My First Exchange – Beth

Welcome to My First Exchange, a new series about first time Home Exchangers! First up: Beth from costal Maine.

The Basics

Where you traveled to: Back to back exchanges for 6 weeks in Frigiliana, Spain and Copenhagen, Denmark

The travelers: 2 adults, 3 children (ages 7, 5 and 3)

About Your First Exchange

How long were you a member before setting up your first exchange? 
We joined in the spring of 2012. We started fielding inquires right away and set up our exchanges in August/September 2012 for the following summer (2013).
Enjoying Tivoli Garden

Enjoying Tivoli Garden

What made you decide to try home exchange?
We actually had a bunch of frequent flier miles and I just couldn’t stand to use them for a short trip of a week or two. I wanted something with more of a punch; something we could make into a bigger adventure. I read an article somewhere last year about home exchange and thought to myself: that’s a perfect idea for our family! I was so impressed with how quickly we were able to put things into action after joining.
What were you the most nervous about going into your first exchange?
It was interesting listening to my friends share their nervousness about our exchange – they all had the typical questions: “Where will you put away your valuables? You’re really letting strangers stay in your house?.” Personally, I really wasn’t nervous at all and I think that was due to the fact that the communication between our exchange families was thorough and organized. We really felt like we got to know them before we left for their home. We even Skyped a few times before our trip and that really helped us all feel at ease and like we knew each other.
Meeting our Copenhagen exchange family

Meeting our Copenhagen exchange family

What’s one thing that surprised you about your home exchange experience?
I was pleasantly surprised by how vested we all were in each other having an incredible experience. We all put so much effort into ensuring the other’s good time; we essentially created mini-guidebooks for one another. We checked in on each other while we were in one another’s homes and we all informed the neighbors about our plans. As a result we all had an incredible time, became friends with locals (and each other), and can’t say enough great things.
BBQ with our Danish neighbors

BBQ with our Danish neighbors

What advice do you have for other members about to go on their first exchange? 
Go for it! It’s an incredible way to travel. The benefits of living in a home were incredible – convenience, comfort, greater cultural insight than staying in a hotel, more likelihood of meeting friendly locals (because they are curious about you too!), more affordable option than a hotel, etc. made going away to Europe for 6 weeks a very attainable goal for our family. We wouldn’t have changed a thing. Now it’s onward to our exchange for 2014!

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Have you recently completed your first home exchange? Let us know and you could be featured in our series!

One Comment on “My First Exchange – Beth

  1. Thank you for sharing – I don’t know when we’ll take the plunge but I learned a lot from your story!

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