As far as travel accommodation options are concerned, hotels and Airbnbs don’t always meet every traveler’s budget and needs. An alternative option — and an arguably better way to see how the locals live — is to participate in a house swap. A house swap involves trading living spaces with someone in a destination you want to visit. While you make their home your vacation lodging, they do the same with your home. Of course, this arrangement may come with a handful of concerns, but here are a few ways to participate wisely and effectively.
It’s not always cost-less. Arranging a house swap through a trusted website like HomeExchange or Love Home Swap comes with annual membership fees, or nightly rates may be available if you just want to try it out. Membership comes with the ability to list your space online, browse homes and request swaps with other members. Some swappers may require cleaning fees, but all additional fees outside of the membership fee are usually arranged between swappers.
Prepare your guests by communicating what you expect. In order to help your guests feel at home, consider printing out a list of instructions for how to use certain appliances, where to find the nearest grocery store or other information you feel your guests should know about the area.
Stay in touch. Before, during and after your stay, engage in frequent communication with your fellow swapper. Keep them in the loop if anything breaks in their home or if you face any other problems. Because money is rarely involved in house-swapping, the arrangement can end up seeming less transactional and more friendly.
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People need a “chance to get some well-needed rest, relaxation and fresh air.” This is a sentiment we all likely share, as does the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union. The EC included that phrase when it released its plan to help reopen Europe following the COVID-19 global pandemic. While most EU borders remain closed to international travel until at least mid-June, the EC’s plan starts with inter-Europe travel, and are non-binding recommendations and guidelines. European countries still have the final decision, so travelers are advised to check the restrictions of the countries they plan to visit. According to the EC, “blanket restrictions of free movement are replaced by targeted measures.”