, 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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Seeking Canada

Cornwall / Penzance, 12m, E

UK - South West
Cornwall / Penzance, 12m, E

We have arranged a swap in Vancouver for autumn 2014 and have made provisional arrangements for a swap in Brittany for June/July 2015. Would like to explore a July/ August/ September exchange in Vancouver 2015.

The House

Old Church Cottage is a traditionally built granite Cornish cottage located in the small fishing village of Porthleven on the South Western tip of Cornwall in England. It was built about 1840 as a one of four in a terrace of cottages near to the church, school and harbour to house the workers for a large local estate.

The cottage is a compact mid-terrace house comprising of four bedrooms (three with double beds, one a small dressing room) and a bathroom upstairs, and a porch, sitting room, kitchen/dining room, utility room, shower room and small office downstairs. There are small gardens to both the front and rear, and parking space for a car. The cottage has views to the harbour and the Atlantic Ocean from the front.