How and why to exchange in the suburbs

Major cities are indisputably great. They offer culture, a variety of food, and wonderful experiences. But sometimes, the best way to really live like a local is to leave the big city and hit the suburbs. Check out some of our favorite benefits of staying in the ‘burbs.

1. Free parking. You’ll usually find pretty good public transportation in major cities (with Los Angeles being a notorious exception), but what if you want to explore other areas? You’re much likelier to score a car exchange outside of the city, and you’ll be able to drive home at the end of the day knowing there’s a spot waiting for it.

2. Peace and quiet. The hustle and bustle of a metropolitan area certainly has its appeal, but it’s usually far from relaxing. Head to the suburbs and you might even hear the birds chirping.

3. Space to spread out. It’s well known that most of the living spaces in cities like New York and London are teeny tiny. If you’re traveling alone or with a significant other, this can add a certain kind of intimacy. But if you’re traveling with a larger group, especially one that includes children, the extra space offered by a house can be a sanity saver.

4. Green space. Big cities generally have some lovely public parks, but what about a lawn, or even a pool, of your own? Outdoor space is especially useful if you’re caring for a dog while you’re on your exchange; late night walks in the rain lose their romantic appeal when you also have to clean up after a furry companion.

5. More variety. Yes, you could spend a week exploring Los Angeles. But if you stay in Orange County instead, you’ll have easy access to LA and San Diego. If you can position yourself between more than one major destination, it’s like two vacations in one. Of course, you might find yourself so enamored by the local scenery that you never even make it to the big city.

Ready to exchange to the suburbs?

Time to widen your search radius! It’s easy using the map search feature on

Step 1: Search for your destination city. In the example here, we chose Seattle, Washington.Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 7.04.12 PM

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 7.05.33 PMStep 2: Check your settings. Make sure that “Adjust the search results as I move the map” is selected, then click “Expand Map” for a better view.

Step 3: Zoom out. Click the “-” button once or twice, and see what pops up!Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 7.06.32 PM

Have you ever exchanged in the suburbs? Tell us about it in the comments!

2 Comments on “How and why to exchange in the suburbs

  1. Some of our exchange locations that we thought were “just” suburbs were actually bona fide villages that got subsumed into the larger metro areas of some wonderful cities: Combs-la-ville (Paris), Cap-Rouge (Quebec City), and Hinterkappelen (Bern, Switzerland). So we got great two-for-one deals: friendly and peaceful village life and easy access to the cities whenever we wanted the buzz. We were the only tourists for miles and people seemed genuinely interested to meet us and help us out.

  2. I have stayed in various suburbs in Manila, Cebu, Perth, Hong Kong, Sydney and Melbourne. Each experience has allowed me to be “one of the locals,” in so far as I walked the streets and paths, used local transport, rode intercity train and trolleys to my stay place and ate and bought foods in neighborhood shops as local people do. I was able to observe how daily life evolves, and was observed as an outsider attempting to make daily life evolve for me. I have used home exchanges to do this as well. I prefer this way of travel to the sterile atmosphere of hotels and inns in the midst of city bustle. There is a joy to discovering the levels of the Sydney train station, or the rush of the Hong Kong trains to and from Lantau or the congestion and struggle of daily life on a roadway from Cavite to downtown Manila. I travel to participate in life, not to photograph and and “selfie” it. I speak with strangers who are really friends not yet met. A nice meal in a “fabulous” eatery or coffee at a Ritz may be gentile and enjoyable. That isn’t how I live “back home. ” Why live it that way away from home. My “away from home” is as much as “home” as I am able to arrange it. And I have been gifted the joy of many smiles and greetings from folks whose life I have come to love and honor.

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