Is your big vacation still too far in the future? Don’t let that slow down your traveling spirit! Plan a last-minute weekend getaway with HomeExchange!

Looking to get into “vacation mode” but can’t quite make a long-distance trip? Don’t worry! Instead of taking a ton of time off (and spending plenty of money), why not explore some locations that are easy to reach? By taking a weekend to discover some of the destinations closer to home, it will take less time to get there and give you more time to relax. What’s not to love about that?

We know that many people think HomeExchange is only for extended trips, requiring weeks if not months of planning. That’s not always the case! In fact, thanks to our search features, you can explore all the members who are interesting in “last minute” exchanges by simply checking “last minute” in your search criteria. Want to know more? Here’s the process:

  1. Select a destination; ideally, someplace that is close enough that you can get there within an hour or so and still feel like you are “getting away.”
  2. Click the “More Filters” button to refine your search.
  3. Select “Exchange Type” and click “Last Minute” or “Weekend Exchange.”
  4. Explore, decided and message!

How easy is that?

Still in need of some inspiration? Search through our Last Minute Collection. This ready-made list is constant update and only includes members who have more flexibility or are interested in a more spontaneous exchange. Many of these listings are second homes, which means excellent versatility when it comes dates for an exchange along with the option for non-reciprocal exchanges.

If you are new to HomeExchange, using a weekend getaway as a first exchange is a fantastic way to familiarize yourself with the community. We recommend turning the “Last Minute” feature in your profile on to show that you’re also interested in hosting for this type of exchange. That way you get the full HomeExchange experience, AND your entire trip will cost you as little as a tank of gas. If you do a reciprocal exchange, you and your exchange partner will likely be crossing paths, why not take the time to meet halfway or welcome each other as you arrive/depart? There’s a good chance that your new friendship will be one of the things you’ll remember most about your exchange.

With HomeExchange it is easy to find the ideal escape without having to spend outrageous prices on last minute accommodation. We have a community of over 65,000 homes available around the world that are sure to satisfy your craving for travel.

So what are you waiting for? Store up those frequent flyer miles and discover a nearby gem. The fun and freedom of a quick getaway will leave you recharged and ready for your next exchange!

Find your next Weekend Vacation!

It isn’t unusual for members who live in some of our most popular destinations to get over 100 requests at a time. Sure, you can stand out in the crowd by utilizing personalized messages and being in a location that they want to visit, but even still, it can be a process to secure an exchange.

If you have some destination flexibility, you might want to try one of these fantastic alternatives.

Looking at New York? Try Boston


Rich with culture (and members), “Beantown” is an ideal option to explore if you can’t quite make the Big Apple happen. With over 200 members in the area, you’ll have plenty of options to explore. Go where everyone knows your name and visit Cheers, ride a “Duck” boat, or even take a side trip out to the Cape. If you have your heart set on the New York experience, there are also plenty of reasonably quick (and affordable) ways to get from Boston to NYC to help make your dreams a reality.

Explore Boston and the surrounding area now!

Searching in London? Discover Edinburgh


The banks of the river Thames calling your name but can’t quite answer the call? Give Edinburgh a chance. The city is more compact with a bit more hills, but it is easy enough to get around. Plus, with the rest of Scotland in your “backyard,” you will be hard-pressed to run out of things to do and see.

Head north and find fun in Edinburgh

Hoping for the lights of Paris? Try Brussels


While few places can compare to the “City of Lights,” it’s Belgian cousin can offer the delightful blend of cultures with almost 150 members. Dive into the food, explore the history or catch a train and take adventures to many of the lovely areas in the vicinity. Plus, who can say no to the mouth-wateringly delicious waffles, frites, and beer. Your taste buds will thank you.

Get a taste of Brussels

Going crazy looking in Los Angeles? Look at San Diego


The first thing to know when looking for an exchange in Los Angeles is that it is vast. That probably isn’t a surprise but no matter where you go, be prepared for sitting in traffic. That’s why we recommend going a little further south and checking out San Diego. With almost 300 members, this delightful city offers a host of excitement. Spend the day at the zoo and explore Balboa Park, take in the beaches or discover the thriving micro-brewery scene.

Go coastal in San Diego

The more flexible you are with your destinations, the better chance you’ll discover a whole different level of adventure. None of these options on your list? Let us know in the comments below, and we’ll offer some other travel alternatives.

We all know that many facets have to come together to make a genuinely spectacular exchange. It is all about finding the proper balance of Exchange Partners along with the comfort of feeling like you are at home while traveling. And that’s just the beginning. If there is anything that can take your exchange experience to another level it is by being the best guest you can be.

Now stick with us. Most of you are probably incredibly fantastic guests but there are certain occasions when “things” happen that can leave a host feeling a little less than satisfied. What makes a quality guest? Here are some tips to get you thinking:

Put yourself in their shoes (not literally)


To get started, take a moment and consider how you like to return home after your exchange. How does your home look? Like we say in our HomeExchange etiquette article, we recommend doing your best to leave your exchange in the same condition or cleaner than when you arrived. Some experienced exchangers even take photos of the home when they get there (particularly if they have kids) so that they can do their best to return things to the original place.

Make yourself at home (within reason)


Once you arrive at your exchange take a few moments to review the Welcome Guide or any information your Exchange Partner may have left behind. By doing this right when you arrive, you will know from the very beginning when trash pick up happens or if there are any special instructions regarding watering plants. Also, while out of the house, make a point to secure the door before leaving. While your home area might be safe and welcoming, it is always better to err on the side of caution.

Be good neighbor


While you are taking your trip, you might end up slipping into “vacation-mode.” Hey, we get it. Just make a point to remember that just because you’re on holiday doesn’t mean that everyone else around you is. By taking a few moments to introduce yourself the neighbors and letting them know that you’re staying in your Exchange Partner’s home is a not only an excellent way to get acquainted but it can also make them more interested in helping out while you are there. See, more new friends!

A little thanks can go a long way


One thing that many members of our community like to do is to leave a small gift or note to say thank you to their hosts. It could be something local from your home region, or it could be something that you enjoyed while visiting. Whatever you decide to do, at least leave a bit of a thank you note. Hearing about your experience or learning about a fun memory is an ideal thing to return to after a trip.

Before you close the door…


Just before you leave your exchange, make sure to do one last walk through. Have you emptied the trash? Did you put the keys back in the agreed upon location? What about that phone charger? It may only take 5 minutes but can save hours of headaches later.

Last but not least: Communicate, communicate, communicate


We could keep going but, in the end, it all comes down to a very straightforward thing: Talk to your Exchange Partner. Before you go, while you’re there, or before you leave, talking through expectations will help make things easier for everyone involved. Do you have a cleaning lady who comes in weekly? Great, but who will pay for that while you’re away? Should the beds be stripped before leaving or would they prefer to make them upon returning home? Should the dishwasher and laundry be washed and dried before departure or better to let the host take care of that? These are just a few questions to consider.

We know that being a “good” guest can be somewhat subjective, but sometimes even the best guests can use a little refresher. Now we turn to you, what is it that makes someone a good guest in your mind? Share in the comments below!

There is no denying that the advent of smartphones has helped to revolutionize travel. All that information is right at your fingertips waiting for you to access it. But with all the apps out there claiming to help make your adventures easier, it can be overwhelming to figure out which ones to use.

We created a long list of apps last year, and they are all still among our favorites. But there are some new ones we had to showcase:
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Looking to make your Exchange Partner more comfortable while staying at your home? One of the easiest ways is to build a Welcome Guide. Think of it as an instruction manual for your place and region.

Whether you are the one to greet your Exchange Partner or you have someone else assist, it can be overwhelming to be on the receiving end of a tour and be expected to remember everything. By getting the “How To’s” down on paper, it will make life for you (and your Exchange Partner) a lot easier. Here are a few things to consider including in your Welcome Guide:

1. A Warm (Personalized) Greeting


Taking a couple minutes to say how much you are looking forward to your exchange is a perfect way to get started. Once the exchange is confirmed and you know a little more about your Exchange Partner, you can even use this space as a place to give individualized recommendations. Are they an outdoor enthusiast? Share a few spots they can get outside. Have children? Offer directions to parks and family-friendly activities. Or include the names of some potential babysitters. Even if you don’t create a more robust guide, these notes will give insight to living like a local.

2. This remote does what?!


After a long day of exploring your area, your Exchange Partner might want to settle in and enjoy some television. Then they see your multiple remotes and have no clue what to do. By providing some written instructions (and perhaps storing those extra remotes), you can ease some of the stress. Keep it simple and explain: how to turn everything on and off, switching to the DVD/Blu-Ray, or using a streaming device. If there are any particular “quirks” that you typically work around, this is the place to share that info.

3. Make yourself comfortable


Depending on the appliances you have around your home, it can be helpful to give a brief overview of how to operate them. Dishwashers can have different settings while washer and dryers could be confusing. Providing a few steps can help transform something daunting into a comfortable routine.

4. Which way to…


When visiting your area, your Exchange Partner might get overwhelmed with options. By writing down directions to grocery stores, days for farmers’ markets, a list of your favorite restaurants and more, they will be moving around like a local in no time. It is also a nice touch to add a few menus for your favorite take-out spots, for those nights when they want to stay in and relax instead of cooking for themselves.

5. Tidying up


Before confirming your exchange, it is helpful to outline the expectations for how to leave your home. By detailing the quirks of your home can be useful. Worried about water on the wood floor? Have special cleaners for the countertops? Offering an outline can help to make everyone feel more comfortable at the end of the day.

6. A helping hand


When you’re on an exchange, the last thing you want to worry about is something happening at home. Help minimize the worry by leaving a list of names and numbers to call should the need arise. These could include a local friend who knows your home, plumber, emergency services like police, firefighters or paramedics, the hospital. If you are leaving your pet, make sure to include contact information on their vet, should the need arise. It might seem like going overboard, but the best way to ensure there isn’t a problem is to be prepared.

7. Don’t forget…


There are so many things that you can include in a Welcome Guide, and each one is as unique and individual as the home it belongs to. Take the time to think through all the aspects of your home so that there aren’t any unfortunate surprises when you return. Particular guidelines for watering plants? Share them. Did you tell what day to take out the trash? Make a note.

Back in March, we were thrilled to announce the launch of the HomeExchange App on iOS. But we also knew we were only getting to a portion of our community. With the introduction of the Android version, we have extended our reach. Now, if you have a smartphone, you can now have HomeExchange with you wherever you are.

 

Searching in the palm of your hand

The apps will by no means replace the experience of using HomeExchange on your computer it does assist in several ways. With the most recent version of the Apps, you have the ability to:

  • Log in to an existing account
  • Perform search and reverse searches
  • View the results of your search in both list and map form
  • Make use of the map to search for listings in a designated area
  • View Member listings and profiles
  • Contact other Members and access all your messages
  • View your listing and profile

 

Are there limits?

The HomeExchange development team is continually working to update and improve the experience of both HomeExchange.com and our Apps. At this time the Apps are only in English, but other languages are coming soon. Along with that, the following actions can currently not available through the App:

  • Create a new or renew an account
  • Add an additional listing to an existing account
  • Edit your listing, profile or account information
  • Send messages to multiple members at one time
  • Access or add listings to your Lists
  • Register an exchange through the messaging system.

 
If you need any additional help on using the App, our Help Section has several articles available to help make HomeExchange even more accessible.

Have you been using the App? We’d love your feedback. Send your comments and suggestions to mobile@homeexchange.com or take a moment and go to the App Store/Play Store and rate the HomeExchange App now!

For the last six months, we have loved the opportunity to watch our Community grow and flourish through the introduction of the Facebook Groups.

If you didn’t know, in September of 2017, we announced private Members-only groups for various countries around the world. We are now up to 19 groups reaching out to over 8,000 Members.

If you are already a member of the Groups? We’d appreciate your feedback.

Take our survey now!

Haven’t joined yet? Discover what you’re missing out on by becoming a part of one or more of the Facebook Groups today!

Take me to the Facebook Groups

Since 1925, there has been one stage defining, building, and inventing country music: the Grand Ole Opry. In its early years, it was a barn-dance radio show hosted for an hour by George D. Hay. Trying to bring “red hot fiddle playing” to liven up listeners’ evening, the radio program was selective and innovative as it handpicked new acts to come on the show. As it grew, the Grand Ole Opry began increasing their talent base and taping length, attracting a larger audience with a broader taste.

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