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Best Places To Do A “The Holiday” Style House Swap

I am an autumn girl to the core. Spending drizzly days working my way through my autumn movie playlist, yes I’m writing this while watching You’ve Got Mail, is my ideal way to spend my time off. However, as soon as Thanksgiving hits, the itch to go into full holiday mode starts to form. The only way to scratch it? Bust out my coziest sweater, make a cup of cocoa, and turn on The Holiday.

As someone well-versed in budget travel, I have tried out many different types of accommodations to save a buck now and again. From house sitting to party hostels, there are many unique ways to travel that aren’t just staying in an overpriced Airbnb. So why not combine the festive feelings with house swapping? If you’re on the hunt for a Jude Law or Kate Winslet, you’ll want to book a house swap at the destinations we’re looking at today ASAP! Let’s dive i

Why I Love House Swapping?

House swapping is a great way to experience new places while immersing yourself in a local atmosphere. When I lived in Prague, I would often house swap my apartment to travel on a budget. While of course house swapping is a great way to save money, it also offers the chance to truly feel like a local living at home in a different part of the world.

Even though you may not meet the owners of the home you are staying at in person, it allows you to have an immediate connection when you arrive at a new destination. The owners can leave great recommendations for where to eat, drink, and hang out like a local and even connect you with their local friends. I have found house swapping has led to some of the most authentic travel experiences I’ve had.

Where To Find A House Swap

There are many reliable sites you can use to find a safe and reliable house swap. Sites like Home Exchange and Holiday Swap are known for helping people find the perfect next spot for the ultimate holiday experience. Before you book, just make sure to read all reviews ahead of time to ensure you have a clear idea of what to expect before you go.

Snowy cabin in mountains for house swap

Book A House Swap Here ASAP!

Want to escape for the holiday season? These are the perfect destinations for a "The Holiday" style house swap over the festive season.

Surrey, England

Of course, no house swap list could exist without the actual destination of where the film was set being on it. Imagine stepping into the real-life setting of the movie, surrounded by quaint cottages, charming villages, and the picturesque English countryside. A house swap here allows you to live out your own "The Holiday" experience, cozying up by the fireplace, exploring charming local pubs, and taking leisurely walks through scenic landscapes. You don’t have to be an L.A. native to swap homes with a local and immerse yourself in the enchanting world that inspired the beloved film.

Reykjavik, Iceland

For a magical winter escape reminiscent of the snowy scenes in "The Holiday," Reykjavik, Iceland, is a top choice. Swap homes with a local and enjoy the unique blend of Nordic culture, geothermal hot springs, and the mesmerizing beauty of winter in Iceland. Keep in mind that travel to Iceland over the holiday season is not for the faint of heart. I backpacked around Iceland in October and had a constant red nose that could outshine Rudolph. Still, Reykjavik is magical no matter when you visit, just pack appropriately and be prepared to spend many peaceful hours reading in front of the fire.

✈️ Pro Tip: Make sure to add these Top 10 Things To Do in Reykjavik, Iceland to your itinerary while house swapping.

Cologne, Germany

Cologne, Germany, is the ultimate festive destination. The magical ambiance of German Christmas markets, beautifully adorned streets, and traditional holiday festivities will have you feeling like you stepped onto a movie set. Swap your home for a charming German dwelling, and indulge in the joyous cheer, twinkling lights, and the delightful scents of mulled wine and gingerbread cookies.

Streets of Cologne, Germany

Edinburgh, Scotland

Watching Edinburgh, Scotland come alive with festive lights, bustling Christmas markets, and a lively atmosphere is a hard holiday experience to beat. Edinburgh's rich history and vibrant culture are heightened during this time, with events like the Hogmanay street party over New Year and traditional Scottish celebrations adding a unique touch to your holiday stay.

Quebec City, Canada

If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, you’ll want to book a house swap in Quebec City, Canada. Swapping homes here provides an authentic experience of a winter wonderland adorned with snow-covered streets, festive decorations, and a cozy atmosphere. Immerse yourself in the joyous holiday spirit as the city comes alive with various events, traditional markets, and a warm sense of community. Exploring the city's unique blend of European charm and Canadian hospitality is made all the more special through a home exchange.

Sydney, Australia

Want to ditch the cold for the holidays? Swap your winter woes for a sun-soaked holiday extravaganza in Sydney, Australia. Exchange your home for a cozy Australian abode, and immerse yourself in the joyful and vibrant holiday atmosphere unique to the Southern Hemisphere. Experience Christmas on the beach, picnics in the park, and a holiday season filled with sunshine and merriment. It may not be a “typical” holiday experience, but it will certainly be memorable.

Cusco, Peru

Cusco, Peru, is an exceptional choice for a holiday home exchange, offering a distinctive and culturally rich experience different from your standard holiday season. During the festive season, Cusco comes alive with vibrant celebrations, traditional processions, and a lively atmosphere. By swapping homes here, you get the opportunity to immerse yourself in Peruvian holiday traditions and festivities. Experience the warmth and hospitality of the local community, partake in the colorful festivities, and taste traditional holiday dishes.

✈️ Pro Tip: After visiting Cusco, head to Lima, Peru to do these 15 Must-Dos In Lima, Peru.

Relaxing in a house swap

Have A Successful House Swap With These Tips

Safety is of the utmost important when swapping houses with a stranger. Keep the following things in mind to ensure you have a successful swap.

Thoroughly Vet Your Exchange Partner

The first step to a successful house swap is finding a reliable and compatible exchange partner. Take the time to communicate extensively with potential partners, ensuring their preferences and expectations align with yours. Clarify responsibilities, house rules, and any special agreements to establish a solid understanding before committing to the swap.

Check Reviews and References

Before finalizing a house swap, thoroughly investigate your potential exchange partner's reputation. Check for reviews and references from previous house swaps or accommodations. Insights from previous experiences can offer valuable information about their reliability, cleanliness, and overall trustworthiness.

Create a Detailed House Manual

I love arriving at a homestay and having a guide on everything I need to know about the town. It makes it less stressful to make decisions and also helps feel like you have insider tips and tricks that will let you live like a true local. Provide a comprehensive house manual to guide your exchange partner during their stay. Include essential information such as emergency contacts, instructions for household appliances, waste disposal procedures, and any unique aspects of your home. A detailed guide helps ensure a smooth and comfortable stay, minimizing potential issues.

Lock Away Valuables And Remove Personal and Identifying Information

Prior to the swap, secure your valuables in a safe place or lock them away. Remove personal and identifying information from easily accessible areas to safeguard your privacy. This precaution ensures a worry-free swap, allowing you to focus on enjoying your trip while keeping your belongings and personal data protected.

Notify Your Neighbors

Keep your neighbors informed about the house swap and provide them with emergency contact details. Inform them of the arrangement, so they are aware of any guests in the vicinity. Establishing good communication with neighbors fosters a sense of community and provides an added layer of security during the swap.

Perform a Pre-Swap Inspection

When you first arrive at your new home away from home, do a thorough pre-swap inspection of your exchange partner's home and document any existing issues or concerns. This step helps in addressing potential misunderstandings or disagreements post-swap. Additionally, it allows both parties to maintain transparency and ensure a smooth and respectful exchange experience.

See You When I Find My Own Jude Law

A house swap isn't just a change of address; it's an invitation to immerse yourself in the beauty of a new place. It's a chance to walk in the footsteps of locals, to discover hidden gems, and to make a neighborhood your own, if only for a while. While Jude Law may not show up at your front door, although I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you, you never know who you’ll meet and the memories you'll create along the way. Safe travels!

Would you ever do a house swap? Tell me your thoughts in the comments!


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