Meet Lisa, from Colorado USA, who is currently at the Rio Olympics on a home exchange. Surely, planning a trip to Brazil to attend the Rio Olympics was downright daunting, right? “Not if you’re with HomeExchange,” she says. Planning a trip to any foreign place can present many challenges. This is especially true when trying to attend a major sporting or cultural event. As it turned out, my accommodations were the easiest thing about this trip, which made everything else easier!

HomeExchange.com member Francesca has stayed in exchange homes for some of the world’s biggest festivals. We asked her to share some of what she’s learned along the way! How many exchanges have you done? Ten! Valencia for Fallas, Guadalupe, Lima, Buenos Aires twice, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador De Bahia for Carnival, Bail, and twice to Paris.   What’s something that surprised you about the Carnival in Brazil? I traveled to Carnival in February of this year and learned that the celebration is different from town to town! Salvador is…

In celebration of the World Cup, we asked travel blogger (and frequent Rio visitor) Elsa Bastos about her favorite free things to do in Rio de Janeiro. Here’s what she recommends in Brazil’s Cidade Maravilhosa! 1. Swim at Arpoador Beach This gorgeous beach located between Copacabana and Ipanema has fewer waves than most of the city’s beaches, making it easier to swim. This is also a famous scenic spot to watch the sunset; people even clap their hands when the sun goes down. 2. Watch a samba rehearsal…

The 2014 Winter Olympics have come to a close, and we’re bidding them farewell with a recap of Sochi…by the numbers! 33 Russian medals Flickr: U.S. Army IMCOM / Creative Commons   28 American medals Flickr: U.S. Army IMCOM / Creative Commons   26 Norwegian medals Flickr: Andy Miah / Creative Commons   25 Canadian medals Flickr: Andy Miah / Creative Commons   12 New competitions held, including team figure skating, women’s ski jumping, and snowboard slopestyle. Flickr: DennyMont / Creative Commons   88 Nations participated Flickr: Atos International / Creative Commons   40,000 Spectators at the opening ceremony Flickr: KOREA.NET – Official page of the Republic of…