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How the elite are using their homes to beat the big staycation rush

2020 is officially the Summer of Staycations, with the holiday-starved prescribing themselves fresh country air, honey-hued village jaunts and the myriad delights of our fair isle in lieu of jetting somewhere farther-flung. This means that finding a luxe hotel or an idyllic holiday rental has become an arduous task.

However, not to be thwarted at the first hurdle, the country’s elite have turned to a form of holiday that means they needn’t compromise on luxury, privacy or environment: the home swap.

‘We have certainly seen an uptick in enquiries for membership, in particular for our most exclusive platform, Reserve,’ Giles Adam, the European President of Third Home – the world’s most luxurious home swapping website – tells Tatler. ‘We have had lots more enquiries in the past few months than we did prior to March, and many members are now referring friends with great second homes who would benefit from homeswapping.’

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To join Third Home’s Exchange platform, you need a personal invite and a luxury second (or third) home worth over ?500,000. Though for the Reserve tier, your holiday home needs an average value of ?5 million, and must boast exclusive bells and whistles like staff and unique design elements.

But, as well as offering an opulent lifestyle synonymous with their own, and the opportunity to explore properties often out of bounds, this type of holiday offers members the luxury of time.

They are exempt from the The Great (Staycation) Race, as the pool of people travelling to the same destination at any one time is smaller, and homeowners tend to be more flexible with timings.

‘There is no fuss to change dates if needs be,’ Reserve member and homeswap convert, Lizie Gower – who no longer rents her chalet in Meribel in favour of swapping – explains. ‘It’s all very friendly and flexible, and with no worry about money changing hands, it’s all so easy and stress-free. Plus, going into hotels where they have stringent COVID-19 rules means that it’s much easier to be in a house.’

And safety is something Giles emphasises too: ‘Current concerns mean we are seeing an increase in private travel – such as private jets and helicopters – so people have less to spend on accommodation. With a platform like Third Home their accommodation cost is low, making it a natural fit in this new climate.’

How low you ask?

Well, when travelling within the UK, a property that might have set you back ?30,000 to rent, will likely cost under ?3,000.

Take a look at some of their most spectacular UK properties available to swap below.

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