Mark Warner are challenging bloggers to share their experiences of travelling with their little ones for the first time or any precious family holiday memories. This challenge is in association with Kiddicare.
This is an ideal opportunity for me to blog about house swapping which I’ve been meaning to post for ages.
House swapping is ideal for families with young children, as you can choose to swap with a family with similar age children. This means that all the equipment that you need like cot, highchair, etc will be there. Plus loads of toys. Also you can make personal arrangements with the family you are swapping with regarding linen etc. And you can organise an online grocery shop. So you don’t have to try to squeeze all this stuff into your car. And you’re going to have loads of space at your destination – not cramped in one hotel room.
Without extra luggage squashed around everyone in the car, makes for a much more comfortable journey to your holiday destination. But another top tip is to stop frequently enroute. We always stop about every 90 minutes to prevent my eldest son from getting travel sick.
Other benefits of house swapping are that you have no accommodation costs, so budget friendly. And your own home should be more secure as it is occupied whilst you are away. But you must let your insurer know.
We did a couple of house swaps in 2012 to Scotland and Lincolnshire whilst my husband was out of work and we thoroughly loved both these holidays. We also had another planned in 2013 but sadly we had to cancel, as it was scheduled only 3 weeks after my eldest son was diagnosed with leukaemia.
We have some lovely family memories of our house swap holidays. One memory is of my youngest son deciding to explore the water feature outside the Scottish Parliament. He got thoroughly soaked and I dread to think how dirty that water was. And he had to dry out in the sun, as we were nearly an hour’s journey from our accommodation.
So if you are interested in the idea of house swapping, register online on a house swapping site. There are a number of these. We did it through the NCT, as we were already members. Then take some photos of your home and upload these to your page along with a description of your home and local attractions. Put together an information pack including instructions booklets for your appliances, local fliers etc.
Browse the house swap site to find a few families that you might be interested in swapping with. Then send a message to the first one on your list, specifying the dates you are hoping to swap. Bear in mind that Scotland has an earlier school summer holiday than the rest of the country. Also there may be geographical variations in half-term dates.
Or if a potential swapper contacts you, do them the courtesy of replying within say 7 days with a definite yes or no.
Once you’ve got a house swap arranged, then flesh out the finer details. Arrangements for swapping the door keys. Send a map and directions. Do you want to lock away your best china? Care of pets or plants? Leave a spare key with someone nearby that you trust.
Then just beforehand, do a good spring clean of your home. This is extremely important for hygiene reasons. Remember to empty stuff out of the fridge. Make space in the wardrobes, freezer, etc.
At the end of the holiday, leave their house as you found it. If anything got broken, then replace it. Accidents do happen with young children around. Replace anything you used like teabags and coffee. If you swapped towels and bed linen then please put a wash on before you leave.
Update – 20/8/16
I currently have a giveaway running on my blog until 14th September to win membership to HomeExchange.com for a year’s worth of free holidays. They have about 65,000 properties registered all over UK and worldwide.