Q: I don’t want to board my pets at a kennel. Will my exchange partner take care of them
Pet exchange, like car exchange, is an option you are able to select when searching for your next swap. While it’s likely that you’ll find it easier to swap with a fellow pet owner, it’s always possible that another member without a furry friend at home would love to take care of yours (or be happy for you to bring your pal along for the adventure). HomeExchange.com members care for each other’s dogs, cats, hamsters, even chickens! Here are some tips for setting up shop before you leave your pet in the hands of your exchange partner:
Did you know that HomeExchange.com is a totally virtual company? Our team gathers once a year to learn, brainstorm, share ideas, and have some fun. We just returned from our annual meeting in beautiful Mont-Tremblant, Canada, and we couldn’t be more excited about the year ahead.
Guest post by Angela Baldwin of DesksNear.Me
From private offices to creative spaces, know where to go if a work emergency comes up.
Exchanging homes has become easier than ever because of HomeExchange.com. But outside of where you’re staying when you’re traveling, many people run into problems when a work emergency comes up. Where do you go? How do you get proper wifi to send important documents? Or what if you learn you can’t take time off even though your vacation has been planned well in advance?
Whatever reason it is, it’s clear you need to have a plan for work emergencies while traveling that will make you feel safe, secure and productive without losing the beauty of your travel experience.
Whether it’s a last minute assignment and you need a quiet office or if you’re traveling for a long period of time in a vacation/business trip, here are a few ways to make it easier than it’s ever been.
1. Book a desk at an office nearby to handle a few hours of business while you’re in a new place. Check out these spaces in London or in New York. To think anyone can get work done from a crowded coffee shop is a fallacy. Sometimes, you just need a quiet desk. Need to sign a document? Use tools like Docusign to sign and send documents electronically.
2. Live in a new part of the world for the entire summer and have a place to go. Here are some long term spaces in Italy and Spain. Experience life as a local in all forms-your home and your office. Get your team on Flowdock to communicate while remote.
3. Meet locals by working side by side with at a coworking space. Want to make the most of a family trip? Find out where to eat, where to go or what pub to go to for happy hour by working from a coworking space and make new friends. Use Skype or GoToMeeting if you absolutely need to communicate with your colleagues back home.
4. Manage your time. Traveling with your children can be one of the most memorable experiences but sometimes you need to handle your business needs from afar. Spend your mornings in your remote office and be ready to play by lunchtime. Use toggl to manage your time and keep your commitments to your family!
5. Get as much work done in advance.Your family deserves your undivided attention. Traveling for work is never the same as traveling for fun, your mind is consumed and you can’t enjoy the small joys of your trip. Whatever you can do to get your work done in advance or while your family is sleeping, do it. Life is way too short. Use tools like Zirtual to pass off simple assignments or scheduling for a small cost.
From private offices to creative spaces, you need to know where you can set up your laptop and get your work done when an emergency comes up. Visit DesksNear.Me to find a space near you. DesksNear.Me is powered by Near Me, a technology platform enabling brands and entrepreneurs to create peer-to-peer marketplaces all over the world.
About the Author
Angela is the social media strategist for Near Me, a technology platform enabling brands and entrepreneurs to create peer-to-peer marketplaces. She is also the community manager for DesksNear.Me
HomeExchange.com team members and Montréalais Paul and Jean-Jacques are giving us the inside scoop on the best fun and free things to do in Montreal.
1. Visit the Museum of Fine Arts
The Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal offers free admission for the majority of its collections at all times. The only paid exhibitions are temporary collections. MBAM also offers regular tours, film screenings, seminars, and conferences, always free.
2. Admire the Botanical Garden
The Montreal Botanical Garden opens its doors for free every evening from 6PM until sunset all summer long.
3. Dive into the pool
Enjoy the city’s free public swimming pools all year round; in the winter, they’re converted to ice rinks!
4. Observe Feux Loto-Québec
The International des Feux Loto-Québec is an international fireworks competition, and one of the largest festivals in the world in its category. It takes place every year between June and September. There are some strategic locations on the island of Montreal that will allow you to observe the lights in all their glory, without paying a cent. Enjoy it!
5. The Free Jazz Festival and Francofolies shows
Towards the end of June and beginning of July, the Jazz Festival of Montreal welcomes more than 3,000 artists from 30 countries and nearly 2 million festivalgoers. 1,000 concerts are presented, most of which are free and take place on 10 outdoor stages.
6. Dance to the Tam-tams du Mont-Royal
Every Sunday in the summer, go to Parc du Mont-Royal to dance to the Tam-Tams’ rhythm, or bring your beach towel and enjoy the beautiful weather in a bohemian and festive atmosphere.
7. Catch some sun at La Plage de l’Horloge
La Plage de l’Horloge in the Old Port of Montreal is now free! Go get a tan with friends under the beautiful blue umbrellas of this new urban beach. The beach is open every day of the summer (until September 2nd), from 11AM until 7:30PM.
8. Visit the Cinematheque Quebecoise
The Cinematheque is not just a movie theatre, but also a museum that presents different collections. Museum admission is free at the Cinematheque at all times.
9. See the Boules Roses
If you’re wondering what to do in Montreal on a beautiful summer afternoon, try a walk on Ste-Catherine, in the Village, between St-Hubert and Papineau. The street is closed to vehicular traffic and reserved for pedestrians, so you can enjoy the shops and bars of the area while walking under a sky of more than 200,000 pink balls.
10. Browse the Jean-Talon Market
Stroll to the Jean-Talon market, one of the largest public markets in the city. You will love the experience, especially all the food treasures (not expensive at all) you will taste! Take a few minutes to sit and enjoy some good pancakes or some good cheese from Quebec. Even if you do not buy anything, a promenade along the MJT is always a wonderful free thing to do.
We asked our Hungarian representative, Éva, to give us the inside scoop on her home country. This is Hungary: Unlocked!
How to say hello
How to say goodbye
How to say thank you
Forint ( 1 Euro = 305 HUF)
Favorite national foods
Start your adventure in the Big Food Hall with a lángos (fresh, deep fried flat bread), then try a stew (pork/chicken/beef/fish) made with red paprika powder. (Did you know that goulash, a popular stew in many countries, was originally a soup?) Enjoy with some wine from any of the five big vineyards of the country.
Finish your meal with a piece of Dobos torte, a sponge cake with five layers and caramel topping and a glass of the world famous Tokaj white dessert wine.
Best months to visit
Every month is a great month to visit Hungary! Here are some highlights:
- Wagner Festival in the beautiful Palace of Arts
- The 35 year-old Budapest Spring Festival with its unique series of cultural events
- Visit Balaton, the biggest lake in Central Europe. With its warm, shallow, and clean water, it’s a paradise for sailors, swimmers, and especially for families with kids.
- Sziget Festival, a week-long music festival.
- Celebrate Constitution Day (August 20th) with the locals and enjoy a spectacular 30-minute firework display over the Danube.
- Visit Hortobágy National Park for its rare plants.
- In the southern city of Pécs, Hungary’s 5th largest city, you can visit the source of the colored tiles that adorn many of the art nouveau buildings in Budapest, then do some winery hopping.
- Autumn is the best time for visiting one of Hungary’s many, many museums; you will always find an exciting exhibition.
- Watch and learn the basics of some Hungarian folk dances at one of the many dance houses.
- Discover the fascinating art nouveau buildings of Budapest.
- Have you ever had a bath in a cave spa? If not, then visit Miskolctapolca!
The best way to get around
Between cities you would want to use trains or a car. In Budapest you can use the public transport system, one of the most reliable services in Europe. You can also enjoy walking or cycling to many locations.
Hungarians shake hands when they meet someone for the first time. If they are seeing someone whom they’ve already met, which might for some people include contact via email and/or Skype (for example planning a Home Exchange visit), they often kiss each other on both cheeks.
Hungarians are very hospitable and like indulging their guests and friends. Do not be surprised when entering a household if you are offered (and feel obliged to drink) a small glass of Pálinka (fruit brandy) or Unicum (a bitter tasting aperitif made of 40 herbs) even before a meal. Unless you are a serious teetotaler, take this as a gesture of hospitality – it will help your digestion, too!
A novel to read or a film to watch to learn more about Hungary
A film about our 20th century history called Sunshine, directed by István Szabó, depicts Hungary from generation to generation leading up to 1989.
Local websites for discounts in restaurants, theatre, cinema, etc.
The Budapest Card offers discounts on attractions, public transportation, tours, museums, and baths.
The best kept secret about Hungary
Hungary is a great place for water lovers of all kinds! Besides spas, Hungary has many opportunities for enjoying natural water adventures: Lake Balaton, the Danube River, Lake Fertő, and the Tisza River just to name a few. Most natural waters are warm enough to swim in from the end of May to September thanks to the warm summer climate. All towns on rivers and lakes will have a local rent-a-boat shop that offers dinghy boats, water-bicycles, or even small sport sailboats. You can even explore downtown Budapest on a rented canoe.
The most unique thing about Hungary
There are over 1,000 natural wells in Hungary providing thermal water of over 30°C (86°F) and about 150 hot water medical baths. You can swim in Héviz Lake with water lilies around you or play a game of chess in a open pool at Széchenyi Bath while snow falls around you and the waters cure your ills.
If it is a Friday or a Saturday, on your way back you can stop by a Turkish bath called Rudas that’s open from 10PM to 4AM.
Common misconceptions about Hungary
Many people think that Hungary is a flat country. In fact we have wonderful forests and hills to hike, and all are very well marked. You can walk the entire length of the country on the National Blue Trail, and you can get local hiking maps for any area you visit.
Hungary’s best free activities
Margaret Island in Budapest is a great place to do all kinds of leisure activities. Besides walking around under beautiful trees, medieval ruins, and gardens, you can jog around the island or take a swim in an open-air pool or have a picnic in the island park in the heart of the city. For families, there is a water park with different sized pools, a small zoo, a musical water fountain, and the whole family can rent a bringo (a four-wheel bicycle).
Odds and ends
Hungarians are very good hosts and although our language is difficult, it is quite easy to be a tourist here; a lot of people speak at least a little bit of German or English!