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A family enjoying their vacation on wheels
A family enjoying their vacation on wheels

Mobile Home Swap: A New Way to Vacation on Wheels

By Jon Brandt

As prices for airline tickets, hotels, and other necessities for a trip continue to rise, many travelers have begun to look for alternatives that will not only help save some money, but give a new perspective on travel as well.

Some people have begun to simply travel more in their own neck of the woods, while others have found any way possible to scrimp and save. Chris Farrow, owner and creator of Motor Home Holiday Swap, has found a way to bring the two together.

The company was born when Farrow came up with the idea of swapping mobile homes with some friends from France.

"We both saved a fortune"

"We both had similarly sized vehicles," he says, "and as it happened we both had children of similar age, and we both saved ourselves a fortune. We had two weeks of free campervan, and so did they, and were able to do a great deal more in the way of eating out and enjoying ourselves than we would otherwise have been able to do.

"We returned the vehicle in tip top condition, and returned to our own equally pristine and as sparkling clean as we had ever seen it. Such a simple idea, but it worked."

"It occurred to me that with an increasing number of people investing in motor homes, there would be many thousands of people like us, in the same boat, with the same potential swap to be had. They just needed to know that it could happen safely, and, crucially, they needed to be put in touch with one another."

Driving a motor home gives you lots of flexibility.
Driving a motor home gives you lots of flexibility.

By taking the idea of motor home swapping and combining it with the freedom that a motor home gives to those traveling on the road, Farrow has given birth to a new way of vacationing. It’s simple, affordable, and allows the participants to see as much, if not more, than they would on a regular trip.

The company, which is based in Britain, only charges the user a yearly fee for connecting with other users. The fee, which is measured in British pounds, winds up saving the customer a lot of money in the long run.

Instead of having to deal with the airlines or trains, the travelers can just pick up where they want to and go wherever they want, all in accordance with a pre-determined agreement with the person they swap with.

Signing Up

It’s very simple. First, you get signed up at motorhomeholidayswap.com.

Then you search for the area you want to travel in. It could be anywhere in the world, as there are users registered throughout Europe, Australia and New Zealand, and in the United States and Canada.

Next, the website helps you to get in touch with someone who is also looking to vacation in your area. Given that you have a motor home already, you no longer have anything to worry about. You and your counter-part will work out how long you want to exchange motor homes for, and you’re then able to start on your trip. The site includes all types of motor homes, RVs, and small campervans.

People usually swap with others who own the same type of vehicle.
People usually swap with others who own the same
type of vehicle.

Farrow has also recently started a similar website, mobilehomeholidayswap.com, for people who want a different kind of vacation than they are used to. He said he created the site to fill a gap in the holiday market.

“I, like millions of others worldwide, love to take my holidays in a motor home. However, hiring one abroad when you have a beauty of your own sitting at home is an expensive business.”

“Motor Home Holiday Swap enables people to make the most of owning a motor home and makes their investment work a little harder,” says Farrow.

Saving Time and Money

Given the current state of international travel, it’s easy to see why the idea is really catching on. Long lines at airports, high prices for the Eurail, and the appeal for many foreigners to visit multiple states while in the U.S. are just some reasons for the success of this website. There are a number of websites and search engines springing up in the United States now that offer similar services in each state.

These are also cost-cutting trips for families. Instead of having to book hotels, you can simply sleep in the motor home or camp outside at the end of the day. Also, rather than having to go to a restaurant for most meals, you can cook in the motor home or have a barbecue at a camp site.

It doesn’t really matter if it’s a short trip or an extended amount of time, because the only expense you have while you swap vehicles is the gas. Since you are borrowing the motor home of the person who is borrowing yours, you can be fairly sure both vehicles will be returned in good condition.

No need to worry about hotel bills when you have your own home on wheels.
No need to worry about hotel bills when you have your own home on wheels.

If you’ve ever rented your house to someone and returned to find it a mess, you know how aggravating it can be. However, this swapping ensures that both parties do their best to keep the vehicles in top shape. As Farrow says, “Owners can have the reassurance that they will exchange with like-minded people who care about their motor homes/RVs.”

An Impressive Buzz

The website has only been running since January, 2007, and it is already getting a strong and impressive buzz. There have been a lot of requests for swaps, says Farrow, and new features are being added to the site in the coming months.

One of the new features will be a Comment Page and a aDevelopment/Feedback Page. These new pages will help customers decide which swap is best for them in the long run. People who have used the swaps can compare with others and inspire potential swappers to find the right choice.

Those who have used mobile homes or RVs agree that they provide a great way to travel. Instead of just seeing one aspect or part of a place, you can get out and really explore the country.

Driving around from city to city or one spot of interest to another allows you to see smaller towns on the way that you otherwise might have missed. It allows you to get a real feel for the local flavor and culture.

But, most importantly, it allows you to take control of your vacation. Instead of having to get bored in one location you can do whatever you want. There are no limitations besides the amount of time you have with the vehicle. A traveler can truly appreciate freedom to go wherever they want, and this option will certainly allow you to do that.

For more information on Motor Home Holiday Swap, visit their website, or email Chris Farrow.

Jon Brandt.
Jon Brandt majors in Journalism at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and is interning this semester for GoNOMAD. Read his blog, Travel Reader.

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