“Home exchanging was recommended to me many years ago, long before the advent of the internet. Although it sounded interesting, being a little less adventurous than I perhaps am now I had dismissed the idea out of hand. But my interest was rekindled many years later when in 2006 I stumbled upon the Home Base Holidays website. I soon realised this was an opportunity not to be missed, so discussed it with my partner, who reluctantly agreed to give it a go.
My partner’s concerns are shared by many 'exchange virgins' - what if our house is wrecked? What if our pets are mistreated? What if our possessions are damaged or stolen? and so on. But his fears were allayed once we embarked on our first exchange. We haven't looked back since, and would recommend it anyone. Living on a somewhat limited budget, exchanging has given us the chance to see places we might never otherwise visit, stay in some wonderful properties and make some fantastic friends along the way. We have never experienced exchangers damaging our property. Far from it. The house is always cleaner and tidier on our return than when we left! And we have always been made to feel welcome and at home in other exchangers' homes.
Sounds too good to be true? Think there must be a catch? Well take my word for it, there isn't! It really is a cheap and convenient way to see the world. The only problem we have ever encountered was on our very first exchange, when we had to return home early due to an unforeseen family crisis. Of course, we could not ask our guests to leave our home, so we spent a week sleeping on friends' sofas and floors. But even that was a small price to pay for the holiday, albeit shorter than planned. So my advice is to always have a contingency plan, and be sure you have somewhere else to stay should your holiday be cut short unexpectedly. So go on all you doubters, give it a go. After all, you shouldn't knock it 'til you've tried it!” – Jennie Murrain.
See Jennie’s current Home Base Holidays listing (HE23943), her Victorian cottage in historic Colchester, the oldest recorded town in the UK. Open to offers anywhere in school holidays, including during the 2012 Olympics.
Note: Although seldom needed, it is a reassurance to have a ‘contingency plan’ for accommodation as Jennie suggests. We would love to hear details of the contingency plans you put in place as part of your home exchange arrangements. Please leave relevant comments below.