How much does it cost to arrange a home swap?
Q: Please could you advise me of any additional costs involved when a home exchange has been agreed, i.e. any costs to yourselves or to the exchange home owners. Many thanks - Robert
A: Other than the cost of Home Base Holidays membership (£29 for six months or £49 for one year) and the cost of travel and travel insurance, there are no additional costs when taking part in an exchange. However, it is important to inform your home insurance provider to make sure that your policy will remain valid for the duration of your exchange (some insurance providers charge a small premium to cover the period). Also, some members use cleaning services and key exchange services, but these are totally optional and the vast majority of members do not use such services.
Is my house suitable for a home swap holiday?
Q: Hello, I'm interested in doing a house swap via Home Base Holidays but what state does your home need to be in to do this? My home is comfortable, liveable, functional and furnished. However it is also full of my family's personal stuff. To what extent is the property meant to be devoid of this, and what assurance does one have that one's stuff will be safe if it remains? - Peter
A: The vast majority of homes listed for home exchange are members' primary (and usually only) residences. Real lived in homes contain furnishings and lots of personal items. Indeed, it is the family items like books, photos and keepsakes that make home exchange a much more personal experience than staying in a generic rental or hotel room (the photo is of a cosy, inviting cottage offered for exchange in the Cotswolds). Just ensure your home is clean and tidy in preparation for your exchange guests' stay.
Can you swap when you rent your property?
Q: I am very interested in home swapping as it seems like such an excellent idea. I live in a two bedroom apartment in Crouch End, North London which I think would be a great location for someone wanting to visit London. However, I do not own the apartment but rent it and so am not sure if I can still take part in a home swap. Do you have any advice? - Kathy
A: Thanks for getting in touch and great to hear that you're interested in home swapping! Many people that rent their homes do take part in home swaps. However, it is very important that you first get your landlord’s permission before searching and agreeing an exchange. Many landlords will understand that their property is more secure when occupied than left empty for a period. If your landlord agrees then you're good to go! However, it is also very important to check that your home and contents insurance if will cover the period when your home swap guests will be staying there.
Can I list my holiday home for home swapping?
Q: I have a holiday home in the UK and a house in Italy. I’ve had a look at your website and like what I see. Can I register my holiday home for exchange or does it need to be my main residence? – Kim
A: Absolutely! You can add either your main home or your holiday home on the Home Base Holidays website. Many members do list their second homes and during the registration there is a “Second home” tick box to indicate that you are listing a second home (in the search results second homes appear with a small round “2” icon). Listing a second home often gives more flexibility as it usually means that you can be more open with your dates than when swapping your primary residence. Therefore, many second home owners are able to consider non-simultaneous exchanges where you swap at different times as well as the traditional simultaneous exchanges where you and your exchange partners swap at the same time.
What should I do about clean towels and linen for my guests?
Q: Do you make up the beds with clean linen or do you leave the clean linen next to the beds? Do you have to tell your home swap guests that they are welcome to use your clean towels, soap, shampoo, etc. or is it assumed that they will (also for us when we're in their home)? I want to make sure that I am a good home swap host and a good home swap guest and don't want to make any first time faux pas! - Eva
A: Unless you are really going to be pushed for time on the day you leave home (in which case let your exchange guests know or, better still, arrange for someone to come in to make beds before their arrival), leave all beds that will be used by your exchange guests ready made up with clean bed linen. They may be tired after a long flight and won't want the hassle of having to make their own beds. Leave additional clean bedding plus extra towels, indicating in your 'Instructions' where such supplies are stored. Soap should be left on sinks but most people will bring their own personal items like shampoos, etc; but do let them know if you are happy for them to use anything of yours.
Looking after pets during a swap?
Q: I am very interested in home swapping but wasn't sure if having a pet would be a problem (I have a very friendly cat called Tony!). Ideally it would be great if the guests staying in my home could feed my cat and give him the odd tickle under the chin - I just hate going away and leaving him in a cattery. Is pet care something people might do when home swapping? - Janice
A: Hi Janice, great to hear that you're interested in home swapping. You can let Tony know that many members are very happy to look after pets during their home exchange. When you join Home Base Holidays you will see tick box options for “Pet care required”, “Pet care offered” and “Pets welcome”. It really can be an excellent option for many pet owning members as it saves on pet care costs and it’s nice to know that your pets are being looked after at home.
Many members would find it an added bonus to swap with a home that has a pet. However, it is important when discussing a potential swap to right away let the other member know that you'd require pet care; for some members, especially those with allergies, looking after a pet (or even staying in a home where a pet has been) would not be possible.
Can I arrange a longer term home swap?
Q: I was looking at the Home Base Holidays website and really like the idea of home swapping. My wife and I are now retired and are hoping to spend several months in Australia visiting our son in Melbourne and also with the thought of moving there at some point in the not so distant future. Do members arrange longer duration home swaps of say three to four months or is it more for people looking to arrange shorter holidays? Look forward to hearing from you. - Tom & Ann
A: Thanks for getting in touch and great to hear that home swapping appeals to you! The majority of home swaps do tend to be either short breaks such as long weekend getaways or holiday swaps of one to three weeks. However, there are many members that arrange long term home exchanges that can be anything from one month to one plus years. Arranging longer term home exchanges can be a great way to visit family or friends living overseas such as in your case, or, if you yourself are an expat living overseas, a great way to visit your native country while still enjoying your own space. Longer term exchanges can also be an exciting option for digital nomads, writers or any other location independent workers whose only work restrictions is a good internet connection.