Exciting Home Exchange Plans : How to travel the world for free

chalet switzerland home exchange

It’s not a big secret how much I love Home Exchange as a way to travel.

We’re now in our fifth year of home exchanging and have 31 exchanges under our belt. From our very first trip, spending Christmas in a picture-perfect ski chalet, I was totally won over by this mode of travel.

Highlights of our exchanges so far – a six week road trip through America from New York to Nashville and back, via North Carolina. Two Christmas trips to Switzerland, and shorts breaks in London and Edinburgh.

This year with Flea off at uni, I’ve taken the opportunity to do some serious solo travel. Although Flea will join me on some of my travels, this year I plan to pack my laptop in my rucksack and head off to work remotely in some exciting spots. So what does 2024 have in store?

May’s Exchange: Cape Cod

In May, I’ll be heading off for just under a month to Cape Cod. For the first 10 days of my trip, I’ll be on a home exchange on Cape Cod, and then catching the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard for two weeks in a rambling cottage with the most picture-perfect porch, complete with a swing.

home exchange in cape cod

I’m hoping for early mornings walking on the beach, afternoons checking out pretty Cape towns, and the odd spot of kayaking. I’ve also signed up for some photography walks, and I’m hoping to re-acquaint myself with my SLR camera, after a few years of taking iPhone snaps on my travels.

For the last week, Flea will fly out from uni, which promises to be an adventure in itself. She’ll by flying solo, and taking a bus down from Boston to meet me on the Cape. We’ll go back to the airport together, and she’ll fly back to Scotland to (hopefully) move into her second year flat, while I return to England.

June: An Exchange in Denmark

Coloful Beach Huts at Tisvilde Beach

Once Flea has finished her uni work and moved into her new accommodation, she can head home for the summer, and we have a short trip planned to Denmark. In particular, we’ve found a home exchange near to Tisvildeleje. I hadn’t heard of it before, but Flea fell in love with the idea of Tisvildeleje a couple of years ago, telling me it’s the Cape Cod of Denmark.

Apparently, Tisvilde (as it’s known in English) is an historic small beach town where the Bohemians of Copenhagen spend their summers. It’s supposed to have an air of “quiet luxury” but personally I’m more interested in the utterly, utterly glorious beaches. The home we’re exchanging with big windows and a small, private beach area where you can watch the sun rise over the waves. We’ve hired a car, and I’m really excited to explore a new part of the world.

tisvilde denmark beach

Coming back, I’ve got a short exchange planned to Aberdovey in Wales, to spend a few days in a beachfront cottage with my parents. Often Home Exchange has properties that are Airbnb rentals in high season, but which the owners use as exchange properties for the rest of the year. This is one of those, so it’s a great, modern property but we don’t have to pay holiday rates!

July: Yorkshire to Paris

Early July will see me heading off on a weekend away in Yorkshire with my friend Jen, followed by a few days’ in Paris. This has been Flea’s dream destination for years, so I’m hoping it will fit in with her summer job – but otherwise Paris will be a solo adventure for me. I’m looking forward to doing some sightseeing as I haven’t been to Paris since I was 19. I already booked our tickets for the Eiffel Tower!

home exchange paris

We’re staying in a quirky artists’ home just outside Paris, and can get the train into the city in around 20 minutes. One of the beauties of home exchanging I think is that you get to live like locals, and also don’t get stuck in a tiny, expensive hotel room. We’ll also have our own kitchen to prepare food, which is a must when I think back to how costly a ham baguette is when you’re in Paris!

July #2 : We’re off to Berlin!

After Paris, we will be home for a couple of weeks before heading back to Europe and a week’s stay in a city centre apartment in Berlin. Again, this is somewhere I haven’t visited since my teens. I think last time I was here was right after the wall came down, for my A-Level Geography field trip. I’m not sure what geography we learned in Berlin, but we did go to a lot of nightclubs!

I think in Berlin there’s a lot of history and museums, but I’m thinking we’ll also hire a car for a couple of days and explore a little of Germany while we’re there. I did a few trips to Germany when I was in my teens and twenties, and I remember the countryside being spectacular.

August: A Home Swap with Spain

Towards the end of August, we’re swapping homes with a family in Northern Spain for two weeks. I don’t know too much about this area, but I know it’s close to the beach, and we’re swapping cars as well as houses, so it’s a great chance to explore a part of Spain I’ve never visited before.

Top of my wishlist for this trip is to explore the wild beaches on this coastline, and eat my own body weight in tapas. I’m a simple girl at heart.

beach in muros spain

A Festive Home Exchange for December

After Spain, my intention is to stay home between September and November. In part to settle Flea back into uni and be around in case she needs anything. But also I think just to have some downtime, and ensure I’m catching up with all the things that need attention at home.

I’m also planning to start ski lessons in October, in preparation for our Christmas exchange this year, to a fabulous hilltop house above Lake Geneva. We’ll be doing a home exchange for 10 days over Christmas and New Year with a family that lives on the French/Swiss border. My hope is that we’ll split the trip and spend five days on the slopes in Switzerland and five days in France.

home exchange switzerland

Tips for Home Exchanging

If you’re inspired to find out more about Home Exchange, check out the Home Exchange website, where you can browse homes in 145 countries around the world. You can browse the site for free, and only pay the membership fee (£180) when you finalise your first home swap. I’ve got a really detailed guide to home exchanging on my blog, but if you do sign up to the website, use the code “Sally-86842” and you could get up to 500 “guest points” when you complete your account, which could be enough points for a two week stay in a family property.

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