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Many of us have been separated from our families and friends for too long due to Covid-19, so once it’s safe to be together again, there will inevitably be a huge demand for big all-generation celebrations.

But finding accommodation that caters for and fits the whole family can be a struggle, not to mention incredibly expensive. Thankfully, home swapping is a great way to bring everyone together under one roof. With all the mod cons that come with exchanging houses with likeminded people, and plenty of personal space to make it a really special occasion, this is the ideal way to catch up on lost time.  

So to help you find your perfect home swap, we’ve collated our top tips for large groups holidaying this season. 

 

Benefits of home swapping as a large group or family 

Our members who swap as large families 

How to organise a home swap as a large group 

Tips for travelling as a large family 

 

Benefits of home swapping as a large group or family

You pack less

One piece of advice families often hear is to ‘pack extra of everything’ - pants, underwear, socks, shirts, the lot. One of the great perks of home swapping is that you can make the most of all the features you have in your own home, including a washing machine and in some cases a dryer. This way, you can free up space in your car or luggage (and depending on how much you usually overpack, you might even spend less on petrol or luggage costs!)

 

A kitchen for fussy eaters

Ever spent the good part of an hour trying to decide on a restaurant that everyone will be happy to eat at? You’re not alone. By home swapping, you can enjoy all the benefits of a fully-fitted kitchen whilst away on your travels. So save money on expensive eateries, and knock up a meal that everyone will like.

 

 

New toys for the kids

Home swapping isn’t just about trading properties, it’s about swapping toys too. If you’re exchanging homes with another family with children of a similar age, your kids will get to enjoy a whole new range of toys while you’re away. It’s like Christmas all over again!

 

Space for the whole family

Having plenty of space is a key component for a great break. And unlike cramped hotel rooms or makeshift rentals that conjure up images of limp pull-out mattresses or squeaky sofa-beds, home swaps often have room for the whole family. You may adore the group that you’re with – but it’s always nice to have your own space too. That means everyone having their own bedroom, and space to get away from the hustle and bustle downstairs. And when you’re ready to be social again? Then it’s nice to have enough living space for everyone to come together and enjoy each other’s company.

 

 

Our members who swap as large families:

We’ve established that travelling as a large family is no easy task, so we wanted to hear from someone who knows what they’re talking about! We caught up with Laura (who swaps her home in Oxfordshire with her husband and six children) to find out what their favourite thing about home swapping are:

“Having opportunities open up to you that you would never normally be offered; not having to take everything you normally need to take on holiday for the children, as, if you are swapping with a family with children of similar ages, they will likely have most of the things you need already. Also, getting to the house and having lots of ingredients already in the cupboards so you don't have to go out and buy everything like, salt, oil, jam etc!”

 

 

We also caught up with Dan, who swapped his home to travel for two and a half years with his family of six. Dan went on an extraordinary swapping adventure around the world with his wife and four young children, so here's the perfect advocate for travelling as a large family.

He said: “We travelled exclusively through Love Home Swap for two-and-a-half years, and over that time, I think we made about sixty different swaps. When we first started doing this, our older kids were aged eight and six, and the twins were three-years-old. We lived in Singapore for years and had our family there, and we also had a property in Koh Samui, Thailand which we decided to put on the site. When we got a lot of interest for our property, we decided we could probably swap for a longer time, so my wife and I quit our careers. We home-schooled our kids along the way! It was amazing because we were able to experience all of these different things together.”

 

 

How to organise a home swap as a large group or family

Once you get past three children, hotels often stop becoming a feasible option when holidaying. Rentals are often too expensive to consider, and a campervan or canvas tent isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, especially if you’re planning on a break of more than a couple of days. A home swap is a great way to enjoy all the comforts of home whilst away. And better still, it's much more affordable than a rental. Finding a house exchange on Love Home Swap is super simple.

 

Searching for a large home swap

Use our clever filters to refine your search results to show only homes that will cater for the whole family. Simply select ‘Guests’ and use the + button to select how many people you need to accommodate.

You can also use our filters to select certain requirements you may have for your home swap. For example, if you’re swapping as a large group, you may need a car to use during your trip or a parking space. And for those who have young children, you might want to select ‘Equipped for kids’ to ensure your home swap is child-friendly.

 

Ask for requirements

If you have specific requirements, then you can specify these in your swap request messages. Sending a great message is really easy – simply introduce yourself and explain what kind of requirements you will need for your trip. For example, mention how old your children are and if you will require a crib, high-chair, changing table - or any of the other extensive paraphernalia that comes with being a parent!

 

Tell your host who you’re travelling with

When opening a discussion with a member, let them know what kind of group will be staying at their home. Not only is this the polite thing to do and it will make your host feel at ease, but it also allows them to confirm that their home is suitable for all guests. And even better, they may have recommendations for the best things to do locally!

 

For more tips on how to send a great swap request, read our blog post here. If you’d like to see our favourite homes for larger groups, read our blog post here.

 

 

Tips for travelling as a large family
 

Book ahead when eating out

You’ve probably researched the best places to eat in town, but if you’re a group of 6 or more, it’s best to ring ahead to avoid disappointment. This ensures there’s enough space for the whole family. It’s also worth looking at the menu online ahead of time to ensure they can cater for all dietary needs. This is also a great opportunity to ask your home swap host for any recommendations for eateries that can cater for larger groups.  

 

Opt to eat in some nights

Not only will this save you money, it’s also an opportunity to wind down after a long day of activities. Make the most of your fully kitted-out kitchen to cook up a storm for the whole family (including those pesky fussy eaters!)

 

If you can, travel by car

Although flying may be faster, driving is often easier on your pocket, and allows you to pack the essentials for your trip. When packing, always discuss what is needed with your home swap host, as you will almost certainly not need to pack as much as you would with a hotel or holiday rental.

If you’ve got more than one driver in the group, you may also find that renting separate cars rather than one large van is cheaper, and will give you the flexibility for individual groups to go off and do their own thing during the trip.

 

Pack a cooler or camping fridge

Or ask if your home swap host owns one already! Coolers are a great way to enjoy refreshing drinks and homemade lunches when on the go, and they helps you save money on expensive eateries. Even more excitingly, taking a packed lunch is ideal when you want to travel further afield where there might not be food and drinks readily available.

 

Enjoy your time together

If there’s one key thing that we’ve learnt over this past year, it’s how precious our families and free time are. Don’t get too wrapped up in the perfect itinerary that you’ve created, or sticking too closely to your schedule. Home swapping is all about taking it easy and finding new and unexpected adventures, so don’t forget to soak up the little moments.

 

How about you? Do you find that there are unique challenges to travelling with a large family? Or just travelling as a large group? Share your experience with us for the chance to be featured.

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