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By Hollee Thornton

Whenever I travel to a new town, I look for two types of activities: (1) big attractions (they’re big for a reason!) and (2) unique things and places to go that the only locals know. I also look for affordable ways to do them!

During a recent home exchange in San Diego, I happily achieved my goal, thanks to local hosts who recommended the best places to eat, visit and experience (plus the best deals). So here’s…

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My top 13 things to do in San Diego. (I was shooting for 10, but there are just too many great things to do!)

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The popular image of 20-something back-packers traveling the world on pocket change and wanderlust alone has given way to a new reality: older or retired travelers with freedom, and disposable income, who have decided it’s time to boldly live their dreams. Meet Tony, an experienced exchanger from Blackburn, England. He shares his testimonial and approach to Home Exchange.

Why Home Exchange

Having retired in 2007 my wife and I decided that we were going to travel. Not SKI (Spending the Kids Inheritance) but fritter it away. We had met a lovely couple in Tucson who had told us about HomeExchange and decided this was for us. A sure way to travel further, for longer, for less. Read More

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By Geraldine Smythe of kidsguide.ie

…It’s that moment when you’ve finally booked your home exchange and tickets for your family holiday to Ireland but suddenly realise: “UHOH! What will the kids do if it rains a lot and they start really missing home?!”

Fear not! When we recently moved back to Dublin from the US and realised we still had 4 full weeks to entertain our only child before school started up, I was in the same boat! So, I was all too delighted when HomeExchange.com asked me to share a few tips for the best things to do on holidays in Ireland this summer to keep boredom at bay and create great memories for you and your kids for life! Read More

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From submerged medieval ghost towns to frenzied hammerhead sharks and even manta ray night dives, we’ve picked 10 great spots that will have you reaching for your passport… and your flippers.

Tired of sunbathing beach throngs everywhere there’s ocean? Maybe it’s time to go deeper into the situation. Literally. Why not dive into the underwater world? Breathe deeply as you travel through a mesmerizing deep that’s brimming with fascinating residents. With HomeExchange, the reef could be just minutes away!

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

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Photo Credit: Flickr

Want to swim along the world’s only living structure that can be seen from space — a mass of 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands that compose the planet’s largest and, despite setbacks, healthiest coral reef? After a day of diving in the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef, head inland for the natural cacophony of the rainforest or the vitamin B (beer) and entertainment of Cairns.

Meet your underwater neighbors from our Listings near the Great Barrier Reef.

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Spectacular beaches, breathtaking landscapes, dazzling white villages, scrumptious gastronomy and delectable wines... Cadiz is a region of enormous contrasts with a wealth of sights, sounds, tastes, adventures and sunsets to savor. The HomeExchange Team reunites this summer in Cadiz, and we’ve asked our Spanish team to put together 10 free (and fun) things to do there. Enjoy!

 

Learn that we are not in Cadiz, but in “Cai”

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photo by Anna & Michal

In the South of Spain it is common that the spoken language loses the last letters of each word. Cadiz is no exception for this, so the locals in Cadiz call their city “cai” (no “D”and no “Z”)  —  note that’s only for the pronunciation.

People in Cadiz have their own dialect which include words that are only mentioned in the region. They’ll call you “quillo” or “pisha” if you are a man; and “quilla” or “shosho” if you are a woman. And when they do, they’ll do it from the bottom of their hearts. In their own words, they are welcoming you and making you one of the local gang! Read More

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By Hollee Thornton

About a year ago my youngest brother (and the baby of the family) got married. It had been 10 years since the last family wedding and it was a great excuse for my family to gather from all parts of the globe and head to San Diego for an epic wedding weekend.

While I am originally from the States, I live in Luzern Switzerland. I knew that if I was flying half way around the world I did not want to stay for just a weekend. Read More

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We’re in the thick of cycling season, particularly in Europe, which is arguably the greatest hub for fans of two-wheeling. Lycra-clad athletes are out in full colorful splendor on almost every paved roadway (and plenty of unpaved backroads too), pitting themselves against the relentlessness of gravity and mercilessness of the elements.

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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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