Swap a house or borrow a bed
Convent and monastery stays are all the rage despite, in most cases, reasonably early curfews
WITH our currency so strong and more travellers upgrading to the once seemingly unattainable five-star realm, particularly in Europe, it’s interesting that houseswapping is on the increase. HomeExchange.com reports a 9 per cent increase for September compared with the corresponding month last year.
Ed Kushins, who founded the company in 1992, says France is among the most perennially popular destinations in Europe, attracting more international visitors this year than in 2011, ‘‘but with a significant change in their accommodation choices [including] a 5.5 per cent growth [in home swaps]’’.
Exchanging residences requires planning and pur- pose, but if you are headed to Britain or continental Europe in the next few months and want something out of the mainstream consider Britain’s Landmark Trust (landmarktrust.org.uk), which offers restored heritage digs and the occasional folly, from ferrymen’s cottages to water towers.
The Irish Landmark Trust (irishlandmark.com) has about 20 properties on its books, including a ‘‘miniature medieval castle’’ in County Cork and lightkeepers’ houses by Belfast Lough. In Portugal, there’s a network of about 45 rustic pousadas (pousadas.pt), typically in buildings of architectural merit, while Spain has a wide spread of paradores (paradores-spain.com), which give a similar sense of place and history.
In Italy, convent and monastery stays are all the rage (monasterystays.com) despite, in most cases, reasonably early curfews and minimum two-night stays. A good resource for such accommodation across Europe is the regularly updated Good Night & God Bless guidebook by Trish Clark (goodnightandgodbless.com).
Back at HomeExchange.com, ‘‘a young [Paris] family seeking hot weather and beaches [ in Australia] in January-February is willing to swap their apartment in a non-simultaneous exchange’’. Sounds just the ticket.