Homeswapping: cut the cost of your next family holiday

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cardboard house with stones against the green grass

cardboard house with stones against the green grassHomeswapping sites are more popular now than even before, with 20% more families joining up over the past few years. If you haven’t already heard of it, take a few moments to find out about this budget comfort family holiday option!

What is homeswapping?

Homeswapping is when families in the UK and abroad exchange their homes for a holiday period.

Sites such as Homelink.org.uk and AussieHouseSwap.com.au help you find like-minded families around the world to swap your home with, but if this idea appeals to you, it’s vital to start planning early.

Most short-haul swaps are agreed at least three months ahead, while those looking at destinations such as Australia or the United States will find the pick of the properties are snapped up as much as six months ahead.

Who swaps their homes?

In very simplistic terms, there are three types of homeswapper:

  • Those who just want to save money and are flexible about both when and where they will exchange properties.
  • Those who want to visit for a particular event. For example, Homelink has a special Olympics 2012 section for Londoners who want to offer their homes out to visitors. The same goes for Edinburgh during the month of August, when the world’s largest arts festival engulfs the city.
  • There’s a growing number of expat families scattered across the globe who tend to return to the UK for the long school holidays but don’t want to impose on friends and family for their accommodation.

Cost savings spelled out

In order to contact homeowners with properties to swap, you will have to join one of the homeswap websites. This typically cost around £70-£125 a year.

It might sound expensive, but the savings on your family holiday can be considerable. Also remember that because you’d only be paying for flights you can stay away for longer if you want.

For example, we price checked flights against flights plus accommodation for a six-week trip to Brazil in the summer of 2012.Expedia lists flights for £3,279 and all-inclusive holidays for £6,460. So in this example, you could save around 50% when homeswapping.

As many families also swap cars there are potentially hundreds more pounds to be saved there too. And homeswapping will also lighten the luggage load (and excess/outsized baggage charges) as your children can avail themselves of the car seats and toys of the children of the family you are swapping with.