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Many big world capitals are magnets for LGBT travelers who know they will be welcomed and have lots to do. But the LGBT travel treasure chest also contains some smaller gems!

While the acronym ‘LGBT’ is relatively new, lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender travel is not. Historically, these travelers have gravitated to LGBT-friendly havens like San Francisco, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin and, of course, New York City.

But there are smaller cities, too, that claim vibrant alternative communities. Orlando, Florida, is one that’s attracted a strong LGBT base of vacationers and residents alike. The recent mass-killing of 49 people there at an LGBT nightclub has, if anything, reinforced the dynamism and unity of the community. Forging ahead despite tragedy, perhaps Orlando can become a beacon of social harmony – and a wonderful place to ‘live like an LGBT local’!

Here are some other cities that put out the rainbow welcome mat. Also check out HomeExchange’s amazing collection of more than 6,500 Listings for LGBT adventurers.

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Whether your intention is to soak away your cares or sail into the sunset, there’s a pool, ocean or lake somewhere near a HomeExchange house where you can do it!

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“The Mermaid Pools (of Matapouri Bay) in New Zealand were well worth the incredibly steep clamber up a vertical hill and down the other side to the sea. From above, they looked almost too good to be true, with the contrast of the crystal-clear, calm, blue-green of the pools against the roiling sea just beyond the rocks. The pools are only safe at low tide; too many people have been injured by waves crashing over the rocks and beating them against the side of the pool as the tide comes in. Amazing to have swum in them though.” Read more.
Elspeth, UK

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The next couple of years will be big for national parks in North America – both the U.S. and Canada – marked by celebrations and, even better, free access!

On August 25, 2016, the U.S. National Park Service turns 100 and a number of initiatives have been launched, both to mark a century of nature stewardship and to anticipate what will be needed for the next 100 years. In Canada, where the confederation fetes its 150th birthday in 2017, admission to all national parks will be free that year.

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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