Last week we had a house-swap with some friends of ours back in Nottingham. You can read all about it here.
House-swapping is an easy and cheap way to take a family holiday and see a different city. All you need is a house, some friends, and some form of transport. Here are our top tips to make sure it all goes smoothly:
Make a date – Get it on the calendar well in advance. That way you have time to make sure your house is in order, and start planning all the fun you’ll have when you’re there.
Who brings what? – Don’t just assume that your swapping buddies have the same ideas as you. It pays to check on questions like:
– Will you leave us bread and milk, or should we bring our own?
– Are you leaving any other food?
– Will you be leaving shower gel, shampoo, toothpaste, and other toiletries?
– Do we need to bring our own travel cot, kids’ bedding or high chair?
– Shall we bring towels and bedding?
Plan ahead – Don’t try to tidy the whole house on the day that you’re leaving. Make sure that you have clean sheets to put on, and that your underwear isn’t all hung out to dry. If you’re leaving food then plan in time to go and get it.
Keys – If you aren’t going to meet halfway and swap over keys, work out a safe place to leave them. Next-door neighbours or friends who live locally are a good bet. Just make sure your swap-mates know where they’re going to get the keys.
Things they’ll need to know – When do the bins go out? How does the boiler work? Where do you leave the bedding, towels, cleaning products? Most importantly, what’s the Wi-Fi password?
Animals – If you have pets (and we inherited our friends’ dog, rabbit and fish on our recent swap) then leave detailed instructions about what to do. Cover feeding, cleaning, walks, treats, where they can and can’t go. To be safe, assume your friends don’t have a clue about animals.
Do something nice – Remember that it’s a holiday for the guys staying in your house, too. So make it nice for them. Think about putting some flowers around the house, or buying them a magazine, or some nice hot chocolate. We left some freshly baked bread, for ultimate friend points.
Enjoy yourself! – See some sights. Have a lazy breakfast (as far as that’s possible with kids). Meet up with old friends. Do something different.
Do you have any house-swapping advice? Is there one thing you always forget? Let us know in the comments below.