I love to travel and see the world but travel can be an expensive indulgence. Eating out, hotels, and rental cars can all really add up. Now, the first thing we do when the travel bug hits is start searching our favorite home exchange service website. It wasn’t always like this. Years ago, I worked really hard to convince my husband to try a home exchange as a frugal way to travel and see the world without spending a fortune. He was less than enthusiastic and barely lukewarm to the idea. Home swap our house? Filled with all of our treasures? Let strangers sleep in our beds? My response was:
“The most precious items we keep in our home are the people who live here.”
Having strangers stay in your home can be a little unsettling. What I’ve come to realize is that once people stay in your home, they’re no longer strangers they’re more like friends. You get to read about the home exchange people on the InterVac website, see pictures of their home, their family members, and whether they have pets or if they smoke. There’s e-mailing back and forth or phone calls to discuss details and key placement. It also helps to keep in mind that you’re going to be in their home, filled with their treasures, and sleeping in their beds.
Travelling is a wonderful gift to give yourself and your children. Home swapping is a way to see the world and experience life and how other people live. You’re not staying in a tourist area where everyone speaks your language. It can be challenging and if you’re driving, there’s the added joy of being lost in a foreign country while trying to read maps with your spouse driving a car owned by somebody else. We won’t talk about that right now!
Where have we gone? Paris (France), Vienna (Austria), Gouda (The Netherlands), the Oregon coast (three times), this spring we’re headed to San Francisco, CA and in the summer we’re doing an exchange in Alicante (Spain).
If you’d like to register for a home exchange, the site we use is InterVac, which stands for International Vacation. You’ll receive a $5.00 discount on your membership by entering this code – copy and paste:
in at check out when asked for the promo code.
I’d be happy to speak to your group or organization about frugal travel, home swapping, and travelling with children. Please contact me here to get on my schedule.