Jennifer Fox lives in Sydney with her husband Charles and their 10 year old daughter Georgia. They have swapped seven times in the last three years.
We're holidaying a lot more often now
Why did you start home swapping?
We had just returned from a three week holiday in a beautiful Italian villa. We had such a great time, but it was so expensive.
Then we discovered Love Home Swap and realised that we could travel to places which were just as lovely, for free!
Within two weeks of joining, we were offered a house in Phuket. We haven't looked back.
How many times have you swapped through Love Home Swap?
Seven times so far.
In Australia we spent a week in a fabulous house on the Margaret River, a week exploring the vineyard in Mount Marta and two weeks in Coffs harbour where our daughter went to surf school.
Further afield, we did a week's skiing holiday in New Zealand, three weeks in Thailand and 10 days in a fabulous British colonial house in Singapore. We also spent a week in Provence in a glorious villa with a private pool and tennis court.
Which was the most memorable?
They have all been wonderful. Phuket was particularly amazing. My daughter could swim from her room to breakfast. Because we weren't paying $400 per night for accommodation, we didn't feel under pressure to do ten things a day. We did a few hours' work in the morning and one activity a day, such as riding an elephant or having a massage each afternoon. It was so relaxing.
What do you gain from home swapping?
It means we can take longer holidays at a slower pace. We're holidaying a lot more often now.
It also broadens your horizons because people contact you from
destinations you hadn't even considered. You often get to the meet
the neighbours and they give you invaluable tips on the best places
The properties we have swapped with are often large enough for family or friends to join us. It is lovely to be able to share the experience with them.
It sets a good example to my 10 year old daughter. She sees us sharing rather than splashing out on expensive hotels.
Oh, and an unexpected benefit is that it makes me keep the house cleaner and tidier throughout the year!
How much money do you think you save per trip?
Around 2500-3500 euros per week, minimum.
What reservations did you have before doing your first home swap?
We recently renovated our house. It is precious to us and we wondered if people would have the same standards as us. So far it has been great.
What advice would you give someone thinking about embarking on their first home swap?
Just do it!
Communicate well with the people you are swapping with and have a back-up plan if you are swapping cars and relying on flights.
I have separate linen, towels and mattress protectors for the guests. I also pay the cleaner to come in before people arrive, after they leave, and during their stay if they are there for two weeks. I may start using a linen service to ensure high quality.
Why did you choose Love Home Swap?
The quality of the houses and locations on Love Home Swap is way better than anything I have seen on other sites. This saves you having to trawl through junk. I work in IT and like the fact that Love Home Swap is constantly improving. The search tool works well and I like the review tab. I'm excited about the possibilities of Swap Points too.
What swaps do you have planned for next year?
We're going to Piedmont in Italy for two weeks this summer. We have also booked a swap to Uruguay. The family in Uruguay offered us a choice between a house on the beach and a house in the country with a polo field. Decisions, decisions!