By Nola Beard Travel speaker, trainer and writer www.NewTakeTravel.com Our first home swap vacation was so fabulous that we planned our second as we flew home. Given our passion for travel, we struck gold when we discovered home exchanging. We've...
By Nola Beard
Travel speaker, trainer and writer
Our first home swap vacation was so fabulous that we planned our second as we flew home. Given our passion for travel, we struck gold when we discovered home exchanging. We've done 25 home swaps to date.
After every swap we've returned home raving. What's made them great? You might be surprised.
The Luxury of Time
Some places, a 700 square foot (or 65 square metre) home is small. In New York City it's a veritable palace. Now make it a penthouse with unobstructed views of the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings. Add a luxury grocery story to the ground floor and drop it into SOHO. That was our Manhattan home swap. It was like an ultra-spacious, uber-equipped hotel suite.
But believe it or not, this was the best part of our trip: being able to afford eight full days to explore the city at our leisure and extra Broadway tickets, too, all because we were staying for free.
As opposed to doing a mad dash in, around and out, we didn't feel rushed. We spent full days exploring little neighborhoods and could return to places that intrigued us. We took the time to plant ourselves on a bench along the Hudson riverfront and, later, a patch of grass in Central Park to watch New York go by.
Thanks to the luxury of time, we saw a lot of the city and returned home recharged-like we'd actually been on vacation.
There was a big pot, not yet empty of mussels, sitting in the middle of the table. The four of us were laughing and wine glasses were being refilled.
Earlier that summer day, our home swap partners had come by the guest house to invite us to join them on the patio. A neighbor had dropped off a bag of mussels and together we worked our way through them...and some great stories. It wasn't hard given our hosts had traded gems in Africa, sailed extensively and raised ostriches in California.
Complete with a pool, the guest house and acreage in the Santa Ynez Valley - "Horse Whisperer" country- felt like a resort. But my favorite memory from that swap was that evening, and you won't find it in any tourist brochures.
If you haven't done it yet, chase down your first home swap. Half the fun you'll have will be discovering what 'favorite things' weren't, and couldn't be, promised in the home swap listing.
I'd love to hear about your first home swap! Or are you planning yours now? Will you tell me about it?
Nola Beard is a passionate travel speaker, trainer and writer, and founder of New Take Travel, the source for 'How to Travel Often & Richly Within Your Budget'. She is obsessed with travel, a lover of beautiful hotels and a home exchange aficionado, having completed more than 25 exchanges to date.
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