This week, we're meeting one of our experienced swappers here at Love Home Swap who tells us about her experiences from arranging homeswaps to how this new way of travelling has become an important aspect of her life. Geren Lockhart is a successful...
This week, we're meeting one of our experienced swappers here at Love Home Swap who tells us about her experiences from arranging homeswaps to how this new way of travelling has become an important aspect of her life.
Geren Lockhart is a successful entrepreneur and designer of her own woman's clothing line, Geren Ford. Although based in L.A, Geren frequently travels the world for work and leisure and home swapping allows her to enjoy the space and convenience of a home away from home.
How important is travel part of your lifestyle?
For me travel It is crucial to who I am. My parents divorced when I was young and my mom lived in Northern California and my father lived in Soho in New York City so travel started at 5 for me. I love travel and love getting to see and learn from new adventures.
How did you hear about home swapping and what made you decide to try it?
I am pretty sure that it was a friend in NYC that showed me the site, and I signed up the next week. About a year later I made my first swap and now it's a regular thing. I love having the ability to feel like you live where you're visiting and exploring. With a career in Fashion and a lot of travel associated it's crucial to know a place and be able to make a cup of tea.
What is the main benefit of home swapping for you?
I love swapping because you get to be a part of a community, and you can have more space an great amenities that you wouldn't have with a hotel. I love being able to stay longer and to really see a place, while still getting to take days off to relax or catch up on work. I get to "base" out of wherever I am and that's really wonderful.
What challenges have you faced when home swapping and how have you resolved these?
I think that the number one challenge I've faced is communication and the way to solve it is to get creative and to be persistent I landed at a vacation house in Brazil last winter and it was a really challenging situation and hard to communicate, it was a vacation home for the swapper who hadn't been there in months and the property wasn't in the shape they thought it was. It wasn't easy but it was a great learning experience and it worked out in the long run. I advise asking a lot of questions up front and if there seems to be any lags or delays use it as a foreshadowing of possible challenges to come. I really haven't faced many issues over the couple of years and have encountered the most respectful group of people.
Where have you home swapped and how do these swaps vary?
I've done a few swaps, my first in the south of England and it was a dream trip. Two weeks in the country slowing down and seeing a part of one of my favorite countries in a way that I never would have been able to without the swap, there aren't hotels here. Brazil which was beautiful and challenging and much more remote than my first swap. Sydney for New Years was a wonderful few weeks, summer during our winter in the US in a truly enchanting and exciting city. I am off to a few more this spring and summer, London for an extended stay and then onto Paris...with a possible pit-stop in Spain. I can't wait to see what is next.
3 Things you loved most about this home swap:The house is so well designed, inviting and relaxing and fully set up for a wonderful stay. The country around the house is beautiful, wonderful hikes, and walks and trips to the sea, Brighton, historical sites and more. Walking up to let the chickens out in the morning and feasting on veg from the amazing gardens.
How much did you save? $5000!
What did they love about your home?Very cool mid century house near Runyon Canyon Park secluded but with LA on your doorstep house is filled with beautiful objects, art and books
How much did they save? Around £6000 - £7000!
Where would be your ideal home swap?
This years list is South East Asia, Croatia, Tuscany, and Morocco.
What advice would you give to other members about to arrange a home swap?
I think that one of the best things that I've done is provide a transparent communication from the start, being really honest and open about what I can and can't make happen as well as what my properties benefits and possible drawbacks are. I.e. it's an amazing location in the Hollywood Hills but you do need a car to really take advantage. I recently took the time to put together a really expansive home guide so that anyone staying can navigate the in's and out's of their visit no matter what time zone I am in. I also recently installed a remote controlled alarm system that I can re-program and monitor from near or far and that makes me feel really safe about my home.
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