It’s great to visit friends and family, but sometimes what you want out of a weekend away is some quality time with your partner. Since Laura and I have been living apart these weekends been a vital part of the success of our long-distance relationship. There is always the option of booking a hotel somewhere for a mini-break, but this can be expensive and doesn’t give you the kind of comfort that a relaxing weekend at home offers. This weekend we had out first successful experience of a house swap.

Our house swap began because my sister and her husband had an event to attend in Oxford. Usually they would stay with us, but this time, knowing the situation, they suggested the house swap. So, they got our house as a base for catching up with friends in Oxford and we got their house in Nottingham for a low-cost weekend of quality time together. The beauty of it is that although you’re in a home where you can relax as you might in your own house, you’re not distracted by any chores. You also get the added bonus of exploring a different city. And it’s great if you’ve got pets, your house guests can look after them.

If you fancy having a go yourself, here are some practical things to think about:

  • swap houses with someone you know well, and preferably have visited at their home before
  • have a sensible plan for how you are going to exchange keys; this can also offer an opportunity to catch up with your friends at the end of the weekend
  • get a little bit of shopping in; make sure they can make a cup of tea/coffee and have stuff for breakfast
  • leave instructions for using appliances: boiler, oven, TV, WiFi etc.
  • leave instructions for looking after any pets
  • if your visitors don’t know your city suggest activities and places to eat/drink
  • know how you can get in touch in case of emergencies