I have spent the afternoon responding to all everyone interested in house sitting for us when we are away.  I was overwhelmed by the responses!  32 applicants!  Although I am sure some of them won’t be available during our exact dates.  And to be honest, we won’t actually consider anyone new, unless all our previous house sitters are unavailable and other options have been explored.  But it is good to leave our options open.
And that led me to updating our Home Exchange listing too.  We have completed one house swap, and are planning another over the Olympics.  We have a family coming to stay in our home for 4 days, and in return we get a week’s holiday in the French countryside, for free.  Sounds like a good deal to me!
Many people are afraid of home exchanges – because ultimately you’re letting strangers into your home.  But the good thing about it, is that you’re in their home too, and of course there are good practices, like:
  • Get friends and family to drop in on them
  • Have your neighbours look out for anything unusual
  • Ensure you complete a formal contract to agree what is allowed and what not
  • Take references before you agree a swap
  • Lock away any sensitive items/documentation
I am hoping that we can incorporate a long term house swap into our ‘holiday of a lifetime’ during 2013/2014.  Only challenge is, there aren’t too many houses available for swaps in the countries we want to spend time in!  We’re looking to spend time in:  South America, Asia and/or Africa.  And unfortunately most listings are from the US, Europe and Australia …  But we can live in hope.
If you are curious about the source of potentially free holidays, have a look at www.homeexchange.com. House sitting assignments can be found on www.mindmyhouse.com