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Next week we're packing up the kidlets and heading out West for a family wedding.  We couldn't be more excited!  But let me tell you, trying to find 'family-friendly' accommodations was a bit of a nightmare.  I really wanted to find places that had a kitchen and laundry and, if possible, two bedrooms to make my kids' staggered bedtimes a wee bit easier. When all the bookings were made and my credit card bill came in, let me tell you, I shed a little tear.   That's why I was so excited when Penelope from Knok contacted me to tell me about the company: an international home-swap organization.  Basically, you pay a small annual fee and can swap your home with another family anywhere in the world - as often as you like!  I shed more than a few tears when I realized my hotel bookings were non-refundable...(the downside of going for the 'cheapest' deal!).

Since I haven't tried the home-swap myself (YET!), read below for Penelope's story and check out Knok's website for more details!
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Ever wished to go on holiday with your family and not leave the comforts of your home, all without breaking the bank?  Knok is a new generation home swap community with thousands of homes in over 159 countries.

Before I signed up I was filled with all kinds of questions and doubts, now all I question is “Why isn’t everybody doing this?”

From the very beginning the process was simple, once I expressed interest in a home that caught my eye, we began chatting - they were so kind and helpful, immediately putting any worries I had at ease…and then suddenly, voila, the dates were set and an agreement was organized, and we were off to Paris!!

Travelling with a family can be such an exhausting task but once we arrived I instantly relaxed, how could I not staying in my “home away from home?”

The kids immediately ran off to find the toys and I was able to put my feet up in the lounge and read over all the local advice and recommendations left by my home swap partner.

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Not only are you able to live in the comforts of a real home whilst on holiday, you are able to reinvest all the money you save on accommodation costs into your holiday activities, making it all the more memorable experience. No matter how many times you home swap a full years' membership with Knok, including home insurance, it is cheaper than one night accommodation at a hotel!! Insane, right?

We had a day of being the ultimate tourists heading up the Eiffel Tower, visiting Mona Lisa, the Arc De Triomphe, even a bike tour around the back streets (it was so Parisian of us),and thanks to the advice our home swap partner left, we managed to skip the queue at every single venue!!

And I will tell you something, there is nothing more comforting after a long, hectic day with the kids, than arriving back in your “home away from home,” putting the kids to bed and popping open a well deserved bottle of wine from the cupboard.

Knok is not just ideal for families, but the convenience and ease of the entire process, along with not missing those special moments around the dinner table with your children, that just makes this home exchange platform so remarkable. For once I actually returned from a holiday feeling relaxed and also satisfied that my children had a great time (the two usually don’t mix in my household). Home swap is the travel choice of the future, my only warning to you is that you will get hooked!

Now I spend all my time organizing where I am travelling next, Spain, Italy, Thailand, Germany….

This guest post was written by Penelope H. who works for Knok, a new generation ‘home swap’ platform that enables people to find the best home exchange for their holidays.
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Have you ever done a home-exchange?  How did it go?  What are your top tips for traveling this way?