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How to Save Money: Save Money With Holiday Home Exchange

Updated on January 8, 2016
tobusiness profile image

Jo has been an ITU nurse at the London North West NHS Trust for 14 years. She obtained her RN at University College London Hospital.


Despite the rather sluggish economy, there are still ways in which we can save money. With a bit of thought and the ability to plan ahead, we can save money by taking advantage and reaping the benefit from the cheapest form of holidaying.

Most of us need to escape for a week or two now and again, but with the current economic situation, we are all tightening our collective belts.

We are no longer able to spend a fortune on holiday villas and expensive hotels. But there is an alternative and a much cheaper way to spend your vacation. When you home swap, your home will be occupied and not lying empty while you are away, but there are many more benefits.

Holiday Home Swap

Also known as home exchange holidays, this type of holidays may not appeal to everyone. Holiday home swap have been around for some time; the idea was used in the film “The Holiday” with Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet and Jude Law, in 2006. The film was a bit of a damp squid, but holiday home swap remains an excellent way to save money.

Holiday home swap or home exchange means that you and your family agree to exchange homes with a family from a different area or country and live in each other’s home during your holiday.

This form of holidaying offers incredible value for money, especially for the larger families since the accommodations are free. The cost of the holiday is the travelling cost and a fee to join a house swap network.

The key to a successful home swap holiday is trust and flexibility so the earlier it is arranged the smoother it will go. Your house does not have to be a mansion; the location is the key, your description of the property should be accurate, the property should be clean for a successful, effective holiday swap.

The home on offer should be of a similar calibre to the home you are hoping to enjoy on your swap.

Property in a picturesque rural situation or those that are connected to historic places can be expected to swap for a similar property overseas.

Holiday swap, Networks

It can cost around £75 to £100 a year to join a network that will provide details of homes available for swapping, which can be viewed online. has been facilitating home exchange between families, singles and retired people since 1953, they now offer their services around the world for 30,000 families from all walks of life and would love to hear from you.

The financial benefits are obvious, when you consider a family villa can cost up to £2000 a week, with home swap, this can all be your holiday savings. And the advantages do not stop here, holidaying with the family is much easier in a real home, it offers a chance to sample the neighbourhood and lifestyle. When you swap with a family, there are toys for the children to play with and the home is already child proof.

Local Knowledge

You can swap cars, which can be picked up at the airport to save on taxi fares; local information provided by your host family can prove invaluable in preventing you from getting stitch-up as a tourist.

Information packs can advise on the best local watering holes, places to visit and which to avoid. Some people will ask a friend or neighbour to act as an agent on their behalf during the swap; this is a good idea and can help the new family with any teething problems as well as keeping an eye on your home while you are away.

Like everything else there is a downside, you are opening up your home to complete strangers. However, there are several precautions you can take to ensure your home is safe.

Get to know your prospective swapper well before the swap. The first contact is usually via e-mail through home sites like, and Once you find your potential swapper try to stay in regular contact, this will give you an idea of who you’re dealing with. If you are finding it difficult to reach your potential swapper or their answers to your questions are too vague, you may wish to reconsider as this could prove to be a problem later on.

Agreement in writing should include addresses and dates, a list of what is included in the swap, who will cover costs of phone, gas, electricity and any breakage.

That said, home swappers stress that problems are rare, and the experience can be very uplifting.

Happy Swapping

Would you consider saving money by participating in a holiday home exchange?

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    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 5 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Vicki, so nice to see you!....and no I haven't tried this one personally, but maybe after I retire.

      I'm sure we'll want to start travelling again and this may be the answer. Thank you for taking a look, much appreciated and my best to you.

    • profile image

      Vickiw 5 years ago

      Enjoyed this article - I ordered if you have ever done it? I am thinking of this at the moment, as I know several people ho have swapped and had very good experiences.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 5 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Brian Luckhurst, thank you for the added information, much appreciated.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 5 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Max, As I said, this is not going to appeal to everyone, especially not for those who value their privacy. but it is a very good way to have a cheap holiday when things are tight. Just another alternative way to save some money.

    • BeyondMax profile image

      BeyondMax 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Lovely hub! I saw a few TV programs about this holiday swap and it's a really smart idea (but for somebody else though LOL). I don't think (even if I had my own mansion which is sadly never gonna happen in this life =) and even if it doesn't have to be a mansion!) I'd ever be comfortable in swapping with people I don't really know... Unless it's like summer cottage or something like that. But even considering that it is still a lot of risk, isn't it? I still think that smart traveling (like renting a place instead of a hotel, a car or scooter for transportation - sounds the same really, you just need to do your own homework instead of paying yearly fee in the network of swap houses and make it somebody else's job) and planning your own adventures looks a little safer harbor to me and not much different in money then swapping (you still have to pay for home expenses anyways).

    • profile image

      Brian Luckhurst at HE50plus 5 years ago

      A good article on the subject. Swapping Homes for holidays has become more and more popular and for all ages. There are three different types of Home Exchange - the traditional way which is done at the same time, a non-simultaneous exchange and a hospitality exchange.

      It is very important to get to know your swap partner prior to the actual swap and we always recommend to our members to Skype, telephone and exchange lots of emails beforehand.

      If you haven't tried it, Home Exchange is such a great way to travel.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 5 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Angel, lovely to see you, thank you so much for the visit and comment.

      If you own your home, this is a good way to visit somewhere you always wanted to see but found it too expensive.

      As I said, it won't suit everyone, but if you are not too precious about your home this is perfect.

    • Angelme566 profile image

      Angelme566 5 years ago

      Wow ,this is new to me . new idea , never thought of this in my entire life.. So good of you Tobu you made your way to write about this , so now i know this things..thanks so much ..Good Morning!