With the Olympics and Paralympics only a few months away, now is a great time to start planning a London Olympics home exchange to attend the Games in comfort – and rent-free!
London, one of the world’s most popular destinations, is a wonderful city for a home swap at any time. Perhaps your home from home will be an Edwardian house in a North London suburb , full of character and original features? Or, a modern apartment in an 18th century warehouse conversion? Or even a houseboat on the Thames!
Choosing a home exchange during the Olympics enables you to not only enjoy the comfort and space of a real home to return to after a day out attending an event or sightseeing, but to also experience one of London’s local neighbourhoods in depth, with their often diverse range of cafes, markets and unique, small shops.
Home exchange is particularly attractive for families with children. Swap homes with a London family for the peace of mind of a safe place for your children to play, with lots of new toys and games to discover (and often a trusted local babysitter so parents can enjoy a night out on their own, perhaps to take in a show in the West End, or one of the special cultural events planned to coincide with the Olympics). It’s also convenient and a money saver to have a fully equipped kitchen to make some meals ‘at home’, and to be able to fit meals around your children’s routines and bed times.
Being involved in the pre-exchange arrangements is fun for older children and teenagers; they often enjoy getting to know the children in the exchange family, sharing ideas for things to do in their neighbourhoods, and introducing each other to local friends so that the guest children have a readymade social network on arrival.
As you and your exchange partners will want to allow plenty of time to plan your home swap and get to know each other in the run-up to the exchange, it is a good idea to start looking for a suitable match well ahead of your exchange dates (six to 12 months is common for an international exchange). This is particularly important if you want an exchange for a specific event such as the 2012 Olympics or if you need to fit your vacation around school holidays or other commitments.