'We have enjoyed over 20 home exchanges in the past six years and although initially we were a bit anxious, we now set off without a backward glance. As well as exchanges, we have welcomed house sitters from the Home Base Holidays site and have met some lovely people who we would never have come across during our everyday lives. (Our dogs have been so well cared for, they sometimes look a little disappointed when we return!)
I would advise newcomers, worried about using house sitters, to invite them the afternoon before departure. That way, you can show them the ropes, introduce them to your animals at leisure and enjoy a supper together. When you leave, the next morning, you will have peace of mind and maybe formed the basis of a new friendship.' - Christine Long, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, Wales
For home swap: Unique, purpose built houseboat (above) moored at picturesque marina with restaurant & cafe on site. 4 miles to Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, Wales
House sitters wanted: Couple wanted to housesit & look after 2 dogs + cat at our lovely rural farmhouse (above), set in 7 acres of glorious countryside, when we go away. Near Offa's Dyke & Llangowy Abbey. 20 miles Hereford, 40 miles Cardiff. Abergavenny 6 miles. Village shop, garage, pub 1 mile. Superb views. Car essential.