Sunday, October 25, 2015

Adventures in Home Exchange (part 1 of 2)

Vacations are one of best times of our lives. We go and explore places we have always dreamed about, see those breath-taking sights, savor exotic food, maybe sample some dance steps and try out those colorful costumes. At today’s prices, an average wage-earner can only dream about it. With home exchange, all that is possible.

Discovered and popularized by cash-strapped European teachers in the mid-50s, home exchange is the simple free-accommodation vacation idea where two people from different places exchange homes for a period of time. People caught up the idea right away.

Huge hotel bills simply disappeared for these people living in each other’s homes. In their borrowed homes, they cook and do their usual daily business as if they are in their own homes, when in fact they are on vacation. Travel budgets are cut more than half and the average guy enjoys his vacation like the rich guys do.

Other advantages begin to emerge, too, as this type of travel became popular through the years. Now, there are home exchange groups with their own websites who specialize in facilitating these exchanges more smoothly than before.

Where usual tourists are served with expensive hotel food (on top of their expensive accommodations), home exchangers get to cook their own favorite food in their exchanged houses. Where usual vacationers are herded along through their hectic destinations (“four cities in seven days" tour packages), the home exchanger strolls down a historic boulevard leisurely chatting with some neighbors or new friends.

There are other perks as well. Many stories were swapped as well with these house swappers, as they are called sometimes. Some were funny, some were quaint, and some were feel-good love stories. People on vacation meet all kinds of adventure but home exchangers are more susceptible.

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