A few weeks ago I described the points-based home exchange I had set up for our holiday visit to family. It involved paying in points to stay in the home of someone who was away visiting her own family, and then during our time out of town, a couple from France would be paying us in points to use our empty flat. This is a great example of the flexibility of home swap points. For a full explanation of this system, and my analysis of the pros and cons, you can check out this three-part series of posts.

View from the back patio of our southern California home exchange

This year’s holiday home exchange was the best yet (we have stayed in home exchanges during the December holidays for the past three years).

As always, in advance of a house swap I was a bit nervous. What if something was miscommunicated and we end up without a place to stay? What if the host was misleading us about what she had to offer and it’s horrible (cold, dirty, dangerous, etc.)? But so far my fears have been completely unfounded. And for this stay it was pretty much the opposite of horrible. The house was far more than we needed: a three bedroom home with a wrap around porch in the back, and a private spa/endless pool in the front.

endless pool/spa

 

 

 

 

 

 

While the highlight of this home was the exterior, including luxurious details like a heat lamp over the porch table, the interior was equally lovely, with a lot of fun details in the decor and two comfortable living rooms, one surrounded on three sides with windows looking out at the ocean and mountains.

Living room surrounded by windows and the outside porch

The house was just a half block away from the beach, and we took advantage of the location for morning runs along the oceanside path.

The beach was just a half block away

I think each year our California home exchanges have gotten more spectacular. But in the end we don’t spend that much time at the house as we’re mostly visiting with family. So while all this luxury is very nice, I feel like we wasted it and should have stayed a few more days, just to enjoy the house.

At the same time our home exchange guests were very nice, and left our home totally clean with a kind note inviting us to visit them in France. Overall a big win for the holiday home swapping of 2016.