"I recently read an article on home exchange in a Saturday newspaper. It carried a list of pros and cons and in the cons list the writer had included 'preparing your house for the visitors and clearing up their home before you leave'.
Now I don't think any home exchanger actually minds preparing the house before leaving. I always want people to be as comfortable there as I am and I take pleasure in leaving my Tooting terrace looking at its best just as my heart always lift when I walk through the door of my temporary home-from-home and see that my new friends have done the same for me.
But one thing I did agree with was that, because house swapping is so cost effective, you can afford to give yourself a treat while you're away. We've done this ever since we returned from our first foray into this exciting new hobby and realised that, apart from the cost of getting there, we hadn't spent any more money than if we'd stayed at home:
- So the following month saw us in Bath and, instead of a cup of tea in the Pump Room, we ordered a flight of champagne. How everyone stared as our special little trays, complete with canapés, were borne across that vast and glittering space.
- We've been racing in Chester, Exeter and Dublin and paid to go in the 'posh bit': an opportunity to dress up for the day.
- While in Dorset we took the bus to Bridport and wandered the market stalls and independent food shops and instead of buying one or two treats, purchased whatever took our fancy.
- In Barcelona we fulfilled Paul's ambition of visiting the Camp Nou Stadium (in photo above) at prices which made us realise why it's one of the richest football clubs in the world.
- In Oxford it was my turn to gratify a desire to sit in the Morse Bar at the Randolph Hotel and sip expensive cocktails.
- In Sitges we lunched at the swankiest beachside restaurant
- and in Bournemouth, when a sudden downpour had every-one diving for shelter, we took the little funicular up to the restaurant and, sitting by a vast picture window, ordered a sumptuous afternoon tea and a taxi home.
And then, at the end of our holiday, we come back home to a beautifully cleaned and cared for little house, the plants all watered, the cushions plumped, the mail neatly stacked." - Sandra Newnham, London (see Sandra's current home exchange offer, HE22742)