If you live in another country but like to go 'home' to visit friends and family, you know the problem of what to do about accommodation. Even with your closest friends, you (and they!) may feel you can never totally relax, i.e. you have to be on best guest behaviour, not slobbing out in front of the TV after a busy day out. But, if you book a hotel, will your friends be offended? The answer is 'probably not' as hosts have the added pressure of entertaining guests which can be tiring if the stay is for more than a few days, especially if they aren't on holiday themselves. Couch surfing is fun for the young singles but not for families with children or couples who are getting on a bit and used to comfortable beds. The perfect alternative is to arrange a home exchange close to the friends and family you want to spend time with. You still get free accommodation but with the added benefit of having your own 'home' to return to, to make some of your own meals and generally relax however you wish.
As Home Base Holidays is based in London, there is a very large choice of home exchange offers throughout the UK so most British ex-pats visiting home should have no problem finding homes within a short distance of the villages, towns or cities where they want to be based. As over the years many Brits have emigrated to Australia, it's not surprising that many such ex-pats use the service to arrange swaps when travelling back home. Here is a recent example:
'By the time of the swap (probably from May 2010 onwards) Judith and I will both be retired (currently 61 and 56) and we wish to spend between 2 and 12 months (flexible dependent upon swap) in the UK (where I was born) and be able to spend time in visiting family and friends without the usual 4 week lounge room to lounge room frenetic tour. Judith in particular would like to try and spend 4 seasons in the UK (I might skip out on winter!!)'.
'Welcome to friendly, sunny and warm (hot in summer) Western Australia. We have a detached single story 4 bedroom 2 bathroom home with a secure car-port located in Rockingham, a major suburban area 28Km south of Fremantle, 40 Km south of the Perth CBD. Train and bus tranport close by; train to Perth is a 34 minute trip and the bus to Fremantle (if you don't want to drive) takes 40 minutes. We are 10 minutes by car from both ocean beach and the calm water beaches of Cockburn Sound; 25 minutes drive north of the holiday town of Mandurah, 3 hours from the Southwest Winery area and 1 hour from the Swan Valley wineries. Rockingham itself is a tourist and holiday destination for many West Australians, interstate and overseas visitors.' Read the full home exchange offer and see more photos, HE19952
The photo at the top is from Big Dog Beds.