First prize of a Handbag and Travel Treats Gift Set (in photo) goes to student, Chrissie Sultan, from London:
‘I am a student so don’t have a home to swap but my family did do exchanges when I was a teenager. My tip is based on one particular exchange when we swapped with a family in Italy who had kids of the same age as my brother and I.
Tip: If you let your older kids (well daughters anyway) get involved in the arrangements for your home swap they may, as we did, find good ways to cut down on packing. Their daughter Maria and I found that we were almost the same size, shared pictures of various outfits and then agreed to swap clothes and make-up. All I packed were basics like underwear. I had fun dressing in Maria’s clothes and trying out new make-up. Our parents may have thought this was gross but they didn’t complain about our small suitcases!’
The runner-up and winner of a Mini Toiletries Essentials Set for Women is Valeri Walsh:
‘I'm sure most home swappers will know the tips on packing well - roll individual items to prevent creasing, pack shoes with socks or other small items and fill every corner of the suitcase - but I have found a necessity to pack other items to ensure my home swap goes well. Have others found a lack of space in the kitchen for food? Yes, every home owner is thoughtful enough to provide space in the fridge but this is only suitable for fresh fruit and veg. What does one do with the dry ingredients after opening packets, most of which have to be left on the worktop as the food cupboards are full? I have found the answer is to pack self-seal freezer bags. These will keep fresh the cereal, rice, tea bags etc. that you don't know how to keep usable for the length of your holiday. I also pack rubber gloves and a nailbrush as it is amazing how often these are not to hand.’
View Valeri's home swap offer in Italy, part of an 800 year old property within the Medieval village of Ceriana (see image above).
And finally, Lorraine Hegyi wins a year's membership to Home Base Holidays for her reminder of one of the best ever travel tips:
'This isn't original, I read it many years ago, but it is still the best advice I ever heard - plan what you think you need, then take half the clothes, and twice the money!'
View Lorraine's new home swap offer in New South Wales, Australia, a modern home with extensive ocean views in Tweed Heads (see photo above).