Despite the rather sluggish economy, there are still ways in which we can save money. With a bit of thought and the ability to plan ahead, we can save money by taking advantage and reaping the benefit from the cheapest form of holidaying. And no iam not suggesting to play the lottery.
Most of us need to escape for a week or two now and again, but with the current economic situation, we are all tightening our collective belts.
We are no longer able to spend a fortune on holiday villas and expensive hotels. With modern technology and even online banking allowing us so much freedom of choice. But there is an alternative and a much cheaper way to spend your vacation. When you home swap, your home will be occupied and not lying empty while you are away, but there are many more benefits.
A Holiday Home Swap
Also known as home exchange holidays, this type of holidays may not appeal to everyone. Holiday home swap have been around for some time; the idea was used in the film “The Holiday” with Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet and Jude Law, in 2006. The film was a bit of a damp squid, but holiday home swap remains an excellent way to save money.
Holiday home swap or home exchange means that you and your family agree to exchange homes with a family from a different area or country and live in each other’s home during your holiday.
This form of holidaying offers incredible value for money, especially for the larger families since the accommodations are free. The cost of the holiday is the travelling cost and a fee to join a house swap network.
The key to a successful home swap holiday is trust and flexibility so the earlier it is arranged the smoother it will go. Your house does not have to be a mansion; the location is the key, your description of the property should be accurate, the property should be clean for a successful, effective holiday swap.
The home on offer should be of a similar calibre to the home you are hoping to enjoy on your swap.
Property in a picturesque rural situation or those that are connected to historic places can be expected to swap for a similar property overseas.
Holiday swap, Networks
It can cost around £75 to £100 a year to join a network that will provide details of homes available for swapping, which can be viewed online.
Intervac-homeexchange.com has been facilitating home exchange between families, singles and retired people since 1953, they now offer their services around the world for 30,000 families from all walks of life and would love to hear from you.
The financial benefits are obvious, when you consider a family villa can cost up to £2000 a week, with home swap, this can all be your holiday savings. And the advantages do not stop here, holidaying with the family is much easier in a real home, it offers a chance to sample the neighbourhood and lifestyle. When you swap with a family, there are toys for the children to play with and the home is already child proof.
You can swap cars, which can be picked up at the airport to save on taxi fares; local information provided by your host family can prove invaluable in preventing you from getting stitch-up as a tourist.
Information packs can advise on the best local watering holes, places to visit and which to avoid. Some people will ask a friend or neighbour to act as an agent on their behalf during the swap; this is a good idea and can help the new family with any teething problems as well as keeping an eye on your home while you are away.
Like everything else there is a downside, you are opening up your home to complete strangers. However, there are several precautions you can take to ensure your home is safe.
Get to know your prospective swapper well before the swap. The first contact is usually via e-mail through home sites like Homebase-hols.com, excchangeaway.com and intervac.com. Once you find your potential swapper try to stay in regular contact, this will give you an idea of who you’re dealing with. If you are finding it difficult to reach your potential swapper or their answers to your questions are too vague, you may wish to reconsider as this could prove to be a problem later on.
Agreement in writing should include addresses and dates, a list of what is included in the swap, who will cover costs of phone, gas, electricity and any breakage.
That said, home swappers stress that problems are rare, and the experience can be very uplifting.