Thailand

Family of six saves £100k by house swapping around the world


Eight years of adventurer travel (Pic: PA Real Life)

Clair Prince, 46, and her husband Daniel, 46, tired of long hours and high childcare costs, knew they had to make a change.

So the couple made a drastic decision to sell their house and most of their possessions, betting everything and living a nomadic life with their four children.

Claire and Daniel say they’ve saved £100,000 in just eight years through uninterrupted free holidays.

The couple have a holiday home in Thailand, and they’ve traded their home for stunning cabins and villas around the world.

Claire, mum to Caitlin, 17, Sophia, 14, and twins Lauren and Samuel, 11, said: “Daniel has been working and I’ve been looking after four children everywhere. We just thought, life has to More fun than that. And that’s what we do – we make life fun.

“It’s hard to say how much we’d have to save, but it’s probably £100,000 – all we need to pay is the cost of travelling to each place.”

Family of six standing in the lake, men washing elephants against the background of blue sky and mountains

“The change it makes in children’s lives is amazing” (Image: PA Real Life)

Clair and Daniel moved to Singapore in 1999 as Daniel worked in foreign exchange. The couple enjoyed traveling around Asia before settling down with the kids. But they found themselves caught in a frustrating cycle.

Claire said: “Childcare is so expensive, it’s cheaper for me to take care of my kids.

“I stayed at home with my four kids, trying to keep up with the Joneses, all the while doing ballet, music and school trips for the kids.

“Meanwhile, Daniel is working 24/7 to get food on the table, but we’ll never see him.”

Holidays are rare due to cost. Claire said: “We need two hotel rooms for £150 a night, plus lunch and dinner every day, maybe £500 a day. Just can’t afford it.

Desperate for a change, the couple started looking for a way out and stumbled across lovehomeswap.com, like in the movie “Vacation,” where vacationers swap homes with people from all over the world.

Family wearing pink ponchos in sunny day in Niagara Falls, Canada, July 2015

They visited iconic landmarks such as Niagara Falls in Canada (Image: PA Real Life)

“It sounded amazing and we immediately thought, should we do this?” Claire said.

After wrestling with the decision, the couple took a leap of faith in early 2014.

After selling their home and most of their property in Singapore, Claire and Daniel will trade their vacation home in Thailand with other travelers.

First headed to the UK for a home exchange, visiting family and friends, then the family to Croatia, Dubai, Thailand and Cambodia before arriving in Australia on Christmas 2014.

Claire said: “We ended our three-month trip in New Zealand with stops in Sydney, Perth, Melbourne and it was incredible. We couldn’t believe how amazing it was – we thought, why not everyone this way?

Daniel and Clair earn a steady income of around £1,000 a month from renting out their Thai home while they switch homes, and for just £120 for their annual lovehomeswap.com membership, Daniel and Clair can live modestly.

“When you change homes, you pay for the electricity bills in your home, but the rent we earn can offset any bills,” Claire said.

“All the houses are very peaceful and comfortable and we were able to live on a reasonable budget.

“Some days we’ll have zero dollar days where we’re not going to spend any money to explore, have a picnic or find a free activity to do.”

But Claire admits it will take them some time to adjust to their new way of life.

“It took us a long time to realize this was our reality,” she said.

Dan and Claire Prince in Dordogne, France in 2020 (Collect/PA Real Life)

They stay in stunning chalets and villas for free (Image: PA Real Life)

“When homeschooling, we remain very flexible, depending on where we are – for example, when we are in Rome, wherever we go, it’s a history lesson.”

After a stint in New Zealand, the family once again opted for a home exchange across the U.S., starting in San Francisco and then heading to Seattle, Vancouver, New York and Virginia.

“There are so many moments that blow our minds – like horseback riding on a New Zealand beach, or sailing on a yacht in Marbella Harbour, or having a picnic at the Sydney Opera House on Christmas Eve,” Claire said.

After two years of travel, the family returned to Europe. Claire said: “We’ve been travelling for two and a half years, which is incredible, but we want our children to learn another language.

“So we exchanged houses all over France until we were offered to rent one of the properties, which we ended up living in for the next two years.

“While we were in France in 2018, we still did some home exchanges over the holidays – including a ski home exchange in the French Alps.”

The pandemic means the family is staying in France, Daniel started the financial podcast Once Bitten! “Before started working as an online consultant. Bitcoin podcast co-hosted by youngest daughter Lauren.

A family in Palma de Mallorca July 2021 (Collect/PA Real Life)

They have no plans to stop exploring (Image: PA Real Life)

But now, Daniel and Claire are eager to start exploring again.

Claire said: “The change it makes in children’s lives is amazing – it’s incredible to see and accept people differently, no matter where we are.

“Especially with the twins, we started when they were three and it was the only life they knew. They were both so independent, adventurous and confident.

Follow the family on their journey on their travel blog Princes Off The Grid

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Get in touch by emailing MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk.

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