House Swapping with Guest to Guest

The last weekend in August saw me heading to the Valley of Lecrin on a house exchange via the home exchange company Guest to Guest. My main requisite was not to go too far from home as my eldest son would only be able to join us for one night and somewhere new in my explorations of Andalucia. In the end he didn't make it but we had found a lovely house in the small white town of Restabal, an ideal situation to explore Granada, city, coast and province.

Restabal, Lecrin Valley, Granada

Guest to Guest house swapping service offers a very useful interactive map, so you can choose your location with ease. I found this incredibly helpful when used alongside the many filters to narrow down our possibilities of houses available. Depending on the size of your party and location wanted the choice is larger or smaller. Take away all the filters and the amount of properties can be a little daunting. So think about the number of your party and the number of bedrooms needed.

For example on this swap a minimum of three rooms would have accommodated us, one for hubby and I, one for the three sons and one for the two girlfriends. Ideally four bedrooms would be better but sometimes when choosing a house swap you have to give and take a little. In our case we didn't. The house, which is also a rental property, suited our needs perfectly and housed us with great style.

When looking to arrange a swap and the decisions have been made then I suggest you add you location and use the drop-down filters to help you narrow your search. I'm doing a new search while writing this post and have put in Sevilla with the dates 11/03/2017 - 11/05/2017 I've added the number of guests in this case 4 and clicked on the filter to add more. I'm going to tick in the Quality section Verified homes, Homes with Pictures and response rate of over 80%, these are my choices.

Then in the Guest Points/Night section I'm going to set a limit of 180 points, there will be four of us for two night exploring Sevilla, we'll be out most of the time and eating out so I don't want to spend too many points. Then in the type of home because it's a city I want to go to and I want to be as central as possible I'm going to tick apartment because it's unlikely there will be houses in the area I want to visit and to be honest apartments are higher and so often have better views.

In the Residence section I'm ticking Secondary home as I want to pay with points in this instance and not suggest a swap. The next section is size and because we will be two mature couples we want two bedrooms and two bathrooms and definitely no put-up beds. In Amenities I'm going to tick Balcony/Terrace for that nightcap with a view and Wifi to be in touch with my kids and keep on top of work and in Accessibility I'm leaving unticked so with a click on Submit Filters lets see what choices are available - this bit is always quite exciting! Ah, too many filters! I'll uncheck secondary home, to be honest not everyone adds that and take off the point swap limit. Now I have a choice of four. I'll vet those, send them a message if ok, take off another filter or two until I've sent 8 - 10 requests.

Now, with less filters, I can see a range of properties and the map so I can zoom in because I more or less know which part of the city I'd like to be in and putting the cursor over the arrow on the map I get a pop-up saying which property it is or putting the cursor over the property it will be indicated exactly where it is on the map. So it's time to save some of those into favourites or click on the property and if it's a possibility click on contact and send the owner a message asking if a swap is possible.

You'll need to send quite a few messages because sadly not all respond but also because of the possibility it not being available. Don't be afraid to send out 8 - 10 messages, if you wait for replies it's going to take a long time and you'll have to keep going back and looking at the homes again. Send out those messages, don't worry, you can always say thank you but sorry we have now organised our exchange.

Messaging is safe and secure and via Guest to Guest, emails and contact details can only be seen once an exchange has been agreed by both parties. Some properties ask for Deposits and Insurance, others only one of these, others nothing at all. Be sure you check and understand that these fees have to be paid when confirming the swap.

My exchange, my first with Guest to Guest, was very simple and easy to arrange. The day after the exchange was completed the owner commented on us as visitors and our refund was made automatically. I then left a comment about our very satifactory exchange and now I'm looking for my next one!

This is the lovely Casa Tagomago  website for private rentals where I spent my weekend and here is my holiday home available for swaps on Guest to Guest .

So are you going to venture into the world of house swapping or home exchange?

I was already a member of Guest to Guest when approached by them to plan a trip and write a blog post. I was given some extra points for this, which in no way sways my judgement towards them as a house swap company. I'll be heading to Sevilla soon!

Read my Lecrin Valley - A Happy Place post.

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