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Hi Wendy, interesting review and congratulations in finding the answer to your holiday problem, it certainly sounds a great way to get out and about for a minimum cash outlay.
Oh, one thing, you link seems to take me to a car/home security company and I can’t find anything about
home exchange/home sitting on the site…..
Great article Wendy. Thank you for posting it.
I applaud you for finding a great solution for a single person….although your ideas are great for couples and small groups, too. I quite fancy the idea of house sitting, for seeing more of this country in comfort. I know that you’re not supposed to leave the house for too long, but think of being able to sit and read in peace, without thinking that that wall needs painting, or the back log of ironing!
I used to travel with my husband, but since a divorce many years ago I have had to look at ways of dealing with travelling without a partner. Most of us start talking to friends or family, but it is often difficult to co ordinate times and destinations that suit us both. In my case I prefer my own room – fond as I might be of my friends I need my space. As you will know as well as I do, mostly this makes many holidays too expensive to contemplate. A few short breaks with friends have worked well, and we have shared rooms for 2 or 3 nights and I have coped, but what of a longer holiday?
I thought back to some of the travel I did while married, and realised that a variation of home exchange could very well work for me as a single person. Home exchange is where you swap homes with someone else, mostly at the same time, but sometimes not (as with case of a holiday home), and sometimes it is a hospitality exchange (where you stay with them at one time and they stay with you another time). This solves a number of problems for the single person. Firstly you never have to share a room, secondly you will find that with a whole house or apartment at your disposal, you suddenly have a lot more family/friends interested in being a travel companion. The advantages are many, and for the older woman apprehensive of walking alone in a strange city looking for somewhere to eat an evening meal, this is yet another positive outcome – you will have probably been introduced to neighbours, and you will be in a neighbourhood where you will feel safer. The biggest single factor is that you have no accomodation costs at all, as you make and eat breakfast ‘at home’ and if penny pinching, even make yourself a packed lunch, and buy a take out or make yourself a simple evening meal.
The alternative within home exchanging of hospitality exchange is an even better one. You still get your own room, you will have company, and often hosts willing to take you on some outings (proud to show off their part of the world). It can be fun, as usually you are left to spend your days doing what you choose, but return at the end of the day to a ‘home’ and to people interested in how you spent your time. It is a good experience to reciprocate, and I get a kick out of showing off the advantages of the place I call home.
The very last option in all of this is house sitting, and I only stumbled on this by accident. Sometimes people arranging home exchanges find themselves with a week or more where their home will be empty and they want someone there, perhaps to love and feed their cat. I’ve done this on my own, staying in a stunning home in Scotland in November, where it might have been cold, but the central heating was warm and the sun was out and I could sit in the expansive sunroom overlookiing the landscaped gardens and the rural views all around. Every day I walked up the track to the road looking at the sheep and feeling part of the rural life. My next housesit was to Switzerland, and I talk about that in another review I have posted on Lausanne.
For those of us who must watch the pennies, these options are really good ones.