Page 11 - 2014 REUNIONS GUIDE
P. 11

adventure, or at least culture shock. Most exchanges include Home swaps or exchanges allow
the use of your host’s car, thus saving on transport costs as substantial savings, especially in
well. For the adventurous traveler, home exchange vacations cities or countries that are known
offer you a degree of flexibility and spontaneity that other more to be expensive.
conventional vacations don’t offer. You don’t usually get to meet
the person whose home you are exchanging, although some places easily reachable in a day. Proximity to shops,
swappers make a point of getting to know their opposite restaurants, medical facilities and a major airport is something
number. you may want to indicate.

If you are interested in home swapping, the first step is to Keep in mind the importance of day to day living. If someone
register with a home swap service. There is generally an annual is living in your home, you may want to leave instructions for
fee between $100 and $300. how the TV, washing machine, shower, etc works. These things
may be unfamiliar to someone who is used to the anonymity of
The internet has definitely made this easier. A search for chain hotels. Some people go as far as to list TV channels and
“home swap” or “home exchange” will bring up dozens of instructions on how to use the VCR! Some swappers even make
results. When searching for a suitable agency, keep in mind the sure a relative or neighbor is on hand during the period of the
following: How many home listings does the agency have, and swap in case of any problems or questions. The more
how up to date are they? Check the listings carefully to make information and detail you include, the easier it will be to find
sure they are clear and comprehensive. Can the company be someone to swap with and make it a success.
easily reached by telephone if you have questions or concerns?
Read through the companies’ small print and their particular An understandable concern of first time swappers is whether
policies. their house will be looked after and left clean and tidy. Most
experienced swappers understand the importance of this
Do some research on which country you might want to stay because you are in their home at the same time they are in
in, and what kind of neighborhood and home you desire. One yours. Having said that, it is a good idea to move certain
of the appeals of this type of vacation is that you can live in a breakables or valuable items, as well as put important papers
completely different environment for a short while. If you live away. Agree with your opposite number on such things as the
in the suburbs, swap homes with an apartment dweller for a use of the phone, etc. If you have pets, you may want to board
week. Many people post detailed descriptions of their home as them rather than have your guests look after them.
well as photographs and testimonials from previous happy
swappers. Try to plan ahead. If you want your swap to take It is a policy of most home swap organizations that you leave
place in the summer, you should be doing the research in the your hosts home just as you found it, and as you would want
fall. yours to be left. Most companies have clear rules on this and
swappers who violate this most basic of rules are strictly
Most of us take the place we live for granted, only forbidden from swapping again.
appreciating it when we have guests to show around. If you list
your home with an agency, approach it in much the same way In the rare case of accidental damage while someone else is
as you would if you were actually selling the house. Think staying in your home, most homeowner’s policies will cover
about what you might want to know and what might be this. If you are the sort of person who worries about this sort of
important to you if you were about to spend a week in a thing, home swapping may not be for you – but for millions of
stranger’s house on the other side of the world. A potential people it is the only way to vacation.
swapper might like to know the square footage of your home,
number of bedrooms and bathrooms, size of yard or garden,
and facilities such as dishwasher, shower, etc.

Apart from your home, your neighborhood and surrounding
area will be of interest as well. Whether you live in a large city
or in the heart of the countryside, you have something to offer a
visitor. Some people include a list of nearby attractions, or

SPRING 2014 Pathfinders Travel 43
   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16