First Intervac Experience Sweden and the UK

Intervac Listing - SE12367

Intervac Listing - SE12367

Not too long ago Petra and Daniel were brand new Intervac members. They were not first-time home exchangers but they had never used our service before. We’re always especially pleased to read of experienced exchangers who are satisfied with our service and who describe their first Intervac exchange as “our best holiday ever”. Thanks so much for writing and we’re looking forward to hearing all about your next exchange!

We’ve just got back from the lovely UK and our first Intervac home exchange. We had our best holiday ever and can’t wait to arrange next exchange.

Thank you, Intervac for giving us the opportunity to this wonderful way of traveling!

Tenerifa Goes To Norway!

Member home - ES1108

Member home - ES1108

We have just returned from our holiday exchange yesterday, this year with Norway, and once more we confirm what a wonderful holiday-travel solution Intervac is. We are veteran exchangers - twenty times - but we have just exchanged with first time-exchangers and it has again been very positive. We have given them a good start as exchangers. Over the past twenty years we have had so many good experiences and have made friends. Long live Intervac. - Gutta and Alonso - Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain (ES1108)

New Calidonia - Paris

Thanks to our member who posted this great comment about their non-simultaneous exchange:

En octobre et novembre 2011, nous avons reçu un couple de Parisiens et leur fille Fleur dans notre maison à Lifou, en Nouvelle-Calédonie à 18 000 km de la France. Nous avons passé des moments enrichissants;et en décembre et janvier 2012, nous étions à Paris à 100 mètres du Louvre et 50 mètres de la mairie de paris. En plein centre de la capitale: un bonheur!!! Voilà la magie d'intervac.

With the help of Google Translate here is an English version

In October and November 2011, we received a Parisian couple and their daughter, Fleur in our house in Lifou in New Caledonia 18,000 km from France. We had a great time together in December, and January 2012, we were in Paris at 100 meters from the Louvre and 50 meters from the town hall. In the center of the capital: what happiness! That’s the magic of InterVac.

Jazz Lovers Celebrate Toots Thielman in October

Brusselicious logo image

Brusselicious 2012

This year, on April 22nd to be exact, the legendary Belgian jazz musician Toots Thieleman turned 90 years old. We think that for a number like ninety, one should celebrate longer than just one day, and apparently the good folks at Brusselicious 2012 agree with us. They have put together a gala celebration dinner on 25 October featuring Toots favorite Belgian specialites and live music.

Whether Toots will be there personally, nobody knows. But, in any case it’ll be an evening to remember!

Members in Brussels Available for Exchange

Britain on Vacation

Member homes - GB091630 and GB091711

Intervac Listings GB091630 and GB091711

We’ve gotten some great comments and testimonials from our British members over the past few months. We’ll be posting more of them here soon.

We joined Intervac when we decided to travel more widely and exchanging our home was the most affordable way of doing this. We were recommended by friends we met on a cruise who do it every year. We found the site easy to access and use.

Thanks Joan! Below a new member from London tells of her first home exchange in Sweden

I heard about intervac from a Swedish friend who said his colleague’s swore by it! We wanted to go to Sweden and hadn’t been that impressed with the summer houses for hire.

We are currently on our first swap in Varnhem, Sweden and it’s amazing - just what we had hoped for (from childhood memories from being here…) The family have swapped 5 times before and have said they are very happy with our flat in London.

I think it’s fair to say we are fans…

The only thing that is slightly challenging is the amount of offers to exchange- I’ve been busy at work so sometimes feel a little overwhelmed and anxious to reply. Still- a nice predicament to be in really!!

A Thank You Note to Intervac US

We have been Intervac members since 1998 and have enjoyed 15 fabulous exchanges, three in the USA and the others all over Europe. They have been the best good times of our lives. For the summer of 2012 we are invited to stay with a former exchange family in Berlin.

Now, my husband says that will be our last trip abroad. I suppose he will be 80 in one more year. Does that mean we must start going on cruises? Ha-ha. Thank you for all the many kindnesses you have extended over the years. You have added so many lovely “bells and whistles”. I’m not so high tech to use them all but I appreciate the growth of Intervac.

How ever we travel in the future it will never compare with our home exchange experiences. We will never make those wonderful friendships that we have formed with exchangers and their friends and neighbors.

French Family Enjoys Four Home Exchanges in One Year

This family with 3 children is very happy with Intervac having exchanged 4 times this year. After Barcelona, Rome, and Brussels, they have discovered Stockholm. And not only did they exchange their homes, they write that they have also exchanged their car and bikes this summer and even their job! with the Swedish members because they have the same profession.

Bonjour Nous venons de réaliser cet été notre 4è échange de maison depuis 3 ans et toujours avec beaucoup de plaisir. Après Barcelone, Rome, Bruxelles nous sommes partis en Suède près de Stockholm. Avant le départ, nous échangeons par mail avec la famille pendant plusieurs mois ce qui fait qu’au moment où l’échange se fait on se connait déjà un peu plus et on se conseille mutuellement sur des visites ou des ballades à faire, des bonnes adresses en fonction des souhaits de chacun… Tous ces échanges sont enrichissants et nous permettent de découvrir en famille avec nos 3 enfants un nouveau pays, une nouvelle région, une nouvelle culture et un nouveau mode de vie. Et cette année nous avons fait échange de maison, de voiture, de vélos et de boulot pour une demi-journée très intéressante puisque nous faisons le même travail.

Marie Grillon (FR080543)

40th Annual International Balloon Fiesta

Hot air balloons

Hot air balloons during a mass ascension in Albuquerque, NM

Hobby photographers, fun and beauty enthusiasts, and warm weather lovers: August is the perfect time to be looking for a home exchange or a guest family in Albuquerque, New Mexico for early October.

This year, marks the 40th Annual International Balloon Fiesta.  Beginning October 1, 2011 and ending on October 9, 2011 over 600 balloons and their pilots from around the world will be taking off from from the 368 acre Balloon Fiesta Park.  It’s the largest event of it’s kind and probably one of the most photographed.  The organizers have a variety of events planned, from near daily Mass Ascensions to a cross country balloon race (ending somewhere on the East Coast of the United States).  There are also speed and accuracy competitions with prizes in the $100,000 range  and the “Special Shapes Rodeo” where you might see balloons in the shape of Sponge Pants Bob or a milk cow.

Sessions run mornings and evenings and cost $8.00 per session for adults (over 12 yrs old) and include entrance to the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum.  Children under 12 are admitted free to the Balloon Fiesta and their entry to the museum costs $1.00.  Some sessions expect more than 100,000 visitors so it’s good to get there early!  You can read more about it at the official FAQ.

Here’s the the “something new today” that I learned while researching this post: The Albuquerque Box.  According to

The Albuquerque Box is a weather phenomenon where the lowest winds are moving in one direction and the higher level winds are moving in another. More specifically, in a perfect example of the Albuquerque Box, the high winds are from the south while the low winds are from the north. This is beneficial to ballooning because then the balloon can take off and land in almost exactly the same spot.

Who knew?  Wikipedia says it’s an especially useful phenomenia during the competitions that use on-field targets.  The Key-Grab (which got it’s name because one of the prizes are the keys to a new car!) for instance, when “The Box” is in effect (it’s not, every day…) pilots can use it to make more than one pass at the tall flexible poles upon which the prizes are fastened.

Also in Albuquerque in October

Other interesting things to do in Albuquerque during the Balloon Fiesta include:

Revving Up for a New Season of Home Exchange

Intervac Homepage image

Photo credit: Intervac gets a new look!

Hi Everyone! Did you notice that we launched a new public face to our international website recently? That’s why it’s been so quiet around here the last couple of months. The new site has some great new features to improve our service and your enjoyment of home exchange.

It is a modern and up-to-date design. We have streamlined it and we are sure you will find it easier to find all the information you want.

We introduced Google maps in our search to make it much easier for you to see all the exchanges available in the places where you want to go. It has always been Intervac’’s policy to only show homes that are listed by active members so you can be sure that all the homes that you see in our search returns are members who actively want to find an exchange.

We also introduced a new seven day trial membership. We’re hoping to encourage people who are completely new to home exchange to see what it is all about. If you are already a member, you may receive offers from trial members, (these are clearly marked), and we would ask you to respond positively to any offers that you like on the basis that the member will be encouraged to join our community (and you might have an interesting new exchange parter.)

We have also worked hard to make the site user friendly for mobile phones and tablets.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you if you have any comments and suggestions and also returning to a more regular posting schedule.