Getting away for a family vacation is the perfect way to make memories. But, when you’re raising a family, especially when your kids are small, it can be difficult to afford to travel. Once you add up travel costs, accommodations, food, and fees for activities, a typical vacation can cost thousands of dollars. There’s a way that puts a vacation easily within reach: exchanging homes. With some strategic planning, you can still have a great vacation no matter what the budget. Discover how to swap homes and how it’s the perfect solution for making your vacations affordable.
The calendar is about to turn to another year. Start planning your year’s travel now and beat the crowd!
It is never too early to start thinking about New Year’s resolutions. There are the traditional ones like to exercise more or working to break a habit. Why not go a little more outside the box and put “travel more” on your list? The planning, imagining, and preparing for your next trip will offer something to look forward to and (as an added perk) it is easy to accomplish with HomeExchange.
A new year is always a busy time around the HomeExchange office. Members start to share where they were for the holidays and others contact us to explore the destinations they dream of visiting. There are also those who like detail the joys (and complications) of having the whole family under one roof for the first time in a while. In the end, if asked about our favorite time of the year, this time frame is definitely on the list.
When you sign up to HomeExchange, you expect to see some beautiful homes. Places tucked in along the coast, apartments in ideal locations, and destination with plenty of space to explore. It usually isn’t until you’ve start to search through potential Exchange Partners that you discover that there’s a little magic hiding amongst the other homes. Special places that are so unique and unusual you have to see them for yourself.
Here are a few of our current favorite discoveries from around the world.
Discover the Danish concept of Hygge and bring happiness into your home!
You may not have heard the phrase, but the concept of Hygge is having quite a moment. Although there is no direct translation of “Hygge,” the idea centers around you doing what you can to make yourself feel happier. It can be through with everyday things that bring us peace and comfort in the moment. Whether it is taking the time to listen to the rain gently fall on a winter afternoon or the feeling of holding onto a toasty cup of tea/coffee/hot chocolate on a cold day, Hygge is about savoring every minute. These simple moments of daily happiness can be introduced to your home and, when hosting an Exchange Partner, transfer the sense of joy to them.
Here are a few tricks on how you can make your home a little more Hygge.
Less is more
Simplicity is one of the keys to Hygge decor. Consider tidying things up and opting for a more streamlined aesthetic, maintaining elements that you like and make you feel happy. Forget about storing thousands of things you may never use again, instead focus on the most important elements and give your mind a little more space to breathe.
Focus on lighting
When in doubt, incorporate natural light. It is one of the main reasons you’ll find such large windows in Danish homes. Let the light in by using shades with soft colors or something that is slightly translucent. Or, fully embrace the concept and do like those in the Nordics do and forget about using curtains or blinds at all!
At night, soft lighting, such as candles, provides a cozy and inviting atmosphere that emphasizes comfort. What’s better than long conversations over delicate flickering of a collection of candles?
Embrace soft colors
Sure, it can sometimes feel a little sterile, but white is the ideal color to open up a space. If that’s too stark for you, consider going with a light gray or a beige to incorporate into your calming environment. By choosing softer colors, you also help to reflect the light and make a room feel warmer.
Utilize natural elements
Make a point bring some of Mother Nature into your home by introducing plants into a room. Flowers and greenery will bring some added happiness and contribute to your home feeling more “alive.” You might also want to incorporate some wood, a fundamental element of Hygge design, as it can give the air of being more grounded.
Harness your inner bookworm
Stories have a great way of embracing the reader, so books are a must-have. Whether on a bookshelf, on the table, or in a dedicated library, surrounding yourself with stories is a perfect way to bring the world into your home. You might even extend the offer to have your Exchange Partner bring their favorite book with them. How much fun would it be to build a whole library with titles provided purely from your various exchanges?
When the weather starts to turn, a warm atmosphere is an ideal way to inspire feelings of relaxation and comfort. You might light a fire in the fireplace, or pull out some cozy sweaters and blankets, or put on a kettle for some warm beverages. Leaving your Exchange Partners with a selection of your favorite teas or coffee is a perfect welcome gift. It’s one of those little details that shows love and can make them feel at home.
Make relaxation sanctuaries
Where you can, try to establish nooks in your home specifically for relaxation-like activities. It could be a special corner for reading, a space for meditation, or making your bathtub a haven of decompression. By creating these spaces, you can find a respite but also inspire your Exchange Partners to do the same. That perfect chair for curling up with a book? It might just call to your guest and give them a space to do the same.
We know that we said “Less is More,” but don’t forget to give your home some personality. Comfortable cushions on the sofa, photos and memories on the shelf, your favorite softly-scented candles, or an armchair that practically screams “sit here!” When coupled with a welcome message, your happy home will be the perfect destination for an Exchange Partner to feel the Hygge from the moment they open your front door.
We hope these tips help you to find the Happy in your home and, whether on an exchange or not, bring some added comfort during the end of the year.
The right pictures of your home can transform a “maybe…” into an “Oh, my gosh! We can’t wait!”
You know it when you see it, the pictures can tell you everything you need to know. For better or worse, the images you use to showcase your home can be the difference between someone reaching out and someone opting to contact another person for an exchange. We pulled together a few tips and tricks to help you show your home in the best way possible.
Think before you click
Before you even think about taking photos, take a few moments to plan out what you might like to feature. Consider what it is that you most like to see when searching for a potential exchange. The top “must have” images: bedrooms, kitchen, living area, and bathroom. If you have laundry, are offering the use of your car, or have other unique features, make sure to include them as well. That spectacular view? A gorgeous garden? An impressive record or book collection? Those photos all help shape your profile. You might also want to share some images of local attractions, just make sure they don’t overwhelm the number of photos of your home.
It can be hard to believe but the holiday season is right around the corner. Do you have your year-end exchanges planned yet? Don’t wait for 2019 to have an incredible holiday, here are a few destinations that might inspire you to get planning now.
Australia & New Zealand
Be among the first to celebrate the new year and head “down under.” Whether you opt for the excitement of Sydney, the beauty of Auckland, or want to countdown before exploring the Golden Coast, a trip to Australia offers something for everyone. Pack your swimsuit and head to the beach, take a drive into the bush, or go on a sipping tour and explore the favors of the local wineries. You may not experience a “White Christmas,” but it is sure to be a trip you won’t forget.
The nights are drawing in, there’s a chill in the air, and your winter woollies are being dug out in preparation for the weather ahead! While some of us may love this season, others wish they could extend the summer temperatures we enjoyed this year!
October half term is almost upon us, which means we have another opportunity for a getaway! Yes, it may be last minute, but isn’t the excitement of being spontaneous so tempting?
Whether you want to wrap up here in the UK, or you prefer taking a week the sun, let us entice you with some potentially available homes.
Have you already started planning your next vacation? Whether you just returned or you are one of the many people out there who are waiting for an upcoming holiday (long or short) to plan that trip that takes you out of your routine.
Wherever you’re at in your calendar (or in the world), we are all only a few months from being launched into the holiday haze. That means seasonal decorations, holiday activities and markets, and all sorts of other festive things. It’s the perfect time to get out there and enjoy it!
Whatever your plans are, we want to help you prepare to make the most of your next vacation.