Friday, August 14, 2015

2 Home Exchange, Part Two

I started my rave about house swapping in a previous post. Today, I continue with four more reasons to love it!

4. Home away from home. It's not just kids who appreciate a home-y setup. Adults need their toys, too! Anyone who has tried to cook in a vacation rental knows the challenge of cheap cookware and empty pantries. Having real kitchens has made this trip like none I've taken before. The famous markets of Paris, bursting with fresh produce and unique ingredients, are not simply a sight to see but where I do my grocery shopping. Beyond the kitchen, there are books on shelves, real furniture, and cable TV holding your new favorite shows like Fort Boyard.

5. Unexpected destinations. 99% likely we would never have seen Vrena, Sweden if it weren't for home exchange. We weren't even seeking out Sweden before we happened upon our house in a late night exploration of families looking to come to Boston in July. This place popped up and the pictures and description totally charmed us. We loved Sweden, and loved being in a tiny town waaaay off the beaten path (see Lonely Planet's info page) with an insider's travel guide. Plus, there's nothing like the reaction of locals in towns like this when they discover a tourist in their midst. The joke we began when we found ourselves washed ashore a remote Brazilian island, "Paris, Moscow, Ilha Rasa" is easily adaptable and slays every time.

6. New friends. With home exchange, you are guaranteed to forge relationships with people you would never have otherwise met. There are skype calls and emails to set up the exchange and manage logistics, but there are also welcome gifts and sharing stories about happy vacationing (hopefully!) in your home town. Sometimes you get to meet your exchanger in overlapping windows: our French family welcomed us the night before their departure, prepared a lovely dinner, and gave us a walking tour of the town, introducing us to neighbors along the way. In Sweden, a friend of the family invited us over to meet her flock. I was fascinated to learn about sheep farming, and also had a friendly audience to ask some of my burning questions about sauna culture. Tack, Paivi!

7. Pet sitting. We don't have any pets so this wasn't an issue for us, but in France we have adopted two cats along with the house. We are taking good care of Monsieur and Ponyo, and I'm pretty sure Charlie now thinks he's a cat.

More pictures from our home exchanges and related travel can be found in our Sweden and France photo albums.


  1. That cat is HUGE! Looks like everyone is still having a wonderful time. Love Jack's poses while in France!

  2. That's the small cat, Monsieur. Ponyo is a beast.


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