The Holiday: Do House Swaps Really Exist?

The Holiday is one of the most rewatchable Christmas movies to ever exist, according to everyone.

Okay, we kid—but there’s no denying the film’s lasting impact on audiences (despite a 47% rating on Rotten Tomatoes).

Perhaps it’s the idyllic landscapes, the meet-cutes, the warm ending. Or maybe it’s the exciting idea of swapping houses—something the two leading ladies do. It makes you wonder, Do house swaps really exist?

And if so, should I make like Cameron Diaz and book that flight?

If you’ve ever considered a home exchange, this one’s for you!

Yes, House Swaps Actually Exist

No, they’re not just the stuff of movies.

You, too, can swap houses!

But are you the right person for this type of venture? Hint: you don’t have to be going through a major breakup like The Holiday‘s leading actresses to do so.

Here’s what you need to know.

Are You the Right Candidate for a House Exchange?

The main difference between listing an Airbnb and listing your home on various house swap websites (like,, and is that people will be staying among your personal belongings.

Of course, you can always tidy up and hide valuables or heirlooms that you don’t feel comfortable keeping out. From renting storage units to using safes, there are several options when it comes to hiding your belongings.

If you have a second or third home, though, you can decorate them as you would any other rental—nice furniture, neutral artwork, and nothing too intimate. If the idea of hosting people is something you enjoy, you’re a perfect candidate for swapping homes.

How to Do a House Swap Vacation

First, get your home listed on a house swap website, which typically charges an annual fee to join. Often, this fee is all you’ll have to pay—actually swapping homes end up being free to you, or at least considerably less than hotels.

Wait for a home of your liking to appear, and book that trip!

The best part about house swapping is that you can stay at someone’s house when it’s available, but they may not necessarily be using your home, too. For example, if they’re going on a business trip, they can make their homes available to you—they don’t have to inhabit your house at the same time. The opposite is also true—if you’re going to be out of town for a week, you can make your home available for a fellow swapper.

Make sure you provide the necessary information: details like how to lock and unlock the house, use the coffee maker, emergency contacts for services like plumbers, electricians, etc. The same goes for your stay—make sure you get these details from your host, too. You don’t want to wind up in a foreign city before realizing you forget to get the owner’s phone number in case of an issue.

Swap Houses à la The Holiday

So, you might not meet your version of Jude Law or Kate Winslet on this trip, but the idea of house swaps is still as romantic as ever.

A house swap might be right for you if you’re okay with sharing your personal space (or even have a second or third home to list instead). If the idea of staying in a homier, cozier version of an Airbnb also sounds great to you, you’re a fantastic candidate for this adventure.

For more fun news on topics like this, head back to the homepage and enjoy!

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