We all love our kids but traveling with them is not easy, not only is it incredibly costly, but it also involves much more forward planning. When you are alone, on in a couple, you can walk out the door with hand luggage if you choose, and wing it when you arrive. When you have kids, it is always more complicated; think about what you need to pack, even before you walk out the door to the airport. But there is a way that can both save you money and make the entire travel experience easier and more fun for everyone. What is it?
It is called home exchange, and involves you swapping your house with someone else, rather than spending thousands of dollars on a hotel, villa, or rental apartment. It is easy and fun and with platforms like CasaVersa it has never been more simple. With this free platform, you simply write a short profile about yourself (your hobbies, lifestyle, family situation, and what you are looking for in a fellow swapper) and then upload a few photos of your home.
This platform will list for you what is out there, allowing you to start browsing immediately and chat online with people. Once something catches your eye, CasaVersa lets you send them a message. You are able to welcome them with your private details too: a phone number, Facebook address, or Skype details and invite them to carry on the conversation with you. If there is a mutual interest, it is then up to the two of you to arrange the finer details of the swap and then start planning your holiday!
Home exchange is a great idea for so many reasons, but it is particularly popular with families. Here are five reasons why we think you and your kids should consider swapping places:
- It is a great money-saver. For many young families, this is an obvious reason for joining a home exchange network like Casaversa. When you consider that the average family of 4 spends around $4,000 on accommodation for a summer holiday, you realise why more and more people are swapping residences. After all, think of what you can do with $4,000. Travel more, of course…
- Your kids get more space to run around and play. When you stay in someone’s home, there is going to be far more than space than in a hotel or a small rental apartment. You may even get a garden or terrace (or if you are lucky a swimming pool), giving you the chance to sit outside on long summer evenings or splash around in the day. But even if you do not have that, what you will have is a kitchen and that is invaluable for young families. You can eat breakfast together, prepare packed lunches for days out and, if you have been out all day, come in and cook a light dinner. Furthermore, if your kids are starving at 6AM, you do not have to wait for the hotel breakfast service to open — you can keep them going with a bowl of cereal.
- You can swap more than just homes. If you have young kids, you will know that they have a lot of demands, which go way beyond food, drink, and sleep. When you swap homes with another young family, chances are that your kids will end up in their bedrooms — with access to a range of toys, books, and puzzles. So, when you are home after a long day out, you know they will have something to keep them occupied whilst you take a break or make dinner. Some families even swap membership cards to zoos, museums, and local attractions. Another money saver!
- You will get to see how other people live. Casaversa is all about encouraging home swappers to live like locals, not like tourists. And when you swap homes, you do exactly that; from meeting the neighbors, wandering in the local area, shopping off the beaten track, and generally stepping outside the tourist bubble. After all, there is more to Paris than the Eiffel Tower and thousands more things to see in London than Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. With a homeswap, your kids can play in the local park, maybe meet a few kids from the community and generally get a feel for how people live in that neighbourhood. And that is an experience you cannot buy.
- You get to know that your home is being lived in. It is well-known that burglars like empty homes and that families are prey to being robbed when on holiday, especially at busy times of the year like the summer and Christmas. When you swap homes, you will know that the mail is going to be collected, the plants watered and the place inhabited. Even better, if you are conscious that our planet’s resources are finite, you will feel better knowing your personal space is being utilised, rather than being left empty.
There is no two ways about it, home-swapping is a great way to see the world, save money, make new friends, and do your bit for the planet too. And we are sure your children are going to like it too. CasaVersa wishes you happy browsing and a great vacation!