Independent.ie, January 26, 2012

The Only Expenses Are Travel Costs

 

Fionnuala King and her husband Jim have been swapping homes with families overseas and in Ireland for well over 20 years.

The now-retired couple, who live in Raphoe, Co Donegal, have holidayed in homes in Ireland, England, Germany, France and Belgium, but also as far away as Canada, the USA, Australia and New Zealand. They've been using the Homelink house-exchange website since 1997. "At the beginning, it was a case of perusing the book and then writing countless letters," says Fionnuala. "Now it is all online."

Even with their two children grown up, they rarely find themselves holidaying on their own. "One or other, or both, often accompany us or join us at some stage of our exchange," she says, while other members of their close family will often join them too. "I generally look for an exchange house or apartment that sleeps at least four, so as to have the flexibility of having family or friends join us."

Fionnuala says it is difficult to say just how much they save, but there is no doubting that they save considerably compared to someone renting a holiday home for two weeks.

"A home exchange allows you to stay in a place for a longer time as you don't have to pay for accommodation," she says. "The only expense is the cost of travel and whatever you choose to spend."

In addition, you can cook your own food, "so eating out becomes a choice rather than a necessity". They also generally exchange cars, so that cuts out the huge cost of hiring a car or travel by ferry.

 

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CORK has been voted the 3rd best city to visit by Lonely Planet!! CORK: European Capital of Culture 2005: the 'gourmet' capital of Ireland with many fine restaurants. The 'Old English Market' is an epicurian's delight selling Ireland's finest food. Cork is also a paradise for golfers, sailing enthusiasts and walkers with every amenity on its doorstep. ... Take a trip to Cobh which was the Titanic's last port of call (15 minutes away)... Culture vultures will be very happy with our Opera, theatres and art galleries. There is something for everyone... young and old. Easy access to London & European cities by air or sea; Cheap flights with RyanAir and other budget airlines: see www.cork-airport.com
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