We've all heard the phrase sharing is caring. As a matter of fact, we've probably heard it more times than we'd even care to remember and have left it behind in our childhood, filed under memories of having to split that last cookie with a younger sibling.
Now might be the time to dust off the phrase, and once again champion the idea of just how great sharing can be for both parties -- and not in the form of splitting cookies.
Let's talk sharing in the form of trading luxuries.
House swapping offers a unique opportunity to experience luxury vacations anywhere in the world, through a local's perspective, all for just a fraction of the price of a standard luxury vacation.
House swapping operates off the idea that if staying in one vacation home is good, staying in another one at a different location is even better. The process works by pairing two homeowners who are interested in visiting the other's location. The two sets of swappers set a date for travel and stay in one another's homes during the appointed times.
House swapping gives you the ability to stay in a luxury vacation home at no cost. You can instead spend your money on additional travel, entertainment, food or souvenirs. Also, the homeowners can serve as great resources for finding out about the best local spots, attractions, eateries and entertainment options. House swapping is ideal for families of all sizes. Since you'll have an entire house at your disposal, lodging is no problem. Everyone has room to spread out, relax, have their own space but still gather around a table for meals or spend time out by the pool. You'll also be able to stay longer, do laundry, buy groceries and have all the comforts of home.
At the same time, you have the privilege of letting someone else use your house and enjoy all the same benefits you are! Be sure to extend the same courtesies to the couple or family staying in your home that you'd expect from them.
Where to Go
House swapping can take you anywhere you want to go. There are people at each end of the world who would love to see another part of the globe, and they'd love to do it in style. The best house swapping opportunities are for locations that may not have the hotel amenities you're looking for, or where you'd rather spend your travel money on other things besides lodging.
How to Swap
House swaps are set up through online services and forums like Exchange Away or Home Exchange. A friend of mine and her husband recently swapped her home in a suburb of Chicago with a couple in San Diego who'd never had a chance to visit the Windy City. They agreed to a weeklong swap and left each other lists of things to see and do in their hometowns along with notes about the house. They also both told their neighbors not to be alarmed by seeing strangers come and go from their home. The swap went well, with each couple respecting the other's space and leaving a gift basket of delicious goodies as a thank you.