Anyone who sees the movie “Holiday” will be tempted by the idea of a home exchange.
In a Christmas romantic comedy, Kate Winslet’s iris exchanges Sally’s idyllic cottage for a two-week lifetime vacation with Amanda’s (Cameron Diaz) -owned LA mansion.
Fifteen years after the movie was shown, home swapping is more popular than ever.
Urban Life: Joanna and Chris Fleming stay in a luxurious four-bedroom muse house in Notting Hill, London, with children, Archie (16), Amelia (15) and Poppy (12). I took a week’s break.
The concept is simple. While you are staying at someone else’s house, they stay at your house — and neither of you pays a penny for accommodation.
British vacationers typically seek to exchange homes for properties at more sunny destinations at this time of the year. But this summer, soaring numbers are demanding more home-like replacements.
The ever-changing travel advice, costly Covid testing, and the risk of having to pay for hotel quarantine mean that many families are forced to stop their regular overseas trips.
However, as more people chose staycation, the cost of the villa soared.
And with one Suffolk rental that costs £ 107,000 a week, it’s no wonder the family feels the price cuts.
So can a home exchange save your summer vacation? Joanna and Kris Fleming certainly think so.
The couple have just returned from a week-long break with their children, Archie (16), Amelia (15) and Poppy (12), and stay in a luxurious four-bedroom muse house in Notting Hill, London. Did. Night to rent.
However, they were able to stay for free by agreeing to replace the four-bedroom, three-story home just 50 meters from the beaches of St Austell in Cornwall.
Chris, 47, who runs a retail business, said: This is especially true this year, when the demand for staycations is very high. Replacing a home means that we can travel in style.
By Sea: Fleming’s 4-bedroom, 3-storey home just 50 meters from the beaches of St Austell in Cornwall
Fleming’s stay for seven nights, including lunch at Ronnie Scott’s Soho Jazz Club, a theater trip to see The Lion King, a picnic at St. James Park, shopping at Portobello Market, and a day in natural history. I enjoyed the fun itinerary. Museum.
Chris adds: “If you don’t have to fork a huge amount of money for your accommodation, you can spend money on theater tickets, dining at smart restaurants, and so on.”
Families like Flemings use websites such as HomeLink, Love Home Swap, and HomeExchange to arrange swaps.
You usually pay an annual subscription of around £ 100 for your home to be on the site.
According to Love Home Swap, the number of new members surged each month this year, recording a 26 percent increase between February and March. This was around the time the government announced a roadmap from the blockade.
HomeLink’s Caroline Connolly also adds that travel restrictions mean that more people will exchange for other UK families this year, rather than overseas-based owners.
The key to increasing your chances of being noticed is to use great photos to put together an easy-to-understand and friendly description of your home.
If you find a swap that interests you, you need to make sure the property is kept squeaky and clean, free up space in your wardrobe and keep your valuables out.
But you don’t rent a house, so you don’t have to clean up all your belongings.
In fact, home swapping is popular with families. That means they don’t have to pack their toys, bikes and beach gear.
Allison and Lillia of Plymouth estimate that they have saved around £ 2,000 on two holidays so far this year via HomeLink because they don’t have to pay for accommodation.
Allison and Lillia from Plymouth (photographed with her daughter Emily) estimate that they have saved about £ 2,000 on two holidays via HomeLink so far this year.
Allison, 49, said: Replacing a house means that you can travel as long as you have time without worrying about running out of savings.
Alison and Spencer, 48, both working as civil servants, enjoyed a week with their daughter Emily, 12, in a beautiful house in a small village just outside Bath during the Easter holidays.
“We took a gorgeous walk at the front door and in the nearby berth and shopped there.”
During the first half of May, they stayed in a village cottage near Oxford, exploring the Cotswolds and enjoying a day trip to Henry on Thames.
Over the last eight years, Jagos has exchanged homes 22 times. Allison estimates that she has saved £ 40,000 in accommodation costs.
“All the while, I only arrived at a house that wasn’t as clean as we expected.
There is a lot of trust involved, but by exchanging it you can meet really nice people. We often contact other family members by email or phone, so please build trust in advance. ”
Jagos previously exchanged homes with families in France, Spain, Belgium, Sweden, Australia and Canada.
“Going abroad is exciting, but this year we really enjoy exploring parts of the UK that we have never visited. Beauty may not have been what you thought you would visit. People contact you from places you might not know. You never know where the next swap will go. “
Joe and Davy Watkins from Swansea’s Mumbles have been exchanging homes for years. They recently stayed in a seaside home with their four children, Polly (14), Zinks (12), Tom (8) and Meg (6). Instead of exchanging, the Watkins family stayed with a friend in western Wales.
Experienced Swappers: Joe and Davy Watkins from Swansea’s Mumbles, kids Polly (14 years old), Jinx (12 years old), Tom (8 years old), Meg (6 years old)
Their homes are listed on Love Home Swap, which operates a reward system. You earn points by having people in your home that you can exchange for exchanges at other times. The number of points you can earn depends on the property and length of stay.
47-year-old Jo and anesthesiologist 50-year-old Davey, who co-founded the website TheHowPeople.com, are saving points for next year’s overseas vacation. Jo said: “We are looking to a big vacation to Italy with other families.
“I don’t know if I can count straight swaps, so this summer many families are staying at home to earn points and make them free to stay.
“We are lucky to have friends with us because we can leave home and take breaks that other families have earned enough. And for us, it is our own trip. It means one step closer to.
“It’s been a tough time for everyone these days. There’s a really nice element to knowing that other families are on vacation. That doesn’t mean ambushing their savings.
“The family we’re staying in is from a sleepy village in Hampshire and is very excited just to be able to deliver pizza to the door.”
It requires significant savings, but there are some practicalities to consider. You must inform your home insurance company to ensure that your content insurance covers accidental damages.
Insurer Direct Line says there may be other exclusions such as vandalism. If you don’t have a family member or neighbor who can give your key to your visitors, you may need an outdoor lockbox where guests can use your code to access your key.
If you encounter any issues, please report the owner to the website you used. Also, be sure to check the reviews before booking.
Also, stick to exchanging messages via the website rather than by email or phone until you agree to the exchange.
Most sites also offer an ID check service to verify that the guest is who they say they are.
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