Our thanks to the Hastings family in Edinburgh for highlighting the idea of Home
Swapping to us.  Please note that when you make a Home Swap you are inviting strangers into your home and your insurer is unlikely to cover you if you have any problems.  You are therefore recommended to check carefully before entering into any Home Swap arrangement.  Please read the France For Families’ terms of use and remember that any Home Swap you make is at your own risk.

The Hastings family say: Home swapping really is great.  It’s given our family a whole new lease of life as far as holidays go.  Rather than the bog standard two week hols in the summer to The Med (yawn) costing £4,000 plus for the family, for that price we’re off abroad 4 times a year these days!  We’re now on our 14th swap in four years. All have been really successful and each totally memorable.

Last summer we swapped with a family from the spa town of Uriage le Bains, just outside Grenoble.  Their villa was surrounded by the 6,000ft peaks of the Alps.  We had three fantastic weeks there and all it cost us was £430 (the cost of the flights from Edinburgh to Lyon).  We had the use of their car for the 3 weeks at no cost, apart from I think two tanks of petrol, plus our spending money.  We also had a week in Paris over this past New Year with a lovely family with a pretty detached house in the south of the city – an easy 15 minute train ride into the centre of the city.  You never have to pay for the accommodation.  It’s always free.  It’s just all done on total honesty and respect for other people’s belongings.

We honestly cannot understand why other people pay thousands of pounds for an okay holiday when you can have SO much more for your money by doing a home swap.

What we as a family love most about home swapping (apart from the wonderful homes you can get to stay in) is the fact that it really gives you a chance to live like a local.  All
home swappers leave details of where the best places are to shop, to eat and to visit in their local area (so you don’t go to eat, for instance, at all the rubbish tourist places). I once saw one of the home swap programmes on Channel 4, with a couple who lived in London.  They said on camera they got 6 home swap offers a week from around the world: so what are you waiting for!!   Go for it!

Car Insurance – we are told that many insurers
are agreeable to adding friends to your insurance policy for a few weeks.

Where to find Home Swaps

The Hastings family do most of their swapping through

www.homelink.org.uk (the largest home swapping organisation in the
world with some 12,000 members). Costs around £115 (2013 price) a year to join.

They’re also members of Homebase holidays

Another source for Home Swaps – try a French based house swapping site!

What sets Switch Home apart is the fact that it is a French based site with the
majority of listings being in France, ideal if France is your choice of
destination.  The other factor is that whilst other larger sites ask for
subscription fees, Switchome is completely free of charge and will never
ask a fee for any of the services.  It is run entirely by volunteers.
Thanks to Karina Bernard (one of the volunteers) for suggesting the site –
she initially used the services to find holiday accommodation in France
and has been enjoying house swap holidays since 2005 and finds the service
to be reliable and successful.  She is now volunteering with translations
and trying to raise the profile of the site outside France.

And another source for Home Swaps is Green Theme International Home Exchange

At GTI, we believe that Home exchange is a concept right for our time making maximum use of existing resources. It reduces the need for second homes which are often left vacant much of the year diminishing the quality of life of local communities. Home Exchange is an environmentally friendly mode of travel and a comfortable alternative to high priced hotels and
organised package tours. It is a way to experience an area as a local, not a tourist, to bridge the cultural divide and make new friends, and a great way to travel with children. It also achieves a balance between outgoing and incoming tourism, and does not place excess demand on destinations sometimes created by the flow of package holiday tourists and consequent over development which often risks endangering some of the world’s most beautiful locations.

Green Theme International Home Exchange – Enjoy an environmentally-friendly exchange holiday with caring exchange partners.  Vacation exchange and home swap holidays worldwide. Great choice of house exchange offers on user-friendly multi-lingual site. Easy on-line registration.

GTI Home Exchange is a long established home exchange agency based in
UK and France, and our web-pages are published in 7 European languages,
New home swap offers are featured daily and home exchange offers go
on-line as soon as members join.

We hope France For Families has inspired you to try something different…