Six Months in Australia and New Zealand

This just in from our organizer in Great Britain:

I just thought you might be interested to know that I returned a week ago from a 6 month trip to Australia and New Zealand - 3 months in each . And almost the whole time I was either doing home or hospitality exchange. Everyone I met was wonderful and I have made many new friends...I travel alone, as my husband died a few years ago, but I am never lonely. In Australia I had 5 swaps, and in New Zealand I had 8 swaps as well as meeting up with swappers from a previous year.. I was also caught up in the centre of Chrsitchurch when the Earthquake struck and the Intervac people I stayed with were wonderful and so resourceful and helpful. If you want any further details let me know. - Lynne - Eastbourne, England (GB353848)

Wow, six months!  You must have had plenty of adventures, Lynne.  Thanks for sharing!

First Exchange: Boston <-> Netherlands

In browsing around the web I came across an article from Boston Real Estate Now about a first experience with house exchange.  The very first Intervac exchange, 58 years ago, was with a family in Emmen too!

Just back from two weeks in the Netherlands with my wife Karen and our three little ones.

However, it wasn’t your typical vacation – we exchanged our Natick house with a Dutch couple and the wife’s sister. In fact, it ended up being a two-for-one deal for us. We spent the first week in Emmen in the country’s rural northeast in the sister’s house, followed by a second week in Gouda near Amsterdam and Rotterdam in the couple’s townhouse in the center of the famous cheese town.

Read the whole article here.

Do you blog about your home exchange experiences?  We’d love to read about them.  Leave us a link in the comments, ok?

Member meeting in Sweden!

Intervac Sweden Member Meeting

Photo credit: Intervac Sweden 2011 Member Meeting

In connection to the International Tourist exhibition, TUR 2011 in Gothenburg. Intervac Sweden held a successful member meeting at the Scandic Opalen Hotel.

Both really experienced home exchangers and new members attended the meeting. Among the members was families that had made both domestic, European and over seas exchanges. Even members that had made several exchanges in Australia attended the meeting.

Ann Christin Gemfeldt welcomed everyone and Karl Gemfeldt informed about the online system both in the current version and planned upgrades.

Intervac Sweden Member Meeting

Anna Skerbäck SE9358, an experienced Intervac member had made a “sound and picture” presentation about her families many successful exchanges in different countries.

Margareta Gemfeldt has over the last 40 years collected news paper articles about Intervac and the Vacation Home Exchange movement, in Sweden. These were accessible at the meeting and were much appreciated.

The meeting discussed the home swap idea and shared experiences.

The members also would like the following development ideas to be forwarded to Intervac International.

  • The “hot-list” needs to be more effective, better sort possibilities, easier graphical presentation and reversed search also in the hot-list.

  • The “Match Alert” tool should be an integrated part of the system.

  • Why can Intervac not be a real member organisation?

  • More US members, hard to find exchanges sometimes in USA.

  • Better functionalitty for Iphone/Ipad, why does not Intervac have their own app??

The summary from the meeting is that everyone would like to that this kind of member meetings were from now on a tradition every year.

Norway's National Tourist Routes

Wow, look at these beautiful photos at Knstrct. As if fjords and glaciers, northern lights, lush valleys and friendly family-oriented citizens were not enough to put Norway on your bucket list, the Norwegians have upped the ante and made it clear that they are looking forward to showing us all their beautiful country by investing 2.3 billion Norwegian Krönen in new National Tourist Routes.

The eighteen scenic routes which wander across the entire country feature all the beauty that is the Norwegian countryside accentuated by graceful lookout points designed by teams of Norway’s finest architects. These teams were formed by combining experienced architects, landscape architects, and artists with their younger up-and-coming professionals and the end effect, this exciting combination of rugged and contemporary serves to offer tourists a deeper look into the Norwegian culture.

Work began on a trial project (only four routes) in the early 90’s. In 1998 the Storting and the Ministry of Transport agreed to expand the project to eighteen routes, with a completion deadline of 2015. The opening international advertising push is scheduled to begin in 2012, so if you’re interested and want to get there before the crowds, it’s time to get planning!

Available Home Exchanges - Intervac Norway

Interested? Members secure login here. If you are not already part of our community, come give us a try and become a member today.

Japan - In Times of Trouble

Our thoughts and prayers are with our Japanese organizers and translators Alain Kegine and Kimiyo Murata as well as the citizens of Japan.  Be well and safe.

Update 13 Mar, 2011:  The very excellent news has reached us that both Alain and Kimiyo are safe.  Thanks to everyone for your kind thoughts.

The Double Fudge Crunch Flavors of Home Exchange

Good morning. Today I promised a description of the more exotic ways to engage in an exchange holiday. So let’s get started!

Double Exchange

This is where two families are looking to exchange with two families. This type of exchange is a favorite of neighbors who vacation together and extended families. Have you ever done this? I’d love to hear about your experience.

Long Term Exchanges

An exciting option for retired people, freelancers, university staff, or employees of global multi-national companies. A long-term exchange is one that covers a length of time in excess of three months and really gives you the chance to experience another culture deeply.

Youth Exchange

The You-Send-Me-Your-Kid-I’ll-Send-You-Mine option is a casual and fun way for young people to learn about new cultures without their parents hanging around all the time. When the kids are young (12 - 15) they seldom do a simultaneous exchange. Usually they visit each other and the at-home parents support the visiting child with bed and board and some sightseeing, making this an affordable way for your kids to see the world.

Youth Hospitality

Young people agree to play host to other young people from around the world. This does not necessarily include the reciprocity of youth exchange, and is a great opportunity for your children to meet kids from around the world, even if the budget is too tight for international airplane fare.

So, you see there is a form of home exchange for everyone. Come join the fun today!

Home Exchange Comes in Different Flavors?

Yep, and you don’t have to exchange your primary residence if you prefer to offer your camper or your weekend getaway in the mountains. You could offer your services as a house-sitter or find a trustworthy someone to look after your dogs while you are away. Think about it, the doggie hotel won’t bring in your mail or water your plants.

Following are the more “usual” types of exchanges:

Home Exchange

Of course this is the main focus of most of our members. In a vanilla version of home exchange two families simply agree to live in each other’s homes during a specific period of time. They agree to variety of particulars including whether or not they will be able to use each other’s cars, boats, snowmobiles.

House Sitting

This entails looking after someone else’s home, bringing in their mail, feeding, snuggling and playing with any pets while their hosts are away. Members search a house-sitter when they have decided to do something off the wall for their vacation: climbing Kilimanjaro, sailing around the world, backpacking across the outback, visiting family… You get the picture.

Bed & Breakfast

This is the same as the well known public variety, but members exchange bed and breakfast services in each other’s homes without the exchange of monies. Just as it’s always been outside the home exchange community, this is a great way to cover a large area of countryside while meeting plenty of locals.

Hospitality Exchange

This is where members agree to visit each other for short periods, usually a couple of days. It goes beyond B&B in that the host member will often show his guests around town while they are visiting. These exchanges are like visiting a friend and having the friend visit you.

Rentals

Members sometimes list holiday homes which they usually rent out but they offer drastically reduced price within the Intervac community.

So, there they are, the usual suspects. Tomorrow I’ll come back with some of the more exotic exchange forms, and as always I look forward to hearing from you in the comments.

Theater Tickets in Dublin

Dublin After Dark

Dublin After Dark

The EuroCheapo blog has lots of great articles about where to find things that a traveler in Europe might want. One that I thought was great was on the subject of affordable theater tickets in Dublin. Going to the theater or a concert while visiting a foreign city is something that I love to do. When I can tie the experience of attending a special live event to a specific city, I suddenly have lots of hooks on which to hang my other memories of that trip. Give it a try: There is an easy to use event finder at DublinEvents and of course, you can buy your tickets in advance at Ticketmaster.

Another Option?

The 2011 Dublin Book Festival is on for the 2nd - 6th of March and offers free admission to the fun.

Do you live in or around Dublin? Know some “Best of” places you’d be willing to share? Drop me a line and I’ll update this post.

Last Minute Exchange Offers

Interested? Members secure login here. If you are not already part of our community, we’d like to invite you to become a member today.

Back with Intervac after 15 years

Tricia, a member in Great Britain sent these nice words to her national representative, Brian Hayes:

I would like to take this opportunity to say how much we have enjoyed returning to Intervac after 15 years break!! We first joined 26 years ago, but as all our sons played cricket, we wanted to be here during the summer . Now, as retired teachers we can again take advantage of this wonderful home exchange service . Long may it continue !!!!

An Event Finder for Denmark Travelers

Event Search at visitdenmark.com

Visit Denmark

If you’re planning a trip to Denmark, stop by visitdenmark.com’s Activity Finder. It’s easy to search specific regions and towns for upcoming concerts, festivals, sporting events, exhibitions and even Christmas events. Best of all you can search specifically for events suited for families.

The event details pages include photos, address information, dates, ticket prices and really helpful instructions for getting there by car or by public transportation. The currency converter link in the upper right-hand corner is a gentle courtesy that highlights the helpfulness you’ll meet when you visit Denmark.

Wow, they even have a Restaurant Finder! Do you know of a great find-a-restaurant site for your city? Leave a comment and I’ll check ‘em out and profile the best ones in a later post. Thanks!