A potential house swap holiday!

Recently I have been having emails flying back and forth with a family in the South of France about arranging a home exchange with them in the summer holidays.  The idea is that we will swap houses for a couple of weeks and have a holiday in each others towns.  We have been looking to a house swap for ages, but haven’t had much luck until now.  The people we plan to swap with have already provided us with an amazing 13 page document all about their home, their town, it’s history, practical information and places to visit nearby.  Apparently you can leave some money and a bag outside the house in the evening and in the morning we can wake up to fresh bread and croissants (perfect for my husband)!
Also they included information about where to find local groceries and other produce (perfect for me and my supermarket free living) –  they even gave details about recycling and composting! In case you hadn’t guessed I’m a little bit excited and it’s not just about being able to do local shopping and recycle while on holiday 🙂 – I’m also looking forward to having a holiday and seeing how well the whole house swapping thing works. I have a bit of work to do now to match their essay, which I think is a really good idea, which once it is done will come in useful for future house swaps as if this works out well I plan to do it regularly!
We worked out it will cost us around £600-£700 to drive there (including tolls, an overnight stay each way to break up the journey and ferry/ train fare).  If we flew and then hired a car it would be more like £1000 and if we wanted similar accommodation in the area for 2 weeks during the summer holidays we would be looking at around another £1500!  So instead of spending a potential £2500 on transport and accommodation, we will be spending £600-£700, a massive saving!  
There is of course the potential that it might not go ahead for whatever reason, or that things could go wrong, but there are things that we can do to reassure ourselves. We have asked for references, which they provided really quickly and we have communicated via a house swapping website which provides a basic house swapping contract that we can use to make sure we are all  on the same page.  We will check we are covered by our home insurance before we go and the site suggests booking travel tickets at the same time and sending each other copies of travel documents, so you both feel reassured all is going ahead.

Sustainable gift wrap course

Assuming it does go ahead, I will write about how the holiday went when we get back!

By the way in case you are wondering the picture at the top is not of a French location – it was from a holiday I went on several years ago to Turkey, but I was just getting in the holiday mood 🙂

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  1. Great idea, looking forward to seeing how it works out!

    What is the house swapping website you used, I know I could google it but assuming there is quite a few out there so would be good to get a recommendation?

    We tried to save some pennies by doing a road trip round Scotland this year which will cost about 800 for accom and petrol all in for two of us for 11 nights. Not as cheap as the house swap idea but still pretty good! We booked a few premier inns as they had an offer on and the rest on AirBnB.com which worked out a lot cheaper in the big cities.

  2. Zoe

    There are a couple of sites that I know of – the Guardian Home Exchange site and Love Home Swap. I want to look into AirBnB for the stop over on the way in France to add to the authentic French experience!

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