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Teresa and Ken have been Love Home Swap members since September 2015, and have so far been on 6 swaps with us. When deciding whether or not to purchase a home in Hawaii, the couple first got interested in the idea of home swapping. 

‘We didn’t technically ‘hear’ about Love Home Swap. To be honest, it came up in our discussions when we were deciding whether or not to purchase a home in Hawaii. We were living on the Big Island at the time, and were trying to decide which would be more feasible if we were to purchase a home or continue to rent. I had just gone through my third battle of breast cancer and we were dealing once again with medical bills. When you are having to pay medical bills on an on-going monthly basis, it cuts into any ‘vacation savings’ one could ever possibly ever have. Thus, we began researching house swapping and what that entailed.

That was when we came across Love Home Swap, along with other house swapping sites, and began researching them all in depth. Love Home Swap began to stand out because of the benefits they offered, there wasn’t a country that didn’t have a house located in it to swap with, the annual dues were more affordable, and they offered a great start up package. Based on our research, we came to the conclusion to purchase a home in Kailua Kona, and after the purchase was completed, we immediately signed up for our first swap which was a thirty-day simultaneous swap with a couple in Sydney, Australia.

The benefits with house swapping over the more traditional ways of travelling, that we have found, are that we can afford to stay on holiday longer than we would have had had we been staying in a hotel. In addition, we have also chosen the option to swap vehicles with the other party, which has also saved us a huge amount of money. During those swaps that we have not had a vehicle swap, the party may offer us their mass-transit cards, which also saves us money while travelling.’

Having been on swaps to Australia, Canada, France, and Italy, Teresa and Ken have made some great memories…

‘Some of the best moments/standout memories have been those where we have been able to actually meet the families or couples that we are swapping homes with. In some instances, we have offered to pick them up at the airport and bring them to our home. Spending the afternoon with them in our home, telling them a little about our area, and learning a bit about each other, is just a special time for us to get to know the people who will be staying in our home. We have had the opportunity to meet two or three families/couples that have stayed in our home, and have also had the opportunity to meet several of the owners of homes we have stayed in. And in doing this, we have made some lifelong friends.

Another standout memory that I can think of was during our first swap while in Australia. The couple that was in our home had done numerous house swaps, however, this was our first. We had decided to swap vehicles. However, upon arriving in Australia and walking down to the grocery one day, I began noticing the way the people drove there in Sydney and the outskirts of town where we were. They were a bit more aggressive than I was used to being that Kailua Kona is a very small town of around 5,000 people. I knew they drove on the opposite side of the road, but being that aggressive, when we got back to the house, I sent Patricia and Bruce an email letting them know that their beautiful car would be happily remaining in their garage. We told them that we would be taking mass transit for the fact that their beautiful brand new Mazda M6 should remain that way. Once they understood me, it was at that point that my faith in human beings still exists. Bruce told us that his OPUS card, (Australia’s mass-transit travel cards) was in the centre console of the car and that Ken could use that one for daily travel into and back from the city. Then he told me where the key was to their safe, where the safe was, and where inside the safe Pat’s wallet was and inside that wallet was her OPUS card for my use. With the simple ‘clock it up when you’re done’, that was how we came to use their local OPUS cards which saved us a lot of money as locals pay much less per day for travel than tourists. A truly amazing gesture of trust among people who have only met through a house swapping site and take the simple ‘judgement’ of the site as the credibility of the people on the site. It doesn’t take much to lose faith in humanity anymore, and even the smallest gesture can bring that faith back’.

Home swapping has brought multiple benefits to Teresa and Ken, not only have they saved money – but it also means that they can vacation for longer…

‘The money we saved in accommodation has definitely allowed us to do more, but mainly it has increased the quality of our holidays as we are not forced to cram so much in to one stay (even though we still try to see as much as possible during out stays.) We have found that we have been able to take more day trips or go somewhere to a place we had wanted to see and simply stay the night at a little inn as we were close enough to do just that. With not paying for a hotel, you have that luxury to be able to do that. We did that just recently while staying in Annecy, France and drove up to Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland and stayed the night in order to take the gondola up to Murren and see the sights based on a recommendation from some friends from home. Had we been spending our entire holiday in hotels, we would not have been able to afford to do that, as we would have not been over here that long to even make that trip. Plus, we have found that we have taken a few more guided tours than we normally would take.

In addition, having gone through breast cancer three times, I am not able to get as much done in a day as I used to and thus being able to stretch out a holiday and take the time needed to see everything, makes it so much more worthwhile. This allows for my rest that is needed in order to truly enjoy the holiday. Where normally we would only be able to stay a week or so, we are now able to stay 2-4 weeks or more. We try and make our stays at least a month when we are just going to one place so we don’t have to rush to see everything. It is a totally different feeling when travelling now, and a much nicer one now.’

‘We do not have another trip set up at this time. To be quite honest, I never thought I would be alive to see this trip… this is one of the ‘once-in-a-lifetime bucket list’ trips which took me about a year to plan and included Annecy, France (French Alps); Turin, Italy; Venice, Italy; and Rome, Italy all with Love Home Swap. Of course, we are always looking for a new and exciting place to go for a weekend, week, month, but our next big trip, we are wanting to go to Cairo and Jerusalem, and any place else near there that we can fit in’. 

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