Saturday, 17 January 2009

Home swaps: a beginner's guide

When staying in a hostel or hostel, no matter how you spend your days, you can't escape feeling like a tourist. That's why, this week, I forced myself to move on from the best hostel in Buenos Aires (more on that at a later date) and into houseshare. It's a temporary arrangement with a couple of expats, so hardly complete local immersion, but it still feels good and I confess to getting a little buzz when walking down "my" street with door keys in hand.

Another good way to get this "at home" feeling when travelling is to try a home swap. If you've never tried it, today's Independent carries a full beginners' guide.

According to the article, the UK's biggest home-swap company, Home Link, expects to organise more than 13,000 exchanges in 2009. Vietnam, Senegal, Oman and the Reunion Islands are among the destinations on their books.

Tempted? "Get to work now," says the Indy. "The busiest time of the year for UK swappers to set up trips is between January and March."