anecdotes than you ever expected.
It’s also a fantastic place to start if you were considering moving to a different country. Visiting is one thing, living there another! You can’t think of all the details from afar: council tax, public transport… If your home swap experience results in you deciding to buy a home in London for good, you might decide use a locally-based free mortgage comparison site to find out exactly how you could pursue your dream to own your own piece happiness.
Booking a hotel, renting a flat… only take a few clicks and a credit card number. House swapping is about trust. You are likely to exchange quite a few emails beforehand, chatting about life, kids, what to do in the area. Some homeowners will ask you to look after their pet, others might lend you their bikes, car even. Most people get in touch well after their trip. Friend for life, anyone?
More sustainable than a hotel
Did you know hotels are considered the third biggest polluters in London? One of the reasons is obvious: crisp white sheets and towels changed daily in most cases, mini shampoo bottles… Another is less obvious: we think less about water, electricity, heating and air conditioning use in a hotel. We have paid for it and we intend to make the most of that money. But put us in a home, similar to ours, and we will be reasonable. Add to this an easier chance to recycle, home-cooked meals, products bought from local artisans… Definitely eco-friendlier!
Convinced to home swap yet? Leave a comment below if you have any fantastic memories or tips for travellers considering their first experience.