House swapping

barcelonaOver the summer break I spent a bit of time decorating my home. (No, the pic above is not of my place — but somewhere I might now be able to stay.) One of the reasons was that I wanted to take some photos so I could list it on a house swap website.

We featured an article on house swapping a couple of years ago in the magazine where I work. It seemed like a great idea. But I always wondered — is it too good to be true?

Well, I believe that you should “give it a go” — as Aussies like to say. So I took the plunge and listed with two sites. Creative Caravan tags itself as “Craiglist for Creatives” — the idea being that you can swap with like-minded people.

The other website is Homelink. I did a bit of research and was attracted to this one because there is strong membership within Australia so if I want to take a trip to Byron Bay or Tasmania then I can swap with people who live there… as well as people in Italy. And within a week of listing I got a message from someone wanting to swap in Martinique!

– Natalie

7 COMMENTS - Add your own

1. Heather | February 24, 2010 | Reply

I would love to do this! Would be so cool, can’t see my husband going for it though. Maybe i could just leave him here…

2. Mari | February 24, 2010 | Reply

We did this twice (Ireland and Iceland), and are doing another exchange this Easter (France). It’s brilliant!

3. Courtney | February 24, 2010 | Reply

I love the idea of house swapping. We swap houses with friends every year at Christmas time when we go to L.A. and it’s so nice to be in a house, have a kitchen, etc. It makes traveling with kids so much easier.

We tried to use Creative Caravan for our time in Sydney, but didn’t have any luck finding something suitable. Let’s hope that website grows!

4. gabrielle | February 25, 2010 | Reply

creative caravan looks absolutely perfect!
by the way im looking for an apartment swap for next january/february. we are in amsterdam and want somewhere in central sydney.

5. Anne Schütz | March 26, 2010 | Reply

You could try homeexchange.com! We swapped our Berlin house with a family from Sydney last year! It was great!

6. caroline | October 21, 2010

This sounds great, however what are the security risks as we have a beautiful home in the art precinct of Melbourne full of precious art etc . How did you find yor home on return? Did they look after the animals as well? It would not be worth the swap if you had to go around emptying cupboards.

7. Emilie in Paris | October 23, 2010 | Reply

Everyone I know of who has swapped houses has found it a positive experience, and their house has been in perfect shape. Of course you cannot guarantee it, but you can tell from the email exchange you have when you set up the swap if people are serious and on the same wave length as you are.

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