Rewarding travel experiences may not be as far off as you think
Sometimes, you don’t have to travel far to find the most rewarding trips. Check out what these actual HomeExchangers have to say about finding unusually meaningful travel experiences without travel to the other side of the globe….
In the summer my family did a weekend swap to Copenhagen, in order to attend a wedding. Since my 3 kids are teenagers, we would have had to book at least 3 hotel rooms (their grandfather was joining us), which would have been too expensive. It was very easy to find an exchange partner through a reverse search since there were several families in Copenhagen who wanted to take a short trip to Oslo. We needed to stay in the hip neighborhood of Vesterbro where the wedding was. Our hosts kindly left a bottle of wine, chocolate and good coffee for us, and recommended a nice restaurant down the street. We loved staying in their spacious and centrally located apartment. Everyone was happy; they reported they loved staying in our island house and swimming at the beach.
We have done 4 home exchanges, some during holidays (Basque Country and French Brittany) and others during weekends (Barcelona and Madrid). We exchange our second home, located in Cambrils. The best thing about exchanging our second home is the flexibility of the dates. For instance, the exchange with Madrid was for a long weekend where I had to attend a business event. We were able to go there during that specific weekend and our exchange partners preferred to come to our home later, during Easter.
We enjoyed exchanging with Mick and Jennie’s house in Sedona Arizona so much that we’ve done it twice and are hoping for a third. I love to hike right from the front door along a gorgeous trail with amazing views, then come back for lunch on the deck in the shadow of Cathedral Rock. The house itself is unique, luxurious and cozy. Jennie and Mick couldn’t be more helpful and accommodating. Thank you again!!
Imagine a black old wooden cottage in the Valais in Switzerland, at the foot of tourist trails, so ideal in summer for hiking… and a handful of friends! Beautiful landscapes of forests and lakes with options for both easy and experienced hiking. And then come back to the chalet with a huge jacuzzi and a bottle of white Valais wine on the terrace at sunset. I know this is not the view of a serious hiker carrying his tent on his back, but what a joy to get to a comfortable home in the evening with some local products you bought at the local market! I remember an exchange in St Brieuc, France, where a couple had left us particularly welcoming photocopies in A3 size with colored maps of the GR 34 hiking route. Anyone who has ever tried to fold a map on the windy top of a cliff in Brittany will understand what a luxury that was!
How lucky Australia and New Zealand are to be so close to each other; just a flight away. And there’s no language barrier, except both our cute accents! Our first home exchange to New Zealand was a comfortable, relaxed beach front home in Omaha Bay, just over an hour’s drive from Auckland. While we took in the fresh air and beach walks, our exchange partners explored city life to the fullest in Melbourne. I know we’ll be back because it’s so easy to reach from Australia and the experience is so richly rewarding.
Since moving from New Zealand to Prague, Czech Republic in August 2012 we have enjoyed many adventures. We make our travels for five affordable and enjoyable by home exchanging. Our home exchange in Montreux was fantastic! The apartment had spectacular views of Lake Geneva and Chateau de Chillon. There was a lovely garden and private play park for the little kids to play. We had some lunch and spent the afternoon exploring the lakefront. With the sun shining and the beautiful surrounding we walked about 6 km past the castle and into the next village. We stopped several times along the way to play in the parks, drink from the fountains and skim stones in the lake. We had a great time enjoying a beautiful spring day in Switzerland.