Wouldn’t it be great if you could go for holiday and stay at some beautiful, luxurious homes for free? How about a well furnished apartment with a good view of the mountains. Or a cosy Scottish cottage. Excited? The good news is you can.
One way is by House Swapping.
House Swapping is basically two persons exchanging homes. You stay in his home, and he stays in yours. His home becomes your holiday home and your home becomes his. It’s as simple as that. And you don’t pay him a cent, neither does he.
For a start you list yourself on several websites that offer to arrange such an exchange. Remember to highlight whatever good points your home might have:
• a good view;
• unique architecture or location;
• close proximity to attractions, like theme parks;
• or simply a different experience.
If you stay in a rural village, your simple village home may be a unique experience for someone living in town. If you live in the centre of the city, your home may be attractive to someone living in rural areas and wanting to taste what city life is like.
You might have to do a bit of tidying up of your home before you embark on home exchange. Just as you expect to go to a home that is tidy and nice, you have to present your home as tidy and nice too. No broken down stuffs and dirt all over the place. But you don’t have to spend a lot of money getting everything fixed. A slightly cracked window pane is no problem. So long as there’s no danger of someone getting hurt, and it’s not a security risk.
You might get a few offers. Choose the location and the type of home you like. Get to know the people you are exchanging home with before you commit to an exchange. You should be comfortable that they won’t sell your stuffs on eBay. Select reliable, trustworthy exchange partners. Of course there is always an element of risk.
The thing to remember is that just as you choose them, they are also choosing you. They would also want to know if you are trustworthy.
When an exchange is arranged, do exchange pertinent information like:
1) where the key will be, and any tricks to opening the door;
2) location of the nearest food store;
3) detailed instructions for using the appliances;
4) proper arrangements as to how telephone charges will be handled. Now, with mobile phones, this may not be an issue;
5) and peculiarities about the car (if car is included in the exchange). Make sure the insurance company covers this.
At the end of your stay, it would be good if you leave the home in a condition that is the same, if not better, than when you got there. You would want to go back to your home and find it in the same condition that you left it in, if not better. So, as the Golden Rule says “Do to others what you expect others to do to you”.
Initially, websites that offer services may be where you go to get house swapping opportunities. But when you get the hang of it, and established a good reputation, you may get referrals through the people you have swapped home with.
Do note that house-swapping is not for people who can’t stand the idea of someone else sleeping in their bed, using their dishes, and touching their stuff.
People who can’t stand these, or are not sure their home would be attractive enough for house swapping, do consider House Sitting.
In house sitting, you get to stay in someone else’s home. But the other person is not staying in your home. They have are going somewhere else, for business or for pleasure. It may be a work assignment. Or maybe for a much needed holiday. Even to take care of a family member or friend somewhere else. And they have pets that need to be fed and taken care of. Or they have a garden that needs tending. It could even include phone and e-mail messages that need to be forwarded.
House sitters are required to keep all these going while they are away. Normally homes that require house sitting are quite big and luxurious. So, by doing a bit of work, which usually isn’t very demanding, you get to stay in these beautiful homes. Not a bad deal, is it?
Besides the pertinent information needed, you will also need to know where the resources required to carry out the tasks are. What are the house owner’s expectations of these tasks. After all, you do want to do a good job.
And if you really do a great job, some of these home owners will tell their friends. That could be another way to get house sitting opportunities. You may find yourself holidaying all the time. Some people have done so well that even when they charge for their services, some home owners are willing to engage them. They know it’s cheaper than hiring separate services (dog walker, plant care, mail service, security, etc.)
Word of caution: besides the pertinent information to be obtained as in house swapping above, do find out about who pays for utilities and other recurring charges. Some home owners expect the house sitter to pay for these charges for the duration of their stay. So, it is best to make clear on this point.
If you are lucky, you may get home owners who simply want someone to stay in their house while they are away just so that it wouldn’t be the target of burglars. Then, you don’t have to do any work. But you have to be in the house most of the time. This is especially necessary in the evenings. Make it look lived-in.
But remember that whether you house swap or house sit, only the accommodations is free. You still need to arrange, and pay for, the transportation to these locations. And depending on the duration and location of your stay, that is already a substantial saving in the cost of your holiday.
So, whichever way you choose, just have a great time!
I am NOT selling anything. I’m just a sixty something year old retiree, trying to reminisce on what the good things in life are. When I get enough inspiration, and collated my ideas, I write an article and put it on a website for all to see. Come to [http://what-could-it-be.the-good-things.info/] to see what other articles I have written.