Readers Digest
Magazine subscription Podcast

How to home swap for a holiday

BY Ned Browne

18th Jan 2023 Property

How to home swap for a holiday

Home swap with another family and avoid paying for holiday accommodation

As real incomes continue to fall, more and more people are cutting back on luxuries, such as going on holiday. Post-Covid staycations have become the staple for many families. But, whatever holiday you choose, accommodation still tends to be the biggest cost. This is especially true if you have a large family. So, could home swapping be the solution?

How does it work?

How to home swap for a holiday—a model house and house keysDuring the cost of living crisis, home swapping is a good way to save money on holiday. Credit: Schluesseldienst

In simple terms, you swap homes with someone who lives where you want to visit. They stay in your home, and you stay in theirs. In reality, it tends to be more complicated than that, as finding that perfect swap at the perfect time is unlikely.

Instead, many home-swap websites allow you to gain points each time you let someone use your home. You can then use these points to “buy” holiday accommodation when you want to go away.

Home swapping websites

Man working on a laptop with a coffee next to himHome-swapping websites are competitive so look around before deciding which website to go with. Credit: lukasbieri

This is a highly competitive market, which is no bad thing, as this has kept the cost of membership low. Take HomeLink, for example—one year of membership costs £115 (three years costs £250). You can get a free trial too. For that flat fee, you get unlimited home swaps.

"This is a highly competitive market, which is no bad thing, as this has kept the cost of membership low"

The HomeExchange offering, which is comparable, costs $175 (roughly £145) a year. They claim to have over 100,000 homes and apartments in more than 130 countries around the world. HomeExchange has a free trial option too.

Other viable home swap websites include Holiday Swap and Love Home Swap. Google “holiday home swap” to find many similar websites.

Your listing

Once you have decided which website is best for you, you’ll need to create an account and produce a compelling listing for your home. Make sure you include lots of bright photos of your home, and mention places of interest or beauty nearby. Before you photograph your home, make sure you have decluttered.

A great description is vital as well—explain why you love living where you live. You should also talk about the kind of places you’d love to visit. All these things will garner more interest in your property, and this is key to being a successful home swapper. 

What are the benefits?

A family of a man, woman and child sitting at a dinner table in a beautiful houseHome swapping means that you and your family can live like locals. Credit: Jimmy Dean

Aside from the huge cost saving, you get to live like a local—that means, hopefully, friendly neighbours and cooking facilities, amongst other things. It may also mean that you can bring pets.

"You will have more space compared to a hotel room, which is great for families and for those who enjoy being away from the hustle and bustle"

Plus, you will have more space compared to a hotel room, which is great for families and for those who enjoy being away from the hustle and bustle.

What are the drawbacks?

Visitors will expect your home to be spotlessly clean and for you to provide clean towels and bedding. Plus, they will expect wardrobe space for their clothes. You will also need to create a user’s guide to your home: how to use the dishwasher, WiFi code, alarm code, restaurant recommendations etc.

"Home swapping will open new doors, both literally and proverbially"

In terms of insurance, you will need a policy that covers you for any damage your visitors may cause. Also, locking away your valuables makes sense.

Nonetheless, home swapping will open new doors, both literally and proverbially. So, get home swapping and see the world without breaking the bank.

Banner photo credit: Schluesseldienst

Keep up with the top stories from Reader's Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter


This post contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you. Read our disclaimer

Loading up next...
Stories by email|Subscription
Readers Digest

Launched in 1922, Reader's Digest has built 100 years of trust with a loyal audience and has become the largest circulating magazine in the world

Readers Digest
Reader’s Digest is a member of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (which regulates the UK’s magazine and newspaper industry). We abide by the Editors’ Code of Practice and are committed to upholding the highest standards of journalism. If you think that we have not met those standards, please contact 0203 289 0940. If we are unable to resolve your complaint, or if you would like more information about IPSO or the Editors’ Code, contact IPSO on 0300 123 2220 or visit