“We have just returned from a holiday in Ludlow, a beautiful town in a stunning English county. This wasn't a swap but a rental because Ludlow is a town I really wanted to visit but I hadn't managed to secure an exchange. And here I come to the point of this piece: with home exchange you won't always get exactly what you think you want. Sometimes, if there's somewhere you really want to go, you may have to holiday by more conventional means. Sometimes you may go somewhere you'd never really considered and will have a fabulous time.
So what if you've listed your home and seem to be getting nowhere? Firstly, take a look at your listing and be realistic about how it comes across. Think about properties you like the sound of. Are their owners writing in a way that's more appealing than you are? What are your pictures like? Shots of your area are all well and good but people can find those on the internet. It's what your home looks like that they're really interested in. Make sure you are truthful about the number in your party. It's annoying to see three people as a header and then read down and see you want to bring four more. Make sure you fill in your profile. When I see ‘details to be added later’ I look elsewhere.
Then be pro-active in your search. Don't expect members to contact you. Send out some requests, and do it in a personal way so that the recipient knows you've looked at their listing and it's their property you're interested in. Be friendly, honest and open in your approach. If you hear nothing (and I'm sorry some members are tardy responders) try again after a couple of weeks. If your dates are fixed then send your messages out in good time or use the ‘last minute offers’ section.
Finally, be open minded. One of our favourite home swaps was to Oxford, normally a day trip destination for we Londoners but it was lovely to walk a different route into town each day from our riverside apartment. Another surprise was Frome (in photo). We thought, ‘Why not? There's a railway station there.’ It turned out to be the most delightful town with an amazing medieval centre and an unusual church.
Broaden your thinking, get looking and get messaging. I'm sure you'll find a swap you love. We have found about twenty!” - Sandra Newnham
Click here to see Sandra’s home swap offer in London.