Do you dream of a great vacation is some far off land? Consider house swapping. This is a great way to take the burden off of your bank account, especially, if you are not a fan of motels and hotels, and have a great vacation.
There are more and more people doing the house exchange for great vacations, to the point that there are some great websites such as homeforexchange.com that have over 12000 listings! House swapping is becoming popular as a way to afford the vacation of your dreams around the world.
If the urge to have that great vacation is stronger than your fear of having someone live in your house, use your car, and sleep in your bed, then this might just be for you! It is at least worth investigating.
You can register with one of these house exchange sites, or you can check the papers, or word of mouth works too.
Just check out the country you would like to see, and see if anyone in that country is interested in vacationing in your homeland.
Some of the sites, will give you a "to do list" to help make the transition. But basically you are living in each others houses for the duration of your vacation. So the idea is that you will treat the houses as if it were your own. You will take care of their house and they will take care of yours, while both of you save huge on accommodation costs, and have a great vacation.
I have relatives that do this in England. They don't want to travel outside of England but would like to spend some time in the countryside without the huge expense of hotels and inns. They live in the city. So there is always someone who is in the countryside that would like to visit the city for awhile. They said it can mean the difference between going on a vacation and staying home, with the money they save.
There are a few rules that make sense, for you and your guests. If you both do this, then this works out well.
1.Make sure you give your home a good cleaning and get rid of excess clutter, anything to make it easier for your guests to clean it depending on how long you are doing the swap for. Some retirees do this for months at a time.
2. Leave a list of where things are in the house, such as cleaning supplies, and supplies for a pool or hot tub etc. Clean out the fridge for them. They don't need your leftovers from the week before! Put out clean linens and towels.
3.Leave the names of emergency contacts for the house, such as a plumber or neighbor.
4.Put any important personal information away. You could have one room or closet that is kept locked with your personal things etc.
5. Tell your neighbors what is going on. You don't want them calling the police thinking there are intruders!
6. If you are letting them use your car (this is entirely up to you and your insurance company) make sure they are aware of any problems.
7. If you both have agreed to take care of each others pets, then leave a list of instructions for your pets care. (This is a huge added savings for animal lovers!) Let them know where the food is, and the leashes etc. Once you have made up these lists, you will always have them for next time. So it is worth the extra work in the beginning. Just think of the money you will be saving.
8. Leave a folder of flyers and coupons for local attractions and ones a bit further away. You may be used to these sites, but remember they are new here. List your favorite grocery stores and restaurants, and any theatres, malls and cinemas that are around.
Most of the care for swapping houses is common sense. You are trusting each other with your houses, pets and cars. Respect the property as if it was yours. Replace anything you break, and clean the house when you are finished. If you take care of the place then you will be recommended and be able to do this with someone else. Just pick your place!
Just think of the places you can go, if you are able to save on accommodation and most food costs. Since you will be taking care of your own meals etc. You may end up with a great house with a pool or hot tub, and have a great time. Better than a five star hotel in many cases!
This is not for everyone. If it bothers you that someone will be in your house, or you in someone else's house, and you don't think you will enjoy your vacation, then you may need to reconsider this option. But it is one way to see the world, if you have the travel bug. There is always someone out there who is going to want to see your place.
Don't lie about it on these listing. Take a good picture and promote what goes on in your area. You don't want potential visitors thinking they are getting a nice house when they are really getting a rustic cabin. Be truthful. You could even do house swapping with your cottage. Put in pictures and that way there are no surprises.
You are seeing more and more of this type of house exchange vacations in the newspapers. Check them out, but also check out the ones online. You will see pictures and lots of information about the area and the type of house. Many of these house exchange sites are free, or a minimal listing fee.
So, if you have been wanting a nicer vacation than a stay at the local motel on the highway, you have the travel bug, and your money is limited, then take a look at house swapping, and have a dream vacation this year.