Home Exchange Vacations

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Home Exchange Vacations

The following is an email I sent to a friend that I thought might be worth sharing with a wider audience.

"We joined Homelink, http://www.homelink.org/ , on the simple criteria that the head of the outfit lived a couple of miles from us.

Since then I feel we made the right choice of home exchange organizations. This URL, "http://www.homelink.org.uk/visitors-why.htm", gives one reason, they are the largest, together with other advantages. Homelink is among the oldest, it is twice as large as others, has coordinators in most countries, and is very professionally run in my opinion and experience. We have had 5 great exchanges so far, all rated as 10 out 10 by both of us. (The fact that Intervac claim to be the largest, and are demonstrably not the largest, to me is a negative factor weighing against using them although I have run across some who belong to both organizations to increase their choices.)

You can link to the various Homelink country sites via http://www.homelink.org/. Homelink also have a package of introductory material they will send you. You can see all listings at these sites without contact information. The contact information is available only for members.

I also recommend reading the book 'Home exchange vacationing : your guide to free accommodations / Bill and Mary Barbour.' You can check copies available at ABEBooks at this URL... "http://dogbert.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?tn=home+exchange+vacationing"

We borrowed our copy from the library and it was a valuable book to give us the right mindset and be ready for our first exchange. I notice the abebooks URL above currently shows copies available for as low as $US1.

For whatever it is worth here is a posting I made to the Homelink Members' Discussion Forum

"Sue wrote:

>In fact, is the whole exchange thing too much hassle?

Yes, it is a hassle.

The successful and the failed negotiations, the communications by email and phone, the cleaning and organizing of your home, the cleaning of host's home when you leave, checking with your insurance companies, getting your car serviced and washed, the drafting of the auto and exchange forms and getting them signed, organizing your home guide and information for your guests, working out mutually satisfactory protocols with reference to food, condiments and staples in the homes, getting the keys exchanged, dealing with exchange insurance through Homelink, etc.

However the payoff, at least in our case through 5 exchanges, is much greater comfort at a much lower cost. For example in Australia we stayed at 36 hole golf resort for 6 weeks where the rooms ran hundreds of dollars a night. We had a 2 storey 3 bedroom villa fronting on the golf course in a gated community with a swimming pool 50 feet behind us. We were far more comfortable with a kitchen and all the comforts of home than the people in the high rise hotel part of the resort. Cost $0 per night.

Yes it is a hassle. Would we exchange again. Yes, absolutely!!

Wishing you a great first exchange,


p.s., we overlap with our exchange hosts wherever possible, giving a bonus to home exchanging of making new friends with our hosts, we've found a 'no-host' dinner at a local restaurant can work well to this end! "

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