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As the seasons change and the nights grow longer, what do you want to see after dark when you look into the sky? Stars, of course. But light pollution can get in the way. To escape artificial illumination and truly wish upon a star, here’s our list of the best “dark sky” locations from which to make the most of your upcoming long winter nights.

Nearly one third of the world’s population can’t see the Milky Way from home. Glaring streetlights and flashing advertisements contribute to a growing epidemic of light pollution through which only the brightest stars are visible. Need a change of scene? Fly like a comet to the following destinations. Read More

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Whether you’re staying close to home or taking a transatlantic flight, a budget is an important tool for planning your family trip. After all, knowing what you can safely spend can keep you from racking up unwanted debt, or doing a number on your credit score. Additionally, an organized budget will mean an organized trip for you and your family and you won’t have to worry about spending a little too much here or there. We tapped Rick Seaney, chief executive of the travel site Fare Compare, for some ideas to help you get started on planning your finances for your trip. Read More

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Meet Donna, an active retired from Vancouver Island who recently made her dream come true to go to Desert Trip, the ultimate Seniors’ Woodstock.  She definitely is not going to let retirement become a ticket to boredom. Will you?

It’s a typical Sunday evening. I’m curled up on the bed, snuggled in a blanket, as I read, blog and check in with friends on social media. My husband, Richard, is in the family room watching Netflix. Our dog, Cody, is softly snoring by his feet. It’s a typical evening, but not typical at all. We are 2,300 kilometers (1,429 miles) away from home.

Earlier in the day, Richard golfed while I joined a yoga class at the clubhouse. Each of us took advantage of the residents’ reduced rates. Afterward, we made dinner from local produce that we picked up at a nearby farmers’ market.

This is absolutely my favorite thing about home exchange – the ability to have a home-away-from-home wherever we travel. It is laid-back comfort perfectly blended with the thrill of adventure. Read More

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The opportunity to try a local food specialty or walk down historic cobblestone streets without hordes of tourists! That’s what more and more travelers are seeking. So here are five less-known North American cities (to add to last year’s selection) of special appeal to explorers who venture beyond the typical sightseer circuit. They promise visitors a special experience, from the sizzling spicy cuisine of New Orleans to British Columbia’s garden city.

By Victoria Ortiz

Savannah, Georgia, USA

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This lovely southern belle is the oldest city in Georgia, and a big destination for history buffs. Savannah takes its name from the river that flows through its center, which once served as an important port during the American Revolution, and drew attention as site of the sailing events for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

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The opportunity to try a local food specialty or walk down historic cobblestone streets without hordes of tourists! That’s what more and more travelers are seeking. So here are five less-known European cities (to add to last year’s selection) of special appeal to explorers who venture beyond the typical sightseer circuit. They promise visitors a special experience, from soaking in Budapest’s natural thermal baths to paragliding above a French alpine lake.

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There are few things as comforting as coming home after a long day of shredding, moguling, carving, jumping, and yes…falling more than we care to admit! Skiing is all about the challenge, but discovering a perfect mountain home, life-long friends, and a one-of-a-kind ski holiday is easy with HomeExchange. But don’t just take our word for it, here’s what you are saying about your spectacular ski swaps:

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From small alpine lakes to giant inland seas, lakes offer some of the best outdoor recreation opportunities. Regardless of where you live, they always make any landscape more spectacular. Let’s take a look at 10 of the most beautiful lakes in the world.

1. Moraine Lake, Alberta, Canada

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Photo credit: brian.ch on Flickr

Canada has no shortage of incredible sceneries, and lakes are important features almost anywhere you go. And some of the most spectacular of them are located in the Banff National Park.

Moraine Lake is so beautiful, that it has been featured on the backside of the 1969 and 1979 issues of the Canadian Twenty Dollar bill. It is a glacial lake located in Banff National Park, in the Canadian Rockies. Lying at an altitude of 1,884 meters (6,181 feet) in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, Moraine Lake offers incredible views of the Mount Fay, Wenkchemna Peaks, Mount Allen, Mount Bowlen, and Mount Babel.

2. Viti Lake, Iceland

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Photo credit: messicanbeer on Flickr

When creating a list of beautiful places around the world, Iceland almost always makes it to the list. Its dramatic natural wonders, the surreal landscape, the northern lights, are just a few of the reasons that make Iceland magical.

Lakes are no exception to the rule. One of them is Viti Lake, in Northern Iceland, which was formed inside a circular crater. The lake is filled with blue water, surrounded by colorful mountains and a geothermal area, creating a surreal and otherworldly landscape.

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HomeExchangers come from all walks of life with all sorts of interests. Finding an exchange partner with interests similar to yours can not only lead to great home exchanges but also lead to long-lasting friendships that reach far beyond just an exchange of homes.

wine-lovers-home-exchangeMy family has a wide range of interests, but one that truly brings people together is our love of wine. Notice I did not say “fine wine,” as you can find lovers of all manner of wine. (My own mother prefers a bottle of Riunite herself.) Great conversations and gatherings are often had over a bottle of your favorite.

Fittingly, since we happen to live in the wine-rich area of Northern California, we would like to share some of our ideas for other wine-loving HomeExchangers. Read More