Why this headline? It’s because I wanted an eye-catching headline, and because I want to talk about my hobby: Home Exchange.
I want to start with a few facts of Home Exchange [PUNCTUATION] like what is Home Exchange, how old is the concept of Home Exchange and so on. I also want to tell you,[PUNCTUATION] why my wife and I have decided to use Home Exchange. What kind of thoughts did we have in the beginning? What are the pros and cons? And finally I want to speak a little about places we have seen, and people we have met.
Let me first explain what Home Exchange is?
To put it briefly: Home Exchange is a vacation alternative where two families agree to swap homes for a vacation. That’s it!
How does it work?
Let me quote homeexchange.com:
It’s as easy as 1-2-3
- Click on a country or state where you want to go.
- Click on an interesting Listing
- Send a privacy protected email to that listing directly from the site
But of course, it’s not that simple!
The first thing you have to do, [PUNCTUATION]is to join homeexchange.com, and put a listing on the internet. Joining homeexchange.com will cost about you 900 dkk. [convention for currency] for one year. The listing is a kind of advertisement for your house or apartment. It consists of information about your home such as the number of people in your family, how many sleeping places etc. , and your preferences to [med hensyn til] where and when you want to travel. Most people also adds pictures to the listing.
You have to do a lot of considerations about your choice of destination. Where do you want to go to? When are you planning to travel? How long a journey can you afford? But for us, all these thoughts and feelings are a pleasant part of our next vacation.
homeexchange.com is just one of several sites on the internet, where it is possible to make exchanges. There is no particular reason for us to use homeexchange.com. It was just the first site we found on the internet., and it has worked well.
Homeexchange.com was started in 1992 by avid home exchange enthusiasts. [Same phrase found on several sites. SHJ] At the moment there are 30937 listings from 129 countries. In Denmark there are 608 members.
What kind of thoughts did we have before we both accepted the idea of swapping homes?
The first time I mentioned the idea for my wife, she rejected it loud and clearly. “I won’t have any strangers running around in my house. Forget it!!” She also had thoughts about such thing as “Is my house clean enough?”, “What do people think about the way we are living?” But after some lobbying, she slowly accepted the idea.
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What are the benefits in swapping homes?
Many people are thinking the biggest benefit will be the money they can save, and that expectation is certainly realized, with savings of thousands of dollars on hotels, cars and meals, and that it was the main reason for us to join Home Exchange. But after doing Home Exchange for six years, we have realized
that the greatest advance isn’t the saved money. There are a lot of other benefits. I just want to mention a few.
- You get a much closer look at other cultures. You get a “feel” for the places you visit.
- You are meeting the locals instead of other tourists
- When you are doing a home exchange, your home is being cared for while you’re away
- You have more flexibility and freedom. You can prepare meals at home, and come and go as we please.
- You’ve got more privacy compared to staying in a hotel or Bed & Bedfast
- If you have children, and you are swapping home with another family with children, your children will have a fully functional playroom instead of a dead boring hotel room
- You reside in a well equipped house with all it amenities, compared to staying in a hotel
If I had to mention one and only one good thing, it would be the freedom. Having a home with all its facilities as a base, with the possibility to travel around in the country for one or more days, and returning to that base is for me the greatest advantage in swapping homes.
Below are some samples of fascinating places and peoples we have met on our vacations, that have made a good impression on both me and my wife. I believe the places speaks for it selves, and regarding the people, the reason for mentioning them, is not just the people themselves, but also the funny or suggestive experiences we had with them.
- Seeing the great stones of Stonehenge standing on the bare field
- Walking along Loch Ness in a foggy weather
- Meeting a policeman in Sarasota, Florida who had left New York shortly before 9/11 2001
- Visiting a nearly eighty years old man who left Denmark as a child
- Diving in Great Barrier Reef
- Sitting in a park in Philadelphia reading a good book, while mothers are meeting, children are playing, and young people are sleeping
- Meeting a volunteer fireman in Waterlooville, South England
We have exchanges home six times now. We have visited USA two times, South England, Belgium, Scotland, Australia. This year we are once again going USA. This time our destination is Arizona.
Finally I want to end the presentation of my passion with a well known phrase, some would say a worn platitude, by Hans Christian Andersen:
“To travel is to live”
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