Climate change & travel: benefits of home swap holidays

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As a UK based travel company, Home Base Holidays, like so many others, has been badly affected by travel restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, as business gradually returns to normal, we are also very aware that our business, albeit in the still relatively small niche home exchange market, encourages people to travel and so, as a responsible business, we urge our members to use our service thoughtfully, limiting air travel especially, to drastically reduce the effects of travel on global warming. The heat dome that hovered over the vast area of western Canada and much of the USA recently, bringing dangerously high temperatures followed by hundreds of forest fires, should be a wake-up call. Reducing the effects of climate change can no longer be delayed by governments whatever the cost, and we must all do our part to reduce our carbon footprint.

‘Tourism is not just a victim of global warming - it also contributes to the problem’
                                                                                             - Sustainable Travel International

With travel restrictions still in place, a growing number of Home Base Holidays members are discovering the pleasures of home swaps closer to home. Home swappers have always tended to prefer unique experiences (not merely sitting on a beach for two weeks every year!), whether it be swapping a rural home for a flat in the city to visit museums and the theatre or, as city dwellers, seeking out rural locations to enjoy fresh air, quiet open spaces, country walks and pubs. Although cost savings are a factor for those on a tight budget in choosing home exchange over expensive hotel rooms and holiday rentals, this is certainly not the only reason that swapping homes has become increasingly popular over the last few years (Home Base Holidays has been operating a home exchange service since 1978 and were pioneers in promoting the advantages, never more important than now).


How home swapping can reduce your travel impact on the environment:

  1. Use your home as a resource when it would otherwise be left empty while you are away
  2. Stay in a real home from home rather than contribute to the development of more hotels
  3. There are no rental costs so stay longer and travel less often, especially to long-haul destinations
  4. Retired or working from home? Swap homes for longer for a change of scene or to visit family
  5. Look for homes in areas where a car is not needed and, if possible, travel there by train
  6. Wash bedding and towels as needed, not every day as happens in many hotels
  7. Support small businesses by shopping locally for food, crafts and regional specialties
  8. Swaps closer to home are easier to arrange than international exchanges without the need for air travel.

"Actually, there are also deeper layers of thought to the home exchange idea. When you think about global waste and conservation, the idea of combining resources with other people on the globe has more merits than those you experience on a personal level. Think of all the hotel sheets and towels that are washed every day; of the low-paid hotel workers (often foreigners); of the huge and wasteful industry that has grown around the needs of people who want to experience a holiday in a different country." 

Ruti Singer (from 'Home Away From Home')


Add 'local to you' options to your home swap offer:

  1. As well as giving details of local attractions, provide information on getting there by public transport
  2. If you have bikes you could share, give details and also whether there are safe bike lanes in your area and cycling/walking trails
  3. If there is little public transport in your area and you offer to swap cars, is yours electric and are there convenient charging points nearby?
  4. Do you have good local food markets? Many people, switching to a more plant-based diet, would love to buy fruit, vegetables and baked goods from local sellers
  5. Are there cafes and restaurants close by offering a variety of vegetarian options (much more appealing than fast-food chains)?
  6. Do you have memberships to local sports or arts clubs that you could share?
  7. Even as Covid-19 restrictions ease, swap guests will be re-assured by knowing the steps you will take to leave your home clean and safe. View the Cleaning tips for holiday home swaps during COVID-19
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Useful Resources: websites and articles


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