American flats swapped with a friend in the UK: Pictures

In the 2006 film “The Holiday,” an English writer and Los Angeles trailer editor switch homes for the holidays.

Kate Winslet and Jack Black in “The Holiday”.

Pictures of Colombia

In “Vacations,” Iris (Kate Winslet), a heartbroken writer working in London, and Amanda (Cameron Diaz), a workaholic director in Los Angeles, swap homes for Christmas and New Years in an effort to escape their troubles. in love. Iris stays at Amanda’s California mansion, and Amanda moves into Iris’ quaint cottage just outside of London.

The two women form unexpected bonds with the people of their new towns and find the strength they need to break out of their respective ruts.

The movie has become a holiday classic.

When my friend Rho posted on Instagram that he was looking to swap his flat in Edinburgh, Scotland for a place in New York, I immediately reached out.

An Instagram story with white text on a green background asking for an apartment swap.

My friend’s Instagram story.


I live in a one bedroom apartment in NYC and often have friends (or friends of friends) there while I’m away. I even have a guestbook that people can sign.

I loved the idea of ​​house swapping with a trusted friend as a way to travel to a new country.

After exchanging photos of our living spaces and confirming dates that suited both of us, we booked flights and wrote guides for each of our apartments and neighborhoods.

An apartment in New York.

My living room in New York.

Talia Lakritz/Insider

Similar to an Airbnb guestbook, we’ve included basics like Wi-Fi connections, trash disposal, and washing machine use, along with the locations of the nearest grocery stores and grocery stores. local transport guides.

My partner and I left for Scotland a few hours after Rho and their husband arrived at my flat.

Talia Lakritz holds a suitcase in an airport terminal.

Off to Scotland!

Coren Feldman

We overlapped long enough to sit down and catch up for a few minutes before I handed over the keys.

Rho left the keys to their flat with a nearby friend in Edinburgh.

A hand holds a set of keys.

The keys to my friend’s apartment.

Talia Lakritz/Insider

Rho’s friend left us the keys in a safe since we arrived in Edinburgh while she was at work. Our taxi driver kindly waited to make sure we had entered the code correctly and opened the safe before leaving.

Dragging my luggage through the cobbled streets of Edinburgh after collecting the keys, I definitely felt a bit like Cameron Diaz’s character in ‘The Holiday’.

Cameron Diaz as Amanda in "Vacations" dragging luggage in the snow.

Amanda (Cameron Diaz) drags her luggage through the snow to Iris’ (Kate Winslet) English cottage.

Pictures of Colombia

In the film, Amanda’s taxi driver drops her off as close to the cabin as possible. She ends up trudging through the snow with her bulky suitcases while slipping into her high heels.

The 10 minute walk to my accommodation wasn’t as dramatic, but it made me nostalgic thinking about the movie.

We enter the apartment without incident and leave to discover our new environment.

Streets of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Edinburgh, Scotland.

Coren Feldman

Edinburgh is an incredibly walkable city. All the famous museums and attractions were no more than a 20 or 30 minute walk from where we were staying.

The festive atmosphere of Scotland in winter remained even after the end of Christmas and New Year (known as Hogmanay).

A Christmas market at night in Glasgow, Scotland.

A Christmas market in Glasgow, Scotland.

Coren Feldman

Glasgow’s Christmas Market remained in operation when I visited the city the week after New Years. Across Scotland, festive strings of lights lit up the streets in the evening.

However, we could not foresee everything. My friend and I both encountered unexpected problems in our apartments during the exchange.

A broken toilet with wood holding it together.

The toilet in my New York apartment.

Talia Lakritz/Insider

In Edinburgh, a flickering light fixture blew a fuse which required an electrician to be called in to fix it. I was afraid I had done something wrong, but Rho assured me that those lights had always been “cantankerous”, which made me feel a little better. The electrician they recommended came the next day and fixed the problem in about 15 minutes.

A little later, I noticed that my building’s newsgroup in New York was talking about plumbing problems in various apartments. I let Rho know that there might be a water problem in the building – in the past cold weather has caused the pipes to burst. Everything seemed to be going well until two days before my scheduled departure to return home, when Rho texted me to let me know that my toilet had in fact exploded.

“The good news is that the water that exploded was clean! they said.

My superintendent was able to provide an immediate short term solution until a plumber arrived the day after I got home. I still feel bad that they had to deal with this.

The arrangement also saved us money that we would have otherwise spent on a hotel or Airbnb.

Talia Lakritz in Scotland.

The author in Scotland.

Coren Feldman

On Airbnb, apartments in Edinburgh cost around $100-200 per night, excluding taxes and cleaning fee. Hotels are even more expensive.

The apartment swap proved to be mutually beneficial, giving us each a home without spending any extra money. This left more room in my travel budget to book tours and trips to other parts of Scotland like Inverness and the Isle of Skye.

I would swap apartments with a friend again.

Talia Lakritz in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The author in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Coren Feldman

All in all, the arrangement worked perfectly for both of us. We each had free accommodations in countries we wanted to visit, and it was nice to reconnect with a friend I hadn’t seen in years.

I also asked Rho for their opinion. They told me it was “extremely grounded” staying in someone’s home while traveling and helped them feel less anxious about being somewhere new.

“It’s also so much better than staying in a hotel or feeling like you don’t have an actual home base somewhere,” they said.

I couldn’t agree more.

If I’m lucky enough to do it again with another friend, I’ll go the extra mile to make sure we’re both as prepared as possible for any potential complications and know who to contact if anything needs fixing.

I don’t think I would feel comfortable swapping apartments with a complete stranger like Iris and Amanda in “The Holiday,” but I would definitely do it again with someone I know and trust. .

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