In the film, THE HOLIDAY, Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet play two strangers, one living in England and the other in Los Angeles, who agree to swap homes temporarily. If you’re like many moviegoers who came out of the film dreaming of starring in your own luxury home swap, now you can. 

The movie became one of the inspirations for one of the hottest travel trends this season, Luxe Home Swap where luxury homeowners can get the most out of their vacations by swapping in style. Whether you fancy skiing in the Rocky Mountains or winter sun in the Caribbean, Luxe Home Swap is the savvy traveler’s way to holiday in style and blend in like a local.

My husband, Hank, and I are big fans of home exchanges and have been able to enjoy extended stays in exotic locales, for little more than the cost of staying home, as a result. And while home exchange websites have been around for decades, Luxe Home Swap has come up with a model that levels the playing field for swappers with style.

Luxe Home Swap is the brainchild of entrepreneur Debbie Wosskow, who came up with the idea when she was thinking about booking a winter vacation away for her and her family.  Debbie was sick of spending 80% of her travel budget on a hotel, where she still wouldn’t feel like it was a home away from home.

“I took a look at the main home exchange sites out there, put my home up on a few of them and found that there was a real problem. When I listed my funky home in Marylebone, Central London on a few of the sites, I was bombarded with 30 to 40 messages a day from people with properties that didn’t match with mine asking me to swap,” says Wosskow. “I then looked for other nice homes, and there were some there but they were really difficult to find. Plus the existing home exchange sites looked horrible and obviously had been built a long time ago. Clearly it wasn’t the same glossy experience as booking through a travel agent. So I came up with the idea for Luxe Home Swap – a stylish home exchange site for people with homes they’re proud of that lets you holiday like a local - for less than a night in a hotel. I’ve made sure to remember that ’Luxe’ is not just about luxury – location can be as important as size, as people want different things at different times when they travel. So Luxe Home Swap will make total sense for you, whether you save $500 or $5,000 on travel accommodation.”

Annual membership for Luxe Home Swap is $159 – less than the cost of a night in a hotel - and members can exchange as many times as they like.

Here’s a sample of the stylish homes currently available for your next vacation:

1) Marylebone, London, Greater London 

What: 2 Bed 5 Star Hotel style living on a quiet street in the very centre of London

Where: Located within easy walking distance from Bond Street & Theatreland

Why: Jeeves and Wooster was filmed in this 30’s stone clad apartment building


2) Hong Kong, Hong Kong 

What: 3,000 sqf warehouse converted into a stunning modern apartment

Where: Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong

Why: Finest dim sum, shopping paradise and deserted beaches all in one city




3) Basseterre, St Kitts and Nevis

What: Charming, old West Indian home

Where: 30 minutes from Basseterre, 4 hours from JFK

Why: Peace and beauty



4) Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

What: Charming city home with spectacular mountain range and ocean views

Where: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada’s west “best” coast

Why: Stunning west coast city with beauty and nature at every turn



5) New York, NY

What: Glamorous pre-war doorman building, one block from Central Park

Where: New York, Manhattan, 63rd Street, Bloomingdales & Barneys steps away

Why: Because you’re in a New York state of mind!



6) Keswick Island, QLD, South Whitsundays, Australia

What: Stunning island home in quiet pristine South Whitsundays

Where: Right on the Great Barrier Reef (only 10 inhabitants on island)

Why: Views, unspoilt coral, fishing, isolated beaches, quiet and peaceful.



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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".