Last lockdown Christmas, filled with festive spirit, we engaged in a bit of a Rom-Com marathon and stumbled upon The Holiday, the 2006 movie where two people from two different lives, swap their UK and Los Angeles homes to escape their challenging relationship issues, only to (spoiler alert, but not like it’s unpredictable) walk into different ones altogether. It made us wonder what it would be like to swap homes for a while, but for the founder of Love Home Swap, the film inspired a whole new way to holiday.
We’re often asked to break out our crystal balls to discern where OutThere travellers could be and can holiday this year. As we edge deeper into spring, there’s still no sure answer, but one thing that we’re pretty certain about is that millions of people will staycation this year. In the UK and all over the world, domestic holiday bookings in popular destinations – and even more obscure ones – are continuing to sell out, and prices for the best places are skyrocketing due to increased demand. That poses another quandary altogether … with people desperate and deserving of a break, not to mention demand exceeding supply, what is the inside track in bagging a dream staycation?
Brighton beach house
This ‘upside down’ seaview house with pool in Brighton and Hove is located in a quieter, more affluent neighbourhood in the OutThere city. It sits up high on a hill, offering wonderful views of the sea and surrounding woodlands.
An incredible, contemporary manor house is set in half an acre of grounds in central London, completely redeveloped and fitted with all the latest technology and a stunning 20-metre indoor pool, its own gym and a home cinema.
This place boasts ten bedrooms and bathrooms, sleeping up to 20 people. An old Victorian Rectory, set in miles of English countryside, the house comes with an outdoor pool, tennis court and fully kitted gym.
This unique barn conversion is the perfect setting for those looking to get away from it all. It’s home to an indoor resistance swimming pool and hot tub and features a large, open-plan living space with stunning views over the rolling hills.
Well, it seems there’s currency in your own home, particularly if you have a lovely one; and we know many OutThere travellers do. Home-swapping is nothing new of course, especially to Love Home Swap, a member-based online community that has allowed savvy homeowners to exchange their own homes with each other for a holiday, for the last ten years. The website makes things easy and takes away the complications and worry away from the whole process and you get to choose your ideal home and location from thousands of amazing, character properties in over 100 countries. All keen home-swappers have to do is build their wishlist (just as you would a bucketlist for a hotel or destination), start to chat to some of the 17,000 owners online and if it’s a match, you agree on dates and you’re away. You can do a classic, simultaneous swap; or offer up your home for non-simultaneous swap points to be used in the future.
While The Holiday‘s transatlantic swap may seem far fetched, Love Home Swap claims that before the pandemic, it was indeed all the rage and there was a large international trading economy. There are homes in Greece, Ireland and Italy – which may open later this year. There are also places to swap in far-flung lands, like in parts of Africa and Asia.
With staycations in the UK on the cards, the company has seen a boost in the number of new homes on offer and signing up. We took a little peek at what we could perhaps swap in the rest of the country for our home here in London; and spotted some quaint cottages and seaside getaways as well as some architectural gems that we might want to move into and not want to leave. Some are in lesser-touristed corners of the country, so there could even be an opportunity to explore and experience a new part of the U.K. and get away from the crowds flocking to our summer hotspots.