Yesterday I joined a home-exchange site, as we’re looking for somewhere to stay in Los Angeles this summer and thought this might be a cheap’n’cheerful option. Anyway, I can’t believe I haven’t done it before. I’ve already had offers of places to stay in Valencia, Florida, Bordeaux and Carcassonne, as well as a definite LA possibility. Admittedly it helps living in central London, as people know how much they’re going to pay for hotels round these parts, but it seems that for the price of a cheap flight (admittedly not that cheap any more), you can have an amazing holiday and live like a local, rather than being ripped off at some skanky hole that fake-reviewed its way to a decent position on Trip Advisor.
In fact, the one possible glitch is the boy. It hadn’t occurred to me that he might be a problem, but it turns out there are people in the world who don’t want gammy porridge hands on their walls and their favourite crockery smashed to oblivion. I thought about offering a hefty toddler deposit, which would cover any possible damage, or pretending that small boys are well behaved really and never cause mayhem at all. But actually, do I want to do that? Spending two weeks breaking into a cold panic every time he lurches towards some irreplaceable lamp doesn’t sound like a holiday to me. So I guess it’s back to Trip Advisor, depressingly.