Home exchange holidaymakers share tips for the best swaps – ‘put away valuables’

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According to Love Home Swap, people who use home exchange can save £1,065 on a seven night break. But it can be nerve-wracking letting strangers into your home.

On a home swap holiday, tourists swap houses with an exchange partner. While house swap websites have members all over the globe, Britons can even swap within the UK.

From mansions, to penthouse flats or a houseboat, there’s endless choice for home swappers.

Each exchange partner needs to agree on holiday dates and decide whether they’re going to swap cars as well.

Some home swappers exchange gym memberships, National Trust cards or even trade pets for the break.

Sarah, 61, has swapped her house with exchange partners in the USA, South Africa and Singapore.

She said she’s never had concerns about anyone stealing anything during a swap but would put away some precious items.

She told Express.co.uk: “If I’m swapping with a family with kids, I tend to put away any valuables or breakable items.

“I’ve never thought anyone would steal from me, but accidents can happen. If there’s something you don’t want to see broken, put it away in the cupboard.”

Putting valuables out of harm’s way, means there won’t be any surprises when people get back to their house.

Philip, 65, has swapped his home for several breaks in Spain and for a holiday in France.

He said he’d had one accident, telling Express.co.uk: “It was on the last day of the home exchange, but just as I was parking at the airport, I scraped their car.

“Unfortunately, it did damage the paintwork. If it had been earlier on in the holiday, I’d have got it fixed but as it was the last day I just transferred the money.

“Our exchange partner was completely fine about it. It turned out they had also had an accident in my car but got it fixed earlier on.”

For Sarah, the only bad part of an exchange home swap comes before leaving for the holiday.

She said: “The worst part is always cleaning in the days before the swap, you need all hands on deck!

“I also always leave a small manual for exchange partners about house appliances and the local area.

“Once you’ve done it, you’re sorted for all your swaps, except for a quick update if anything has changed.”

She added that friendly neighbours or close family friends can help out if anything does go wrong.

She said: “Our neighbour got on so well with the exchange family, he actually had them round for dinner a couple of times.”

Sarah said she’d never been disappointed with any of the homes she’d swapped with.

She told Express.co.uk: “Even if the house is a person’s holiday home or a little more basic, it’s always been in a good location.

“You really can save a fortune on accommodation, especially if you’re visiting a major city where hotels or rentals are really expensive.”

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