1. Air BnB
Air BnB (Air Bed & Breakfast) is a website which allow you to either ‘host’ and list your own property, (or a room in it), or ‘guest’ and search the site to find a place to stay. The site offers a diverse range of properties (11 mil across the globe). You can rent these for any period of time in a choice of 34,ooo cities in 192 countries.
This San Fran based company has shaken up the travel industry, as it has 150,000 people staying in properties across the world each night, with a 24/7 customer support line for owners, (and a 2 mil dollar insurance policy for home owners if you were worried about city-types raving in your flat all weekend whilst you’re on your yoga retreat!). (Image :The Canal St Martin attracts more Parisians than tourists to its arched bridges and concrete banks.)
2. Kid & Coe
Kid & Coe is a stylish vacation rental website featuring unique family friendly properties. Their mission is to simplify modern family travel. Their kid-friendly properties combine all the comforts of a boutique hotel with the convenience of a baby concierge. From child care essentials to coveted neighbourhood locations, they provide everything you need to make a home away from home for the whole family.
They see themselves as a network of families with shared beliefs and understandings. You can either ‘host’ or ‘guest’ as a family, and once registered, list your property, stick to their simple and clear guidelines (i.e. don’t wear outside shoes inside the house, no late night raves, and post back the toys that ended up in Charlie’s pocket *please*), then off you go, and enjoy the experience.
This friendly lot want you ‘to live like a local’ during your trip. The service gives you the chance to stay in someone’s place while they’re out of town. They offer an easy booking process, and the homes come with recommendations from the people who live in them.
Each home and guest will enjoy the benefits of hotel-style accommodation with fun perks. The bathrooms each have posh bubbles and fluffy towels, you’re given a free i-phone for the stay, (wifi is standard in each property), help with florists, maid service of catering companies, 24/7 customer phone service, and a guide of local recommendations from the home owner.
If you join this members club, you will become part of their exclusive and alluring club, and “…you’ll be in line for some serious discounts when shuttling across the pond”. At the moment their directory of homes are in London, Los Angeles, New York and Paris
INTERVAC was started in Europe in the early 1950’s by a group of teachers with plenty of vacation time looking for economic means to travel internationally. Their main focus is two families agree to live in each other’s homes over a specified period of time. Currently they offer services around the world and facilitate home exchanges in 45 countries for 30,000 families from all walks of life.
A UK Based company which allows you to browse home swaps by country / region or use the ‘advanced search facility’ to locate homes of interest. Once you are signed up to the website, you can then contact other members using their secure message facility to suggest a home swap. When the other members have seen your house swap listing they will contact you if they are interested.
You are asked to share plenty of information, ask lots of questions and get to know each other before finalising arrangements, then agree the house swap using the Home Exchange Agreement Form. Et Voila! Don’t forget to write your welcome pack, leave out the goldfish food, and please don’t mention the rain.