Friday, April 10, 2009

House Swaps: the practical way to holiday

~ Last night I was researching article ideas for this blog, when I discovered the Aussie House Swap website. When you house swap, you exchange your home, unit, holiday home or apartment with another house swapper for an agreed period of time. You could even swap something unique like a houseboat or motor-home. The Aussie House Swap website has a series of excellent articles about the benefits of house swapping, and have given me permission to reprint all of them on this blog. Here is the first one.

In some ways, this is the easiest article on this site to write. That's because there are just so many advantages to house swapping as a practical and inexpensive way to enjoy your regular holiday break — or even the vacation of a lifetime, in that exotic locale you've always wanted to visit.

What makes house swapping a very practical way to holiday for most people is the enormous saving all parties make on accommodation costs. Remember, house swapping means just what it says — two homeowners literally exchange houses for an agreed period, at no cost to either party.

For most vacations of a couple of weeks or longer, accommodation is the single most expensive item on the budget. And even if it's not number one, it'll almost certainly be number two.

Just imagine having that cost deducted from your holiday expenses!

Through a vacation house swap, you'll also enjoy the tremendous convenience of a fully equipped kitchen. You won't need to go out for meals day and night, and can eat out purely when you want to. Besides the convenience, you will of course save a great deal more money this way. In fact, you probably won't spend much more on meals than you would if you'd stayed at home!

Some further benefits that house swapping offers are more space, privacy and comfort than almost any hotel, motel or resort can give you. And with Aussie House Swap, you can check out available swaps online, well in advance of your trip. This way, you are able to look at exactly what's on offer. No more arriving at places which don't live up to their glossy brochures. (And haven't we all done that more than once!)

Your house swapping partner/s will also be able to fill you in on what's hot and what's not in their neck of the woods, with up-to-date local knowledge, and their own recommended spots to visit. Places that won't necessarily be in the tourist guides. Possibly even places of great natural beauty, or fine cuisine, that are free from hordes of tourists. Or great eateries where you need to make an advance booking to get the best tables. Remember, local knowledge and personal recommendation always beat paid ads in a tourist guide or a weekly "What's On" magazine.

Lots of people even swap cars when they exchange houses during their holidays. If your swap involves a flight, you'll save on car hire — or avoid the inconvenience of always having to rely on public transport — that comes with a traditional hotel, motel or resort vacation to a distant destination. Once more, a significant cost saving accompanies the choice to house swap.

And talking of car swaps, even if you're going to a city to which you could have driven, by flying you'll be there much more quickly. You may well have a full extra day, or even more, in which to enjoy your holiday, by not having to drive there and back. And the cost of a flight (especially one booked early at cheaper rates) will be more than affordable due to the absence of accommodation costs.

Furthermore, partly because of the big cost savings, you may find yourself considering holiday spots you wouldn't otherwise have thought of. Perhaps even out-of-the-way places, far from the normal tourist beat, with no hotels, motels or resorts within miles. For example, a pristine beach, a trout stream or an outback cattle station may grab your attention as you scan the available swaps.

And there's no need to settle for the "same old same old" every year. This year, why not cross the Tasman and visit our friendly neighbours? Then next year, check out some of the islands. Followed by a visit to the mountains the year after that. There really is no end to the wonderful opportunities and possibilities that house swapping vacations can present. You can literally make each holiday a new and exciting adventure, with the extensive and growing Aussie House Swap database to choose from.

There's also, of course, the security you gain by exchanging houses with another swapper. Instead of leaving it empty, with mail, junk mail and newspapers piling up (in between being collected by the neighbours) — a virtual invitation to vandals and thieves — your house will continue to be occupied while you're away.

Not to mention that your swapper will be able to take care of your pets, saving them the trauma of going to an unfamiliar kennel or cattery, and you the trauma of paying the bill when you get back home!

In fact, there are really only two problems with taking a house swap holiday: firstly, choosing between the many delectable alternatives which are available, and secondly, deciding what to do with all the money you'll save!

How much does it cost?
Aussie House Swap membership is only $65 per year! However, if you do not manage to house swap in your first year we will give you another 12 months membership absolutely free! This is our guarantee to you! For $65 (less than the cost of one nights motel accommodation) you can make as many house swaps as you like within your 12 months.

Article courtesy of Aussie House Swap website.
Image for illustration purposes only

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