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For world travelers who also own their own homes and have flexible schedules, house swapping offers an attractive vacation option with substantial savings on lodging.
On Web sites such as HomeExchange.com, HomeLink.org or Intervac-HomeExchange.com, you’ll pay an annual membership fee ranging from $89 to $120 to both list your home and gain access to listings of other properties all over the world. Members agree on a swap, then coordinate the final details, such as travel dates and use of a car. (For more information, read “See the World With a House Sit or Exchange.”)
The arrangements can give travelers a more homespun experience in exotic locales. “The benefit of being able to do laundry and bring less is at the top of the list,” says Lauren Kahn, a retired lawyer who lives in McLean, Va., and has engaged in 53 home exchanges.
We’ve rounded up nine international homes that are being offered for exchange through one of these sites. Please have a look.
| November 2013
Square footage: Not available
Car included in exchange: Negotiable
Preferred exchange dates: Open to any dates
You may not want to leave after an extended stay at this villa located on Thailand’s largest island. It sits on a hilltop overlooking a 39-foot saltwater infinity pool with a built-in Jacuzzi, a lounge deck and a workout space. There's a view of the ocean from poolside, and Kata Beach is about a 15-minute drive away. House guests are allowed to bring pets.
Square footage: 1,776
Car included in exchange: Yes
This modern two-story home is a short walk to the Amager Strand metro station, for house guests looking to explore the capital city without relying on a car. The house comes with a fireplace for the colder months and has a large second-floor balcony. You can walk to nearby Amager Beach Park, a manmade island just off the city coast, across from Sweden. The Copenhagen airport is less than a ten-minute subway ride away.
Square footage: 2,691
This spacious three-story loft-style home was built in the 19th century but renovated in 2008. It can accommodate up to seven people. Centrally located in the City of Light, yet the homeowners describe the neighborhood as quaint. It's within walking distance of world-renowned attractions such as the Bastille Opera House, shopping in the Marais fashion district and numerous restaurants and bars. The Parimentier metro station is less than five minutes away.
Looking to get away from it all? A trip down under might be worth a try. Located 25 minutes north of Perth, capital city of Western Austalia, this two-story house features a siting room and balcony off the master bedroom. As part of the exchange, the homeowners have included use of their two bicycles.
There’s an outdoor swimming pool, covered patio and gas barbecue grill. The home is a ten-minute drive from several beaches, and a lake and national park trail are within walking distance.
Square footage: 2,400
Car included in exchange: No
Preferred exchange dates: Dec. 1, 2013 - Feb. 28, 2014
This elegantly rustic home located near the Canadian Rockies comes complete with log-framed bedroom furniture, hunting trophies and antler lighting fixtures. There’s a fireplace in the main living area and a large outdoor deck with scenic views. Bike and ski trails are easily accessible, as are a variety of shops and restaurants along heavily trafficked Main Street in Alberta. The maximum stay for this home is three weeks.
If a trip across the pond is your cup of tea, this contemporary flat is located in the upscale Chelsea community and offers quick access to metro London's public transit systems. These homeowners are particularly interested in weekend exchanges with others who have properties in European cities.
Get a feel for the local culture by visiting nearby South Kensington, which is home to several free museums, including the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Natural History Museum. There's plenty to do without having to spend much.
Square footage: 1,097
Preferred exchange dates: Through December 30, 2013
Off the beaten path near the Sierra de Gredos mountains, this two-story home is 55 miles from Madrid. The property is surrounded by trees and has a swimming pool, garden area in the backyard, and a second-floor terrace. The house can accommodate up to eight people, and the maximum stay is 14 days.
There are several nearby places to go horseback riding, hiking and paragliding. You’ll need to rent a car to travel to the museums and other tourist-friendly attractions in Madrid.
Car included in exchange: Not available
A garden and mountain views are but a step outside the front door of this apartment home. Fish Hoek Beach is less than half a mile away, along with a nearby golf course and several bars and restaurants within walking distance. But if you’d rather lounge the day away at home, there’s a pool with an outdoor deck and grill. A housekeeper is available to clean at no additional charge.
This 18th-century plantation-style house sits on 15 acres and is surrounded by mountains. There are two large balconies overlooking the property, a library, swimming pool, tennis court and private beach. The home is a short drive from popular attractions, including Dunn’s River Falls, Dolphin Cove and Mystic Mountain. It’s an hour’s drive from Montego Bay airport. The tourist-friendly city of Ocho Rios is about six miles away, where there are a variety of local shops and restaurants to visit.
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