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Last-minute vacations sound scary, but they don’t have to be! HomeExchange can help quickly convert spontaneous ideas into exciting getaways.

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We checked HomeExchange’s “last-minute exchange” box and it worked! We received two exchange requests from Paris, including one for only three days later, which we declined. We’re always looking for weekends in Paris though because grandma lives there. And the apartment we chose in Paris was located right on the bus route that passes by her home — very convenient for us and impossible to refuse! We had to move fast to prepare our home and the children were very helpful. We stayed up late for two nights in order to organize everything! The only sour note was that our garden went “untamed,” since we had no time to mow it. Despite this, the Parisians were delighted by it. They ate outside and even had some barbecues! Meanwhile, we spent a longer weekend than usual with grandma! When we returned home, our house was impeccable.

Isabelle, France
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What young princesses and princes haven’t imagined living in the mysterious world of castles and crowns?

Here are nine magical palaces in Spain and Portugal where a home exchange in the vicinity can lead to a royal adventure!

SPAIN

Castillo de Cardona (Barcelona, Catalonia)

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Crows wheel above the restored stone ramparts of this hilltop fortress that guards against invading hordes (but guests are totally welcome!). Dwellers in the valley below seem to agree that building Cardona Castle in 886 AD was one of Wilfred the Hairy’s best ideas. Today, it is considered an important symbol of Catalan nationalism.

The keys to this kingdom are within grasp with our 950+ Listings in Barcelona!

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“The first thing I do when I arrive at a new exchange home: Visit the house and the neighborhood. Then I find a market and do the food shopping so that I feel at home.” Mirey, Istanbul, Turkey

Market shopping – having the time to peruse and appreciate local goods – is one of the great charms of staying in an exchange home. Here is a handful of the world’s revered markets most beloved by HomeExchange Members.

Portobello Road Market, London, England, United Kingdom

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One of London’s most renowned markets, this bustling bastion of buying specializes in second-hand clothes and antiques. This Notting Hill market offers many products and benefits by being in a trendy neighborhood rife with pubs and boutiques. Every August, the Portobello Film Festival is held here, too – so now you know where to buy your vintage movie-going outfit!

Visit more markets with our 650+ Listings in London!

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Meet Steve, a 32 year old man from Zagreb, Croatia. He has recently started his world tour by bike and here is how you as HomeExchange Members can help his dream come true …

Following a Dream

Steve is currently following his dream to do something big, to have life stories for his grandchildren and to be proud of who he is and what he has done. The sky is the limit if you believe in yourself, is the motto of this young man, owner of a pizza store. Read More

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During major events held in large urban centers – or, really, at any time of year – sometimes taking accommodation in neighboring communities promises greater options, peace of mind, freedom of choice and fair pricing.

For some people, there’s powerful appeal to being in the thick of things – such as living a few steps from an Olympic Village at the height of the games, or finding a bed that’s an easy walk from the main stage of an annual festival. For other people, however, such hubbub has serious disadvantages. The noise and crowds can be relentless, the nonstop competition for restaurant reservations can be tiresome, and the price gouging can dent one’s faith in humanity.

A strong consideration for the latter set, but also a sincere recommendation to the former, is the value of setting up shop in a location convenient to the center of activity – accessible via direct line on mass transit, for example – but far enough from the hustle and bustle to promise greater options, peace of mind, freedom of choice and fair pricing.

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Smiles with Gigi in Chile

A Hospitality Exchange is when members host each other in their homes as house guests. Hospitality exchanges can offer more flexibility and this form of exchange has a variety of benefits, language immersion, local-knowledge rich tour guides, and sometimes perfectly matched playmates.

We have asked some of the HomeExchange.com Members who are open to do Hospitality Exchanges to tell us about it. Here’s what they told us… Read More

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By Louise Nevin

With two lively young boys of eight and six, plus a baby, who was now crawling, the thought of booking a family room in a hotel for our summer holiday conjured up images of chaos, overcrowding and sleepless nights for all – not to mention the enormous bill at the end of it. Should we try a home exchange? my husband suggested. I was apprehensive, but the principle seemed to make sense and so with some trepidation we listed our London home and waited to see what would happen. Read More

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Free time? For many people it’s a foreign concept. From the moment the alarm goes off until night folds us into exhausted sleep, there’s a seemingly limitless supply of emails, family, friends and activities vying for attention. The calendar dates marked “vacation” march ever closer, but there never seems to be time to plan anything. When it’s just a few days away, do you sigh, renounce your holiday and stay put? No!

HomeExchange connects thousands of users just like you searching for the perfect Last-Minute Exchange. There are plenty of listings from existing HomeExchange members, but as our community is constantly growing, there are also always options shared by our newest members, all keen to get in on the exchange action. So if you need some ideas on how to seize the dream of travel, meet some of our newest members (arranged alphabetically by country).

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