British couple saves £200k on their holidays in ‘millionaire territory’ with home swapping

Coronavirus could mean end of 'cheap holidays' says expert

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Holidaymakers can save “significant” amount of money on their holidays by using home swaps. The concept, which has been discovered by many during the pandemic, can save thousands of pounds for savvy travellers.

Célia Pronto, MD of Love Home Swap said “a big draw for people is that it’s incredibly cost-effective” to home swap.

With “a classic home swap’s length seven to 14 nights”, Célia said members could save “£1,065 doing a home swap for seven nights instead of going to a hotel.” 

“It’s significant, it really adds up. One of our members has calculated she’s saved $278,000 (£203,856),” she continued. 

Greg and Fiona are a couple who swap their central London home for properties all over the world.

Over nine years, the couple said they’ve saved over £200,000 on travel cost.

They said: “We have stayed in private properties on particular beaches, and in very well-to-do neighbourhoods like Point Piper in Sydney.”

And their low-cost travel adventures didn’t stop there. They also “managed to do a home swap in San Diego”.

Incredibly, they also “swapped with a chap who had a holiday house in Thailand. We swapped our house in London, and in return we got to use his car plus two apartments, one in Bangkok and one on the Gulf of Thailand”. 

Other incredible adventures include a three-month stay “on the Cote D’Azur in France, which is millionaire territory” and an apartment in Tokyo. In Barcelona, they stayed in “a converted monastery which opened onto a little cobbled stone courtyard. It had a medieval tower with sixty-four steps”.

Home swapping has become even more popular lately, with Love Home Swap seeing a 45 percent increase in new UK members over the last three months compared to 2020.

Greg and Fiona say they could not travel as much as they do if it was not for home swapping, “the primary benefit of home swapping is that we have been able to take more holidays”, they said, “the sheer economy of it all, as it’s very affordable”.

Célia Pronto explained the concept to and said: “No money changes hands between our members.”

She continued: “There are two ways in which members can swap on Love Home Swap. The first is what we call a “classic swap”, it’s a two-way transaction.

“Those classic swaps can either be simultaneous but they don’t have to be. If you’re coming to my home, I would vacate the home.

“Some of our members put their main residence on the platform, but others list their holiday homes. It’s really up to the members to decide what they list, and they can list as many homes as they want.

“The other way to do a ‘swap’ is using our point system. They don’t have a monetary value, points are there to create flexibility. When you join, we will give you a guidance on how many points per nights we think your home is worth. And that’s based on the size of the property, and the location of the home.

“You get some points when you join and you earn points by hosting people.

“You can use points to stay at someone’s home, if that person doesn’t want to come and stay at yours. So instead of a swap, you give them points, which they can in turn use to go and stay somewhere else.

“It gives flexibility in our ecosystem for our members to be able to travel.”

Travel is one of the main draw for home swapping, allowing members to jet off all over the world for little to no money.

Célia said: “Guests will ultimately be stepping into your shoes and feeling like a local.

“It’s a very intimate relationship and there is a high degree of trust and respect for each other’s properties.”

Home swapping also has added perks, as Greg and Fiona discovered when they swapped their London home for two Thailand properties.

Célia said members “may use each other’s cars, look after each other’s pets, or even share golf club membership or gym membership when people come to stay”. It all depends on what the members agree to before the swap.

Britons thinking about home swapping could go anywhere in the world, with Love Home Swap “operating in 106 countries”.

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