So while we are relaxing in a lovely house in a smallish town on the north Island of New Zealand, the family who own this house are having a holiday in our house near Brisbane Australia.
I came across the idea of house swapping when I was looking for places to stay (and pay for) over the Christmas period here in NZ. I needed somewhere to sleep 7 (my in-laws are with us) and somewhere that provided linen. Many I found requested that we bring our own linen and I really didn't fancy filling a suitcase (or 2) with enough sheets and towels for 7 of us!! I stumbled across www.aussiehouseswap.com.au and now we are having a great holiday! It appears like a "dating website" - you can view places but only make contact if you pay the registration ($60.00). I made contact with a few people and the swap that we made has been great. We actually met the family we swapped with as we arrived earlier in NZ and called in our way to Taupo. They were really nice and we felt like we had met them before (they are English and have lived in NZ for 3 years). They have the same configuration of kids as we do - 2 girls and a boy and similar ages. This has meant that age appropriate toys etc have been catered for (this was just luck of course!). When I mentioned the house swap idea to some people back home - they were "oh no - how could you have someone you don't know in your house?" - But I will be in their house I said. We have kept in touch while we are in each other's houses and all has been smooth sailing (so far). House swapping has meant we have saved a huge amount of money on hotels/holiday homes and we have been able to do so many other things. I think the best part is that all we need is here - kids are happy and I have really been able to relax! There isn't a big list of things that I need to do in this house - there are cobwebs that need removing but this isn't my place so they can stay!
What I am loving at the moment is that my 3 kids only have each other to play with. It has been fun and interesting to watch the dynamics of the three change and how they interact as a three or a two against one! Zoe has realised her little brother isn't that bad!!!
I would really recommend house swapping for a holiday!