Are you interested to learn the winning strategy we use to travel the world and stay months on end in stunning locations for zero cost?
Exactly how we lived on Sydney Harbour for 4 months over Christmas, swiftly followed by 3 months right on the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, and 2 months on Pacific Beach, San Diego? (You’ll notice a ‘watery’ theme running through here!)
In other words, how to have a year of summer? Be handy to know, right?
How Desk Slaves Quit The 9-5, Live Anywhere And Join The New Rich
Maybe you’ve read Tim Ferris’s best-selling book ‘The 4-Hour Workweek’. In it, Tim, a New York Times bestselling author, advocates the idea that anyone can abandon a desk jockey job, automate their income stream, and choose a lush lifestyle to enjoy every moment here and now.
Sadly, millions of modern desk slaves sacrifice the MAJOR part of their lives to work in jobs where they’re no longer fulfilled. To reassure themselves they’ve made the best choices in life, they trick themselves into believing they’ve got to work hard to reap the rewards at some point in the future. Maybe that's you?
That was us too!!! We honestly believed or thought as society dictated, that our working life had to be a drudge. We hung onto the illusion that a golden, wealthy retirement was in store for us in the …distant… future.
Which is a mighty gamble, don’t you think?
We were taking that mighty gamble… with NO backstop… until we woke up to the fact we were underappreciated, overstressed and slowly dying at our desks.
Eventually… we thought ‘sod to that’!
It took us 25 long years of corporate servitude to realise there IS a totally different way to earn and living and love life to the max. One aspect of which, we share in this post.
Nowadays, we choose to lead our dream life now, rather than wait until our late 60’s, when we might be past our prime. Makes total sense, doesn’t it?
Now, ‘grabbing life by the horns’ today, doesn’t mean you need millions of dollars – no, no, no – because so-called “unrealistic” things such as travelling the world, and leading a fulfilled life, can be much cheaper than you imagine when you ignore conventional means.
Freedom and flexibility is our major motivator – don’t you too want to be able to do whatever you like, whenever you like? Which, we’ve discovered, only requires a moderate, automatic source of income, which we maintain effortlessly from anywhere in the world.
The good news is, the ideas in “The 4-Hour Work Week” are 100% practical, and totally achievable in this digital age.
As we write this post, we’re being beach bums for 2 months in a spacious apartment right on stunning Pacific Beach, San Diego. We love the sea, having grown up in coastal New Zealand. But we both grew up on the east coast, so we really treasure the glorious Pacific sunsets on the horizon only experienced on the west coast.
Now, you’d think 2 months in a large condo right on the beach would ‘break the bank’, right?
This apartment is listed on AirBnB for US$285 a night in high summer… BUT, we’re not paying a penny for it for 2 months!
That’s 61 days at US$285 a night, which makes a whopping US$17,385 – that's how much we're saving because we’re staying for free.
You’ve got to agree, that's an amazing deal? Right?
It's a stunning location, there’s no road between us and the waves – only lawn and sand.
And you too can do this anywhere on our planet that makes your heart sing!
Because we work online, we literally work from anywhere in the world we have an internet connection – and nine times out of ten we never pay for our accommodation.
So how do we do it?
=> By exchanging homes with other respectable, worldly, trustworthy, homeowners <=
How We Stumbled Across The World Of Home Exchanges
Prior to the 2012 Olympics hosted in London, we registered our central London apartment on one of the Olympic accommodation websites to leverage the huge influx of spectators. As our business is portable and we can work anywhere, we decided to rent out our home and shift out for a bit.
… we didn't get any nibbles for the 2012 Olympics, because we left it too late to register. BUT, as the seed was planted, and we’d already photographed our home, we registered our apartment on a home exchange website instead.
Ever since 2012 we've trotted the globe, staying in stunning locations for months at a time, simply because we leverage our bricks and mortar in Central London, and we have a mobile business model!
Maybe you’ve watched the 2006 rom-com movie ‘The Holiday’ starring Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet, where the two love-torn women trade homes in LA and the English countryside. Well, swapping homes is NOTHING like swapping lives as in the movie lol!
Watch this Facebook Live Video to Learn More About How To Have Free Accommodation For Months On End Anywhere In The World
What’s the Major Appeal of Trading Homes?
A quick tally of the amazing home trades we have ‘under our belts’ reveals unbelievable value. We used a broad-brush assumption that accommodation costs US$200 per night, on average, particularly given the quality of the destinations we’ve lived in.
Video Footage Capturing Lifestyle Freedom
7 Tips We’ve Learned From 6 Years of Home Exchanges, Having Saved a Phenomenal US$266,000
As we’ve only had exceptional experiences from swapping homes, maybe you’re interested to learn our strategy to arranging each exchange?
What are our secrets to a successful swap?
There are a few home exchange websites ‘out there’, however, we’ve had super positive experiences with LoveHomeSwap.com
- It’s as safe as houses
- They verify the ID of all members
- They have a secure website
- And they operate a social sharing site like Airbnb.com
Happily, they have a refer a friend scheme – so when you enter your email address into this ‘Share the Love' page, and sign up to be a full paying member, you and us will both be entitled to receive a voucher worth US$100. This voucher can be 100% redeemed at either Amazon, Itunes or Google Play.
Membership starts at £12/US$16 a month (billed annually).
And that’s it.
For unlimited swaps.
Quite an agreeable investment to save US$43k per annum, isn’t it?
There are websites out there which are free to register on, but we value people who prefer to pay for the membership. Would you want freebie-seekers staying in your home?
Many of the people registered on LoveHomeSwap are retirees. People who are looking for an economic way of travelling the globe in their golden years, or who want a comfortable safe way to experience London to the max, or simply want a solid base near their grown children who’ve moved abroad and had grandbabies.
We LOVE exchanging with retirees as they aren’t very likely to party, their homes a generally more luxurious, and they’re flexible on dates.
As you can guess, TRUST is a huge factor in why home exchanges work. You’re in their home and they’re in your home. Each party expects the other party to cherish, love, and respect the home as if it was their own.
No money changes hands.
There are no contracts or legal agreements.
And no formalities.
We continue to pay our utility costs, and so do they.
We simply exchange keys, expectation and trust 🙂
 Critical Review
When you register your property on LoveHomeSwap you upload images of your property. So, take a lot of photos on your phone. Pay attention to the detail people want to see, so they get reassurance that your property ticks all the boxes for them. We’ve provided lots of images of our property so people absolutely know what they're getting.
We’re always interested in seeing detailed pictures of the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. We’re looking for modern appliances, a dish washer, shower, washing machine (in the San Diego condo it’s a large laundry room for the entire condo which isn’t ideal, but at least it allows us to get 2 loads of washing done at once!).
If people don't have photos of their kitchen or bathroom, we’re suspicious!
Check to see everything is clean and tidy with no clutter – if someone can’t be bothered to tidy up and declutter before taking pictures, it means they’re not a good prospect for us. We’ve seen pictures of homes with clothes hanging on the backs of chairs and a ton of stuff strewn over the kitchen counter which ought to have been in a cupboard – we instantly reject them!
Also check out the location on Google Maps to get a feel for the area. What attractions are close by, is there a supermarket, public transport etc etc. LoveHomeSwap doesn’t provide an exact address for obvious reasons, but you still get an idea of the environment.
On Google Maps, simply click the little yellow person in the bottom right hand corner and drag it to the street or area of the prospective property.
Personally, our first rule of thumb is, is the property near or on water?
Recently we had 4 months over Christmas, living on Sydney Harbour in a stunning apartment with a view of the Harbour. Then we had 3 months in Thailand, with the use of two apartments – one on the Chao Phraya River with an incredible view of Bangkok, and the second property was on the beach of the Gulf of Thailand, with stunning sea views and amazingly energetic sunsets.
 Cross Check Suitability Of Dates
As we mostly do simultaneous exchanges, so we’re in their home whilst they’re in ours, we first find out that our dates are compatible. Generally, retirees are flexible, as are we.
LoveHomeSwap has a visual calendar that shows availability – however not all prospective swappers check our diary out. We often get exchange offers in a period that we’ve blocked out as we’ve already agreed another exchange.
Also, in our LoveHomeSwap profile, we state we only consider exchanges of 6 weeks or more – although that doesn’t stop people asking to stay a few days for Wimbledon, say. Or who wanted to swap in Australia for a week when the Rugby World Cup was on – it only takes a day to fly there and another to return!!!
 Internet Speed
We’re starting to be more relaxed about internet speed, but as we work online, we message our prospective exchange partners to let them know about our internet priorities.
We usually ask them to check their internet speed on http://speedtest.net and have them tell us the upload and the download speed. That site is a mine-field of ads, so we caution people to only click the ‘GO’ button and nothing else!
It’s the upload speed that’s important to us when it comes to running webinars and uploading videos to Youtube. An upload speed of 2 is the absolute minimum we can ‘survive on!
You can also use speedtest.net check your internet speed on your mobile phone too.
 Speak To Co-Exchangers On Skype
Finally, after checking dates, location, internet, suitability etc etc we arrange to speak to people via video on Skype, make sure we're a good fit for each other. We want to get a feel for them, to see they share the same values as us, to understand their travel plans – and to check they’re not crazy lol.
We also seek assurance that they’re skyping from the property they’ve listed on LoveHomeSwap i.e.: that it looks like it does in the pictures.
We ask if they own their home. The exchange we did in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was with two PhD students who landed a research project at the Bank of England – when we asked if we could redirect our mail their address a week before we flew, they said they’d need to ask their landlord!!! Landlord? Yup, their apartment was rented – which wasn’t really acceptable to us, but it was too late to pull out.
 The Finer Details
You might be messaging back and forth a bit to sort out or verify the finer details like:
- some people want detail about what type of bed we have, to be sure it’s a real bed, and to know the mattress is a Posturepedic type.
- that we have stairs and no lift/elevator
- we say we’ll clear out our drawers and a wardrobe in the bedroom
- we provide public transport info and phone apps we use for taxis and buses
- we sort out dates for Nina, our cleaner, who keeps an eye on our place for us in our absence
- in the past we’ve exchanged cars too, up until we sold our car in 2015, after being told off twice by the AA (Automobile Association) for letting the battery go flat from lack of use
- if we can redirect our post to their address (usually for exchanges longer than 3 months)
- how to exchange keys – sometimes we arrive the day before they leave their home, else they arrange for someone else to let us in, and once we’ve posted our keys (with no return address on the envelope lol)
- We pack away stuff we treasure, which no-one else will – stuff like family photos, gifts from friends and family, and cheap little things that have priceless meaning to us.
 Stay In Touch
Stay communicated and let them know when you’ve booked your flights – it adds comfort and confidence that you’re committed to the exchange.
We've made some good friendships with people we’ve exchanged with as we generally share a common outlook on life. It’s easy to get super comfortable in their home, and get used to the supermarkets, the environments, favourite restaurants, favourite pubs, favourite bus routes when you know a bit more about them.
How To Have An Endless Summer
As you’d imagine, we’re absolutely ‘sold’ on LoveHomeSwap, so if you want to find out more, check out their website.
Maybe you’d love to leverage your home in this way, but you’re thinking:
”yeah but, my property isn’t in Central London!”
Bear in mind that grandparents will travel ANYWHERE to be with their grandbabies. And their kids stray far and wide. So, there's always a chance you’ll find a good match.
Learn to ‘sell’ your home and ‘sell’ the benefits of your area – tourist attractions, buzzy cafes, pubs, restaurants, what’s close by, walks, gym, golf courses, etc.
Or, maybe you're thinking:
“yeah but, I don't want to go where a fellow exchanger lives!”
“yeah, but the dates a fellow exchanger proposes don't work for me!”
Good News! LoveHomeSwap has a points system – which means you can do non-reciprical exchanges at different times of the year.
The points system works well if you list a second home or a holiday home with LoveHomeSwap. So it doesn't suit people who list their main residence, like we do.
How does the points system work?
So, a LoveHomeSwapper stays in your second home, and you ‘earn' a given number of points for each night they stay (say 150 or 200 points a night). You ‘bank' those points until you find another LoveHomeSwapper's property that's available where and when you want to holiday, so then you ‘spend' your points on that stay. Again, no money changes hands. It's a simple, but flexible, trust-based system.
Remember: the goal is to have an endless summer.
Happily, for us, there are people who want to be in London in winter.
You simply need to attract the people who want to be where your home is. Fortunately, LoveHomeSwap will help you out there.
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