To live in another city or a different country is a dream to many. It offers the opportunity to experience another culture or to explore in ways that a shorter trip doesn’t allow. For most, that fantasy will stay in their imagination but, for HomeExchangers, it can become a reality. Here’s our look at how you can “go long” with HomeExchange.

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Imagine you were sitting down having dinner when you heard someone knocking on the door. You get up to see who it is and before you open it an inch, a voice says “Hi, would you Exchange homes with me next month?” It would be pretty disconcerting.

While that’s an extreme example, in a lot of ways, that is how some exchange requests can come across. They are short and not at all sweet. It is not surprising that these types of Inquiries can result in less than satisfactory results for those who are actively looking for an exchange. When it takes, on average, more than seven requests before finding an interested Exchange Partner, we understand the desire to send out more general mass messages.

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When looking for an exchange, what do you look at on a Listing first? For some, it may be the headline. For others, it might be all about the photos. Or maybe it’s the description of the neighborhood that catches your eye. Whatever it is, you could think of your Profile is like a HomeExchange welcome mat. It sets the stage for a potential exchange and gives someone a taste of what your home has to offer.

Now think of your Profile. What is the first impression it makes? Take a step back and look at it as though you are your future Exchange Partner. Is there something you are missing? When it comes to your HomeExchange Profile, a small adjustment can go a long way. Don’t fall into the “set it and forget it” trap. Here are a few “housekeeping” items that can make your home even more exchangeable.

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We get it; time is a limited commodity. The clock keeps ticking and all of a sudden that last Exchange feels like it was forever ago. That might be because it was. Project: Time Off (an organization devoted to documenting the number of vacation days taken in the United States) has found that a staggering number of people are opting out of holidays…and it’s bad for employers and employees alike! Don’t let yourself be one of those overworked folks who add one more thing to their to-do list. Here are our tips to break out of your routine and take a long weekend to get away.

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One of the questions we tend to hear the most through our Happiness Support Team and Member-only Facebook Groups (if you haven’t joined any, now’s your chance!), it is regarding the concept of Balloons. The HomeExchange team came together to create a guide to give you added clarity about this exciting exchange option.

The Basics:

As with most things, it is best to start at the beginning. HomeExchange offers three main types of Exchanges: Reciprocal, Non-Reciprocal & Hospitality.

    • Reciprocal – you and your Exchange Partner swap homes either simultaneously or at different times.
    • Non-Reciprocal – you either host or stay with an Exchange Partner without that Member hosting or staying with you. A Balloon Exchange would fall under this category of exchange.
    • Hospitality – you stay at the home of your Exchange Partner while they are still there. In a lot of ways, you are almost a part of the Member’s family. They introduce you to their lifestyle, their friends and can act as your local tour guide!

A Balloon for a Stay

What IS a Balloon Exchange?

As we said above, a Balloon Exchange would be considered a type of Non-Reciprocal Exchange. If you’re a Member of HomeExchange, you are included in innovative program as a part of your membership. Here’s how it works:

First, you host a Member who holds a Balloon. This can be either as a Hospitality Exchange (they stay with you while you are still at home) or a Non-Reciprocal Exchange (they stay at your home without you). Once the Exchange has been registered, their Balloon transfers over to you. You are now a proud holder of a Balloon! You can then use the Balloon to explore the world and stay, in the same way, at another Member’s home, helping to continue the HomeExchange cycle. All know that, with a Balloon Exchange, the duration of the exchange and size of home are all treated equally. One Balloon is equal to one Exchange.

It is important to note that you are not able to request a Balloon Exchange unless you already hold a Balloon. The best way to get a Balloon is through the process we described – by hosting a Member with a Balloon. If you are not able to earn a Balloon in your first year of membership, HomeExchange will grant you a Balloon for your first paid renewal.

Use a Balloon Exchange and travel the world

How do I arrange a Balloon Exchange?

The process of setting up a Balloon Exchange is essentially the same as that of arranging any exchange. You confirm that you have a Balloon to offer. You do this by clicking on “Dashboard” from the “Your Account” menu on HomeExchange. You will see a graphic at the top of the Dashboard letting you know how many Balloons you hold and how many you have used. Once you know that you have a Balloon, you make an offer.

If you already know who you’d like to contact, click “Get in Touch” and check the “Balloon Exchange” option in the Exchange Request form. From there, you arrange the Exchange as you would any other. You communicate with the potential Exchange Partner and sort out all the dates and information. Once that is complete, make sure to record the Exchange through the site. All Exchanges must be officially registered prior to the actual Exchange for Balloons to transfer.

To earn a Balloon, you can offer to host another Member. The process is similar to requesting an Exchange. As you Search, you will see that some Members have a Balloon icon in the upper left corner of their Listing or Profile photos. Spotting this is your cue that they hold a Balloon. If you find someone you’re interested in hosting you can “Get in Touch” and offer to Host Member (Earn a Balloon). From there, the process continues as before. Please be considerate when making requests. Take a look at the Member’s Preferred Destinations and be conscious of the number of travelers in their party. If your home is not child friendly, it is probably best to save your request for Members who don’t have children.

We know that the concept Balloon Exchanges is still relatively new to the HomeExchange community. That is why we have expanded our Help Section to better answer many of the frequently asked questions relating to all things Balloon.

Visit our Help Section

As always, we love your feedback. Feel free to ask a question or leave a comment below.

There comes a moment in a HomeExchanger’s life when they receive a most delightful surprise. It is when an Exchange Request goes beyond the expected and transforms into the extraordinary. It happens daily, and all you have to do is check your Inbox.

With over 65,000 listings worldwide, HomeExchange offers a wide variety of homes. From delightful apartments in the heart of Portland to the rolling hills of Tuscany or ocean-side houses in Bali. And, within our expansive collection, are Member’s homes that make you gasp in anticipation. Places so beautiful that you have trouble believing they would want to exchange homes with you. But they do! That’s the magic of HomeExchange.

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With a global audience of over 800 million users, Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms. Sure, it is a great place to post photos, but it can also be an excellent tool for discovering what to see and do while on an Exchange. A little while ago, the company released their list of the ten cities that were Most Instagrammed. Dive into the list, and you might just start picturing yourself visiting one of these fantastic destinations.

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Here’s the top 10 homes based on the most views by our users in 2017!

10. Donegal

Donegal is one of the hidden gems in Ireland and this stunning country family retreat is located perfectly to begin exploring. This bright architect designed family home is surrounded by many beautiful walks through the scenic Donegal countryside. Within 20 minutes you will arrive at stunning beaches.

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