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Home Exchange – ready for a change!

We have been fortunate to have spent 4 great summers at our holiday cottage on the north coast of N Ireland. However we feel it is time for a change, and to spread our wings a little and travel a bit farther.

Not sure when I first heard of home exchange / house swap, but it has been in the back of my mind for some time. Before the cottage, nearly all our holidays have always been to holiday homes – villas in Tuscany, gites in France. We much prefer self-catering to hotels, as it is much more relaxing with kids, there is more space etc. We also like to shop for food in local markets, cook on the BBQ etc, so home exchanging seems the next step.

Is it something you would ever consider, have you ever tried it? I think we are probably happier with trying this with our second home, and it would be a much bigger step to do this with our main home.

I have spent the last few days decluttering and taking photos – perhaps too much decluttering (is that possible!) – have a look at the photos and tell me what you think?

We have also included some photos of the local attractions – Giants Causeway, Dunluce Castle, beaches etc


So I finally signed up and added our details to a Home Exchange site last night. I plan to contact potential “swappers” who have expressed an interest in visiting Ireland and who are in are preferred areas to visit – namely North East US (New England, New York etc), France and Italy.

Here is our holiday cottage link – would love to hear your thoughts. Can you think of anything more I should add? (Photos of dining area and kitchen still to be added).

Charming 3 bed Cottage on stunning north coast of N Ireland – 2 miles from Giants Causeway, beautiful beaches and historic castles nearby.

A slight potential problem for us may be the fact that Northern Ireland is listed as part of the UK (NOT going to get political here!), but I think our property would appeal more for those searching for a cottage in Ireland……hmmmm…… again, your thoughts are welcome!

So this week I am definitely HOOKED on house swapping, and it has Inspired me to appreciate our holiday cottage and what our area has to offer so I am also including this in the Beautiful Life carnival too. This is also definitely a Show and Tell post, so adding it to There’s No Place Like Home.

Please visit these lovely ladies to find links to some great blogs.

The Inspired RoomHooked on HousesThere’s No Place Like Home

So tell me your thoughts on house swapping. Would you ever consider it? Do you think we are mad?!!! If you were going to do it, where would be your dream location to visit?

Looking forward to your comments.

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  1. Hi JanMary

    Glad to hear you are hooked on home swapping! Your photos are lovely and I’m sure your exchange partners will enjoy their holiday in your cottage.

    Re your question on whether it’s a disadvantage that your cottage is in Northern Ireland. Although it does seem to be the case that many people from other countries will search on ‘Ireland’ (probably more because they aren’t that aware that Ireland and Northern Ireland are separate countries rather than for any political reasons), when a search is done this way (on Home Base Holidays anyway, all listings from both countries are shown in the search results).

    Have a great holiday.


  2. I’d say you’ll be inundated with offers to swap:) I don’t think the UK/Ireland thing will be much of an issue when potential visitors see those views!

  3. I’m not sure I could do this and know that someone else is in my home…but to each their own. Enjoy!!!

    My show n tell is now posted. Come by if you can find time today. I’d love your company! Happy Friday.

  4. I probably wouldn’t house swap but we have a family on furlough from mission in East Timor staying in our house in September. Have to clean up some of the clutter before then and especially the kids rooms. I think your house looks lovely and I’m sure you’ll get plenty of interested people.

  5. Your idea is certainly a romantic one that appeals to my love of quaint and beautiful places. But to be honest.. I am sorry to say that I think we live in too dangerous a world these days to think this could really work. If I were you, I’d pray long and hard about swapping with some unknown people. This may work in movies, but I would be scared to try in real life. It’s a sad reality, but there are just too many crazies out there. What I would suggest is looking for a lovely cottage in New England that you might rent. I am certain you could find something you’d love… although the prices would be best in off season. Then you could rent your place in Ireland (oh, those beautiful shots of the sea make me want to go there NOW! 🙂 and use the rent money to pay for the place you rent in U.S. I have friends here in MI who rented a charming cottage on a lake for a week that was really lovely… I’m sure you could find places like that in New England, or even a nice bed and breakfast. But swapping? Please pray about that! 🙂

  6. I’ve never heard it termed home exchange before, but people do rent out their houses to vacationers around the more touristy parts of New York. Although it’s not really a swap per se, unless you count trading your house for a week for a pile of money. Then it’s a total swap.

    Your cottage is just lovely!

  7. I think it is a lovely idea and like you, I’d do it with a second home rather than the main one as you have so much more of your personal stuff there. Alas, I no longer own my second home or lake house.
    We just returned from the beach where we stayed in a condo owned by someone as a second home which they rent. One thing we noticed was there was too much decor in the way of items on tables, etc. We had to move them in order to place our things there. So decluttering was a good idea and I don’t think you overdid it. Since this exchange would be with someone, not familiar with your country and the area, notes about the customs there might be helpful.
    Thanks for sharing,
    Mama Bear

  8. Hello JanMary…

    Yes…I’m familiar with the house swapping idea and have often thought about it! I have only been to Europe once and have never been to Ireland (but would love, love to!) We live in northeast Colorado…mostly farm land where we live…we live out in the country! I don’t think our home would appeal to many people…simply because we are far from a city!

    Your cottage is beautiful…Ohhh, I would love it! I think your photos for the listing are great! I wish you the best in your endeavours!!! Happy Holidays!!!

    Warmest wishes,

  9. I just love the pictures of your Holiday Home! Just lovely! Anyone would love to exchange homes with you! I love the idea of exchanges your second home, with someone. I watched a movie, I am sure everyone know it. Where the two ladies exchanged homes one in Ireland I believe. But it was nothing as beautiful as yours. I hope you find a wonderful home to exchange with. Now if you come to USA, let me know! Have a great time where ever you get to go! Love your home.

  10. If I could travel I would take you up on it. Your home is lovely and the area looks like a beloved retreat. I could use some peacefulness. Good luck maybe you will get to go so place really interesting.
    Thanks for coming by and visiting today.
    Have a Blessed Weekend,

  11. Hello JanMary,
    What a great idea! My parents did the same thing years ago and had very good luck with the exchange. I have never been to Ireland, but used to fly over it on my way to Dubai from the States. I loved to look out the plane and see the beautiful misty greens and cliffs dropping into the ocean. Your cottage looks beautiful and I am sure you won’t have any problem finding a suitable match. Have a lovely weekend.
    Cheers, Cathy

  12. Hello from Texas! {Thanks for visiting my blog!}
    I have never seriously thought about home exchanges. I have one primary home and since this is our case, I don’t think I would feel comfortable exchanging. However, if I had a secondary residence, I would be all for it! I agree that it would be much more relaxing, more of a cultural experience than trendy tourist hotels.
    Your home is lovely – looks very comfortable and relaxing. I think it’s also a great idea to add pictures of sights to visit.

  13. Your home looks lovely, so I’m sure you’d have people interested. I don’t know that I’d want people in my house though, personally. There are so many, well, personal things in it.

  14. Hi JM – I am sure this is a wonderful idea – I’ve looked at it in the past, but we are only renters at the little paradise we live in so it could never happen for us 🙁 BUT, I think it is the BEST idea, to me its sort of like recycling etc… sharing is a great way to go!

    I agree with you regarding the children and being able to sort of have a “home away from home” experience. I think by doing it the way you say you would get more of a genuine feel of a place.

    Your photos are lovely and I’m sure you will get loads of “bites” in short order!

    Love, Barb

  15. “Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest”

    What a great idea. I think you’ve done a great job with your presentation and have gotten some great tidbits here. I am excited for you !!!

  16. Great idea!
    And your holiday cottage looks great too…

    Just stopping by from SITS to wish you a VERY HAPPY SATURDAY SHAREFEST!

    I hope your weekend will be sunny and fun!

    Greetings from Spain

  17. Well it may be easier going for a holiday home exchange club, at least then all the members are holdiay home owners, try http://www.exchangeholidayhomes.com. There you dont need to find an exchange partner, you can add a week and select from all the other added weeks or even request a week. It doesnt cost anything to join either , you just pay £67 wehne you find a holiday and it has been agreed.

  18. Wow, sounds like a great idea, not sure I could share my home without being in it myself (which I know defeats the purpose LOL)…but if I had a holiday home that might be different. Love your photos, your home looks wonderful and of course the photos of what you can go see around there are fantastic. I’d LOVE to visit that area myself but will have to be happy with Nebraska views I guess. *giggle*

    It was good to hear from you, life has been busy so I haven’t been able to surf the blogs as much myself. 🙂

  19. I’ve heard of swapping, but haven’t pursued it…but you’ve got me thinking about it again! We have 2 kids 4 & 8 who are getting to the age that we’d like to take them overseas, but don’t want to spend the whole time in one hotel room with them (yikes!). Thx for making me think about it again! (great pics too).


  20. Hi there JanMary….so glad to get to know you! I’d LOVE to visit!

    Thanks for your sweet comment on my French Linens…which one did you like? How fun for it to stir up a childhood memory!


  21. Just coming by to comment AGAIN, coz I CAN haha. So glad to be able to come check on you! LOL! Hope you are having a great day. Pls pray today for the fires here. Its tinder dry and red hot!

    Hugs from

  22. interesting idea with the house exchange! I never did it…
    Your pics are fantastic and I´m sure there were many people who would like to make holiday in your house

  23. You are awesome! The pictures are great… the extra tourist attractions pictures are great… I would TOTALLY love to swap houses with you!! Whats that you say? You ahve no desire to come to my small town of 360 people and do nothing in the middle of a corn field for 2 weeks?


    I don’t blame you! 🙂

    LOVE your cottage!

    God bless-

  24. What great pictures! I always thought it would be great to take the kids somewhere for a month, but that’s not realistic for us. It sounds fun–didn’t they do that in a movie? Oh, to be young single, and have a big paycheck!

  25. That would be cool to swap homes. I have heard of that. The movie The Holiday, they did that. I’m in New England too, but I don’t think my hubby would go for it.

  26. What a beautiful cottage! My husband’s aunt often swaps her home on the Jersey shore for vacation homes in Ireland, and I think it has been quite successful for them so far!

  27. I’ve thought about this alot. I think it is so much easier if it is your holiday home that you are swapping – I’m off to take a look at yours and the site…


    p.s. it looks wonderful, oh the scenery!

  28. Your cottage is so lovely – I would swap with you in a heartbeat. We plan on coming to Ireland hopefully in the next few years, and I think a swap is the way to do it. We are in western Canada, but we have a lake cottage on Canada’s east coast, in Nova Scotia. We are going to find an oceanfront property next, and then we plan to swap it. I hope it works well for you.

  29. Hello there! This is my first visit to your blog…via A Beach Cottage…I love it! 🙂 Wish that I lived in one of the “preferred areas to visit” list, (we’re in the US) as Ireland is #1 on my “places I want to visit most list”…sigh. I’ve always wanted to see where my relatives lived (I’m a Shaw). Anyway, Your cottage is amazingly beautiful!


  30. Oh my gosh!!! Where are you exactly..my husband is from Bangor Co.Down…I know all those places,Dunluce is a must stop everytime we go!! Would love to hear from you if you have a minute,all the best,Chrissy

  31. OMG what a wonderful dream!! I have always wanted to visit Ireland. Your cottage is wonderful.

  32. We have swapped via homeexchange.com twice so far with no problems. Set up email contact prior to confirmation and then up to the exchange.

  33. I have read articles about people who have done it, and been on the sites, and everyone seems very positive about it. Remember each person is in the other person’s home, so they are going to make sure that they take care of it well (since they want you to do the same). It seems like a great way to keep costs down on a vacation. Even though my city is not the most exciting, I looked one time on one of the sites and they had FABULOUS homes from our area on it. Sooo…I would imagine there are lots of great places out there!

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