One of the (many) advantages of a home swap holiday over a holiday rental or hotel room is the chance it gives to really experience living like a local. Although home swappers will leave their home clean and tidy, with space for you to store your things, the home will generally be just as it is lived in – family photos, books, pictures, toys, box sets, plants and memorabilia (everything from granny’s best tea set to children’s craft work on display). Some homes are minimalist with only a few personal items on show (oh how do people achieve that?), others are cluttered and cosy, and most are somewhere in between.
Unlike a room in a hotel chain where you know exactly what to expect, however many photos you have seen of your home exchange home beforehand, opening the front door for the first time will be the start of a new experience. Any children in your family are likely to be excited to explore their new surroundings right away and choose their bedrooms. Of course it may take a little while to find your way around a new kitchen especially (now where is the most logical place to store a tin opener?). With the slower pace in being away from daily work and school schedules, that will be part of the fun, and bring back happy memories of your holiday in months to come. And you may well pick up some ideas to implement in your own home, whether a paint colour you really liked, good storage ideas, a coffee machine that made great coffee or a very comfortable mattress.
Apart from choosing a home to swap to that is safe if you have toddlers or accessible if you have mobility problems, you may prefer to swap with someone who has a similar lifestyle to your own or to experience something completely different (bearing in mind, if your own home is not geared up for young children, it’s best to stick to home swaps with adults only for peace of mind over your white carpets and fragile antiques!).
If, like me, you enjoy walking down a street at night and glancing into homes with undrawn curtains, browsing through the homes on Home Base Holidays will be a treat, and you may find it hard to narrow your search to those homes most likely to be swap possibilities.
To whet your appetite, a small selection of recent Home Base Holidays home swap offers:
Tonnicoda, Italy: stunning old palace with beautiful gardens, located in the Italian hillside village of Tonnicoda, just a 90 minute drive to Rome.
Queensland, Australia: contemporary waterfront home with pool and views, near beaches, golf, Noosa and Brisbane.
London, England: luxurious apartment is the perfect quiet city break space, for those looking to explore the treasures of Central London.
Kvidinge, Skane, Sweden: fabulous medieval castle plus cute yellow guesthouse within the castle's grounds!
Palma, Mallorca, Spain: comfortable family home 15 minutes’ walk from the centre of Palma on the balearic island of Majorca.
Spanish Point, Co. Clare, Ireland: holiday cottage overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the sandy beach of Spanish Point.
Cologne, Germany: high quality apartment with two workspaces, many books and a calm garden in a vivid quarter close to we are a household of two scientists and PhD candidates who work and live here, you will see that this apartment has two fully equipped workspaces, very fast internet (500 MBit/s) and plenty of spots to read
Cobourg, Ontario, Canada: new townhouse just a 30 second walk across Victoria Park to beautiful sandy Lake Ontario beach and one hour by train to Toronto.
London, England: attractive double-fronted Victorian terrace house, comfortable and spacious for adults and children.