You could spend your vacation living in a castle, an old manor house, or even a former church – if you agree to swap your home for a week


If you've watched "The Holiday" and been jealous of Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz's house swap, you're not the only one.

But swapping houses for a week isn't just something that happens in the film – house swap services exist outside of the big screen.

You could spend a week living in a castle, an old manor house, or even a former church.

Modern Apartment in Church
This Grade II-listed church is just minutes away from the beach and is close to Wales’ tallest mountain in Snowdonia National Park. But the property doesn’t come with TV or internet connection, the owners warn.
Love Home Swap

While international travel restrictions stop most vacations abroad like the Transatlantic trips in "The Holiday," the domestic house-swapping market is booming.

Before the pandemic, 40% of US exchanges done via Love Home Swaps were with another US household. Since March, this has gone up to 70%.

The UK, which doesn't have as strict travel restrictions, has similarly seen an increase in domestic swaps. Prior to the pandemic, one in three home swaps were with a fellow UK household. It is now one in two..

Read more: The East Coast elite are spending up to $17,000 on luxury 'daycations' during the pandemic. Here's where they're going and what they get.

Love Home Swap is a members-only home swapping platform that operates in over 100 countries.

Members pay monthly subscription fees and earn points for hosting, which they redeem when they decide to travel – they pay a small service fee based on the trip's length.

Medieval English Church 1
This 1,000-year-old medieval church is located in rural Suffolk, east England, has stained glass windows, wood-burning stoves, and wooden beams. The property sits in an acre of a private garden surrounded by gravestones.
Love Home Swap

The company has observed marked changes to the countries and destinations people are travelling to and from as people increasingly choose to stay local.

Celia Pronto, Love Home Swap's managing director, also noted that members are becoming less demanding regarding what they're looking for in a home swap.

"In the past, we would see members looking for a swap with very specific requirements with respect to location & amenities," Pronto told Business Insider. "What we are now seeing are really broad search criteria along the lines of members simply looking for anywhere in their country of residence with enough rooms to provide them with a change of scenery. They want anything to get them somewhere different!"

Medieval Hall House 3
This timber-framed house in Kent, southern England, dates back to the 1480s and is set in the Kent countryside in southern England. The interior includes wooden panelling from a monastery and an inglenook fireplace, and is a 20-minute drive from the UK’s most haunted village.
Love Home Swap

People are increasingly planning ahead, too.

In the past, bookings for each year usually gather momentum in January. But in August and September, one in five Love Home Swap bookings made by US members were for 2021.

The company says that its membership numbers have remained "incredibly resilient" throughout lockdown. 

Scottish Castle
This 500-year-old castles lies in a forest near Stirling, Scotland. The castle is located in a 90 acre estate made up of gardens, grazing fields, and woodland.
Love Home Swap

Many members are attracted by the lower costs associated with home swapping. The average Love Home Swap member saves £3,400 a year on holiday accommodation by using the service, Pronto said.

But the lower price isn't the only reason why people choose to home swap. The service has a prominent community aspect, Pronto said, and members value the comfort and safety of staying in a fully-furnished home. Owners can communicate with each other in advance, which makes swappers feel more confident.

And many members home swap once and keep returning, Pronto said. One in three of Love Home Swap's members travel at least four times a year.