Meet Krupa and Varun, a wanderlust couple from Miami. They allow HomeExchange inquiries to decide their travel destinations for them. So far, they’ve been to Paris, St John’s, Barcelona and Buenos Aires!
Before joining HomeExchange.com, I was your typical corporate brat. I lived for work and then came home to sleep, only to wake up and do the same thing again. But after I left my job, I started my website and now we both have the luxury to work from home. This gives us the flexibility to travel.
You’ve no doubt read all of those articles about people who travel around the world for a year, but we were not trying to wanderlust for a year. We were looking to adventure to new places, all while being economical.
That’s when our friend suggested HomeExchange. We signed up, uploaded photos and TA-DAAAAA . . . our profile was live.
In the beginning (and even now), every Inquiry Message that popped up in our inbox got us a little giddy. We are like kids in a candy store when we open each one.
Where is it from?
Do you like the place?
Do you want to go?
We quickly realized how cool HomeExchange is because we get exchange offers from all over the world: Sweden, France, Spain, Croatia, South America, Mexico. You name it! I believe this is due in part to a) living in a desirable location, Miami; b) having uploaded clean and high-quality photos of our apartment; and c) a cute profile picture (even the dog made the pic).
Back to the fun stuff: our first HomeExchange. We received a request from a member with an amazing Paris apartment. I immediately started dreaming about all of the cheese and wine my hubby and I would be consuming. After we accepted, we were excited, yet nervous, since we were HomeExchange virgins.
So we Skyped our new French friends and introduced ourselves. They took us on a home tour of their place, and a lot of the nervousness went away. When we arrived in person, the apartment was exactly like the pictures: clean, modern, minimalistic and very spacious. From this base, we hit up all of the touristy landmarks Paris had to offer.
Although I could not drink my way through Paris (I found out I had a bun in the oven!), we did have a chance to make the cutest Paris-themed pregnancy announcement. You can see it here.
After Paris we decided to let our HomeExchange inquiries decide our travel destinations for us. My husband did not even confirm our next trip with me. He just said yes to the inquiry, and then said ‘Hey, by the way, we are going to St. John, USVI for 12 days.’ After he showed me the house, I realized why it was such a no-brainer. It was a four-bedroom villa on the cliffs overlooking the water… and the house came with a wine cellar. UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUM where do I sign indeed?!
We quickly discovered that St. John is the US’s best kept secret. Pristine water, amazing snorkeling and the biggest decision you have to make is which rum you want to drink. It ended up being the perfect first beach trip with our baby, and we probably would never have visited this beautiful island if it were not for the HomeExchange request.
Our next and most recent adventure landed us in Barcelona, a city with which I instantly fell in love. Seriously! I asked my husband if we could move there. We stayed in a two-bedroom apartment close to the Camp Nou. The best part of a HomeExchange (besides the fact that it’s free) is that it feels like you are exchanging with family. We naturally could not leave Barcelona without a soccer game; so our HomeExchange partner got her cousin to babysit our son while we went and enjoyed a match. You cannot find the same trust at a hotel.
While we were in Barcelona, a family from Buenos Aires asked to stay at our place; so Buenos Aires will be the next trip on the list! Allowing HomeExchange to choose our travel destinations has taken the guesswork, research and stress out of choosing where to travel. At the same time, we have visited places not on our list that we have fallen head over heels for. We go with no expectations, carry-on luggage and loose jeans, and we come back more open-minded, well fed and ready to pack our bags for the next trip.
Finally, I will leave you with a quote by Augustine: “The world is a book and those who don’t travel only read one page.” I am reading page by page when I hit the accept button on each HomeExchange request.
~ Krupa and Varun, Miami, Florida, USA