When you travel with children, I think it’s so much more pleasant to stay in an apartment/house/cottage than in a hotel room. It means that you are not forced to going to a restaurant for each meal, you’re guaranteed to have more space, and it usually comes more economical. Now, if it’s house swapping, it’s even better. It’s free.
There are a number of websites that make it is easy nowadays to swap houses. It’s a good system and I am thinking on planning our sabbatical around it, at least for Australia and NZ. Of course, it means that you should be a bit flexible on your destination because you won’t find an exact match in every city in the world, but at least there is an underlying sense of trust from both parties. If you ruin their house, they’ll do the same to yours, and you don’t want that…
I already had a link about HomeExchange, which has a large database – although the houses are not all carefully selected. Natalie at Babyccino has pointed out two websites which I like: one called Creative Caravan. Love the name. It is a free membership and when I checked, they had quite a bit on offer in the USA, but not so much in the rest of the world. There’s also Homelink with a lot more in Australia & NZ. And there’s a new one based in London called Luxe Home Swap, targeting the upper end /creative crowd. If you know others worth recommending, I’d love to hear about them.
I don’t know why… each time I hear the S word, I am back into my financial derivatives class at university and it was no fun. Swap, options, straddle, butterly… it was all the same to me.