If you’re a budget-conscious traveler looking for something more than the typical hotel experience on your next vacation, house swapping may be for you. The following are our favorite reasons to consider this increasingly popular alternative:
1. It’s Inexpensive
It goes without saying that affordability is what first attracts most house swappers. As airfares continue to rise, traveling abroad—or even domestically—increasingly requires handing over a small fortune. Subtracting the cost of accommodations from a travel budget can make visiting a dream destination a reality.
2. You’ll Feel at Home Away From Home
Staying in a hotel is a nice escape, but it gives you a very different perspective on a place than actually living among the locals. Unlike rentals, house swaps often take place in an owner’s year-round residence, and can include the use of their car and even the care of their pets (if you agree). Nothing makes you feel like one of the neighbors than stopping by the local café for coffee and the paper while taking “your” dog for a walk at 7 a.m.
3. It’s Great for Kids
Just packing to travel with kids can leave you feeling like you need a vacation. Swapping homes with a family, however, means you can leave the Pack ‘n Play, stroller, and giant bag of Legos at home. The key is to find a family with kids similar in age to your own so that their bikes, toys, books, and DVDs will be well matched for your brood.
4. It Slows You Down, In a Good Way
Too often traveling abroad means trying to take in an entire country—or continent—in one trip. A house swap is the polar opposite of those 7-cities-in-7-days whirlwind tours. Staying put for a week or two affords you the luxury of really getting to know a place, and allows you to enjoy some downtime without feeling like you should be on your way to the next major attraction.
5. You’ll Eat—and Shop—Like a Local
Having a kitchen doesn’t mean you’ll eat in every night, but it does give you the option of whipping up a light meal after a long day of sight seeing. And if the culinary inspiration strikes, you may end up creating some of your best memories shopping in local markets and re-creating regional specialties in “your” kitchen.
Ready to plan your trip? Check out these 3 popular home swap websites: