Home exchange stories, Intervac, News, Newsletter Archive

Happy 2018 Find your exchanges now!

Welcome to the new year!

Where will you travel this year? Did you make an exchange agreement yet?
This is the perfect time to sit down and start planning. We offer you tips in this newsletter

Find your destination now


Remember our Christmas gift?

20% discount for your friends and relatives with the promo code NEW2018. They simply need to use the code as they sign up for one year or more here (Ends 31st January 2018). Share with your friends and family.


Refresh your listing

You want to present an updated profile to potential exchange partners. Remember to refresh your pictures, details, destination wishlist, list of favourites etc.

Refresh your listing


The Disneyland Paris experience

 

Ana has visited Disneyland Paris with her royal family. They have shared their experience and hints with us. Find out how to make the most of time spent in the queues, where to find the best picnic spots and how to save cash. Read the full story


Home exchange stories, Intervac, Travel

Disneyland Paris

As parents of two little princesses, we had been dreaming of going to Disneyland for some time.

As we live in Europe, Disneyland Paris, formerly known as Eurodisney, was our choice.Sleeping beauty castle in Disneyland Paris

The problem was the budget for it: Disney tickets alone are not cheap, looking for a Disneyland hotel or even a Paris hotel booking is a nightmare and then there were also the plane tickets.

We live on an island (Madeira Island, Portugal), so avoiding airfare costs was not an option. Fortunately, we found reasonable prices with the low-cost airline Transavia that flies directly to Paris from Madeira, but also from around 40 other locations in Europe.

Disneyland Accommodation

The accommodation problem was the easiest for us to solve. I think most people start planning their Disneyland trip by analyzing Disneyland Paris packages. But not us 🙂 Were we going to look for Disneyland hotel deals? No! We had been Intervac members for many years and knew home exchange was the way to go. We just had to decide exactly where we wanted to exchange to and start sending out offers.

The decision was eventually for the area around Place de la Nation. This was the best for us because using the RER-A train we could get to Disneyland Resort Paris in about 30 minutes.

We could use the same train line or the subway to get to the tourist attractions of Paris, such as the Eiffel Tower, or the Arc de Triomphe in 15 to 30 minutes.

RER-A train map - how to get to Disneyland Paris

So that was the area we did a home exchange too. And that came with the added benefit of being in a residential area. We had several small supermarkets, bakeries and restaurants around our exchange apartment and even a very nice playground right out our door.

Doing a home exchange was a brilliant solution: it allowed us to stay in Paris for 2 full weeks and to go to Disneyland for 6 days. On the other days we explored Paris at the leisurely pace you take when you are on holidays with kids.

Disneyland Tickets and Passes

But let me get back to the Disneyland Paris tickets. If you are considering going to Disneyland Paris for 3 days or more, I highly recommend that you buy their Annual Pass (Passeport Annuel). It might seem an overkill to buy an annual pass to visit for 3, 4, 5 or 6 days, but it actually pays up if you do the math. Check out all the information on the official site Disneyland Paris http://www.disneylandparis.co.uk/annual-passports/ and please note that the names and conditions for the passes changed on March 29, 2017.

Our Annual Passports were our Disneyland Paris cheap ticketsThese passes all need to be bought inside Disneyland itself. You can get a 10% discount if you have a sponsor (an Annual Passport holder). You can get all the information on this on the DLP Guide website http://www.dlpguide.com/planning/booking/annual-passports/ We also used their forum MagicForum to find a sponsor http://www.magicforum.eu/

After getting to Disneyland here is how we got our passes: we bought 1-day tickets at the gate, went to the Bureau Passeport Annuel, met our sponsors there and got our Annual Passes with the discount. The price for the 1-day tickets was fully refunded. The full process took us about 1 hour, but it was totally worth it: we went back in the Summer 2017 and used the same passes again 🙂

After getting in, we got our Disney Paris map (which includes the two parks: Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios) and the programme for the shows and parades. They are both essential but the programme is the only one you can check online in PDF format (it changes weekly) http://download.disneylandparis.com/Disneyland-Paris_Shows-and-Parades.pdf.

The map can only be checked online in an interactive version (you won’t be able to print the Disneyland map if that is what you had in mind…).

A great addition to the map is the mobile app. Of course, you will need to have a tablet or smartphone with you (and Internet connection). Disneyland Paris mapWe used the app a lot to check the wait time for attractions and decide where to go next http://www.disneylandparis.co.uk/mobile-app/

The wait time shown at the entrance of the attractions and on the app seemed to be accurate and that was quite useful.

I have some more tips if you are visiting Disneyland Paris with kids.

Disneyland Shows and Parades Tips

  • Do all the shows in the Walt Disney Studio parkMickey and the Magician in the  Animagique Theater was our favourite, but the Moteurs… Action! car stunt show was also great. Disney Junior Live on Stage is geared towards young kids but it was a bit more challenging because our kids don’t speak English or French. Art of Disney Animation, in turn, was geared towards the adults and we loved it!
  • Disney Stars on Parade in the main park is the new parade that started in March 2017. It is a must see and happens only once throughout the day, so ensure you take note of the time. Great views are available anywhere along the parade route, and additionally from the Main Street USA railroad station. In both cases, you should steak out your spot about 15 minutes prior to the start of the parade for unobstructed views, but any more than this is usually unnecessary.
  • Disney Illuminations is a multimedia nighttime show, featuring fireworks, water effects music and video. Great for both the kids and the adults! It uses Sleeping Beauty’s castle as its projection screen, so is best viewed as straight on as possible. To claim a perfect spot for this, you will need to try at least one hour in advance of the show during high-season. Please note that anywhere on Main Street will provide a good view. Simply check if you can see the whole castle.   

General Disneyland Tips

  • Meeting Snow White at the Princess Pavillion in Disneyland ParisKids dressing up seem to get lots more attention from Disney characters. Also if your girl is dressed up as Snow White your party won’t have to queue for the Snow White ride, the group can get in through the exit (or sometimes through the Fast Pass entry). Just speak to the Cast members at the exit and they will promptly let you know how to get in. The same goes for Peter Pan, Tinkerbell and other characters. Another advantage of having your kids dressed up is that they have a good excuse not to buy them the overpriced (but beautiful!) costumes at the Disney stores throughout the park.
  • Queues for the Disneyland Railroad are significantly longer at the entry gates (Main Street USA) than at other stations. If you just want to ride it for the grand tour of the park get on at the Frontierland or Fantasyland stations which even include seating areas (although limited).
  • Use the FastPass for the attractions that allow it and have longer queues like Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast and Ratatouille: The Adventure. You can only have one FASTPASS® ticket at a time per person. Another ticket can only be obtained once the previous one has been used or 2 hours after the previous one.
  • When visiting with small children, always take advantage of the Baby Swap service on rides for which children are too small. This will allow one of the adults to queue, while the other adult waits with the child, and can then enter through the exit or Fastpass queue as soon as the first rider leaves.
  • It is often quicker to meet Mickey Mouse at the Toon Studio (in the Studio Park Backlot) than at his home in the main park. Queues for other characters near Mickey at the Toon Studio are often even shorter. Also, if you are not up to queuing you always take a picture from a distance in no time!
  • Contrary to popular belief, you are welcome to take outside food or drink into the park, and eat there.
    Gazebo at the entrance of Disneyland ParisThe security check will not confiscate outside food and drink. Simply make sure you don’t take alcohol, or drinks in glass bottles. Sandwiches, snacks, drinks can be brought into the park and eaten. Restrictions would only apply to anyone taking up a lot of space in the park for an extended period of time. Our favourites were the pre-prepared salads from the supermarket: there is quite a variety and having the salads at hand meant no queuing for lunch.
    Our favourite area for eating was right at the entrance, both to the left and right you have a green area with several seats with shade and some even with a beautiful gazebo.

What to do while waiting in line in Disneyland?

And trust me, there will be waiting in line… Here are some ideas:

–          Decide where to go next using the app or the map

–          Talk: discuss how things were made or planned, ask the kids trivia questions about the Disney movies or shows they have watched

–           Look: notice things around you together; the details, colours, look for hidden Mickeys

–           Take pictures

–           Games

  1.        I Spy, with my little eye
  2.        Simon says – clap your hands, touch your nose, count to 10, stick out your tongue, stand on your tippy toes
  3.        Animal Charades
  4.        The Alphabet Game – find objects around you (eg clothing and signs) from A-Z.
  5.        Character Alphabet  – list characters from A-Z (villains, princesses, cartoons, etc.)
  6.        Botticelli – take on the persona of a well-known person, give other players the initials. Players ask yes/no questions.
  7.        Sweet and sour – wave at a stranger and see who waves back
  8.        Peruse the Shoes – Count all the shoes they see while waiting in line. How many people have on black shoes, open-toed shoes, gym shoes? Without socks? How many have laces? How many have velcro ties?
  9.        Walk the Line – You need a floor with either lines or stripes. Players have to keep both feet either on or off the lines.  3 chances to misstep before eliminating contestants. Winner gets to be line leader the next time.

Disneyland Attractions Tips

Finally here are some specific attraction tips:

Armageddon: Les Effets Speciaux

Our girls found it a bit frightening due to the loud noise and effects.

Autopia- Disneyland ParisAutopia

The official minimum height to drive is 1.32 m, but smaller kids can control the wheel, as long as an adult controls the speed pedal. Long queues, but our girls loved it!

Big Thunder Mountain

Our girls loved this roller coaster and wanted to ride again! The adults also enjoyed it.

Crush’s Coaster

The vehicles spin during the main roller coaster section and it is lots of fun for kids and adults. Even our 4-year old loved it. The wait was quite big, but there is a specific app you can use on the waiting line(wi-fi and instructions available on-site).

Orbitron – Machines Volantes

Not that much fun… a basic ride and quite a long wait.

Plage des Pirates

There is a maximum height to play of 1.40 m, but that is not strictly enforced. Our girls both had fun here while the parents had a bit of a rest (the oldest one was a bit over 1,40m).         

Pirates of the CaribbeanPlage des Pirates at Disneyland Paris

Visitors may get slightly splashed from two small flumes… loads of fun in spite of the “scary” theme with lots of skeletons. We all loved this one!

Princess Pavillion

This always had the longest waits (usually 90 to 120 minutes). We eventually got in when the line was “only” 45 minutes long. The queue is all inside the pavilion, so no rain or too much sun issues. The thing is that in the end, you basically take a picture with one of 2 princesses (you have information on which ones at the entrance). The princess does talk to you a bit, but when you don’t speak English or French that is not of much use. Still, our girls loved meeting Snow White and finding out she has a very high pitched voice! However, we had a much smaller queue to take pictures outside with Jasmine & Aladdin and with Aurora (from Sleeping Beauty).Meeting Princess Aurora at Disneyland Paris

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith

This features an intense launch and three inversions. Even so, our 8-year old girl liked it because of the music and decorations.

Space Mountain: Mission 2 / Hyperspace Mountain

This features a very intense launch and many inversions. Our 8-year old girl hated it, she found it really scary. This one is definitely geared at those looking for a thrill.

Star Tours at Disneyland ParisStar Tours

Very good motion-simulated flight guided by C3PO. A must if you are a Star Wars fan… but very worthwhile even if you are not. And you get to wear 3D glasses while waiting at your boarding gate 🙂

Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop

Our girls loved this drop attraction. A bit of wait, but having a Toy Story related theme helped.

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

Our girls hated this drop attraction. It was definitely too scary for them. The toy soldiers one is more kid-friendly.

 

 

History, Intervac

Faces of Intervac

During the early 1950s contact was developing between Teachers Unions in Europe as they began to work together and to cooperate for the improvement of conditions but more especially to improve understanding between people from different cultures and backgrounds. Already in the early part of the 1950s, some teachers had realized that they could benefit most from the longer holidays they enjoyed if they could find a more economical way of traveling to other countries. The idea of Home Exchange Holidays was born in this realization. To exchange homes meant that they did not have any Hotel costs and could live in another home with just the normal costs of living. It would also provide the opportunity to live in a normal neighbourhood and not only in the developed tourist areas. This would provide the opportunity to learn about local culture, customs, etc. and to get to know the people.

In 1953 the leaders of the Swiss and Dutch Teacher Unions decided that a Home Exchange System for Holidays should be formally organized. Mr. A. Lehmann (1953 – 1961), Belp, Switzerland, made contact with Mr. G.J. Beltman (1953 – 1959) , Enter, Netherlands, in 1953 and the organization which would become known as Intervac International was born!

 

Mr. G.J. Beltman

Mr. G.J. Beltman,
Enter, Netherlands

Mr. A. Lehmann

Mr. A. Lehmann,
Belp, Switzerland

The Fifties

Switzerland Switzerland – 1953

Mr. A. Lehmann

Mr. A. Lehmann, Belp
(1953 – 1961)

Photo needed. Please contact the-board@intervac.org

Louis Kessely, Heerbrugg
(1961 – 1965)

Heinrich Niedermann

Heinrich Niedermann
St. Gallen, (1965 – )

Claudia Niedermann

Claudia Niedermann
St. Gallen, ( – 2014 )

Leoni Günzler

Leoni Günzler
(2014 – Current)

Netherlands Netherlands – 1953

Mr. G.J. Beltman

Mr. G.J. Beltman, Enter
(1953 – 1959)

Photo needed. Please contact the-board@intervac.org

Th.Thuijs, Bussum
(1959 – 1960)

Mr. Bert Vegter

Bert Vegter, Zeist
(1960 – 1977)

Roel and Willemien Eissen

Roel and Willemien Eissen, Oosterbeek
(November 1977 – Current)

The Sixties

Great Britain Great Britain – 1961

Photo needed. Please contact the-board@intervac.org

Mrs. Ronald Gould,
National Union of Teachers(1961 – 1963)

Hazel Nayar

Hazel Nayar
(1963 – 1990)

Photo needed. Please contact the-board@intervac.org

Rhona Nayar
(1992 – 2007)

Brian Hayes

Brian Hayes
(2007 – 2013)

Frank Kelly

Frank Kelly
(2013 – 2016)

Kristin Kelly-Abbott

Kristin Kelly-Abbott
(2016 – Current)

Germany Germany – 1965

Photo needed. Please contact the-board@intervac.org

Hans Joachim Runge, Ahausen
(1965 – 1970)

Photo needed. Please contact the-board@intervac.org

Bruno Schiller, Stuttgart,
(1971 – 1974)

Leoni Günzler

Leoni Günzler
(1974 – Current)

France France – 1968

Lucien Mazik

Lucien Mazik, Tours
(1968 – 2000)

Kristina Calliaud

Kristina Calliaud
(2000 – Current)

Austria Austria – 1969

Hans Winkler

Hans Winkler
(1969 – Current)

Spain Spain – 1969

Photo needed. Please contact the-board@intervac.org

Manuel Ruiz Doña, Melilla
(1969 – 1980)

Maria Angeles-Sas

Maria Angeles-Sas
(1981 – Current)

The Seventies

Sweden Sweden – 1970

Photo needed. Please contact the-board@intervac.org

Sten Jansson, Stockholm,
(1970 – 1971)

Margareta & Karl Eric Gemfeldt

Margareta and Karl Eric Gemfeldt,
Jönköping, (1971 – 1986)

The Gemfeldt Family

The Gemfeldt Family
(1986 – Current)

Finland Finland – 1970

Photo needed. Please contact the-board@intervac.org

Mrs. Inkari Uski, Lauritsala,
(1970 – 1972)

Photo needed. Please contact the-board@intervac.org

Miss Saara Lahtimäki, Helsinki,
( 1972 – 1974)

Photo needed. Please contact the-board@intervac.org

Johanna and Matti PyhäläTuusniami,
(1974 – 1978)

Photo needed. Please contact the-board@intervac.org

Hleena Huhtela, Kilmininki,
(1978 – 1995 )

Mervi Loustarinen

Mervi Luostarinen, Helsinki,
(1996 – Current)

Denmark Denmark – 1971

Margareta & Karl Eric Gemfeldt

Margareta and Karl Eric Gemfeldt,
Jönköping (1971 – 1972)

Photo needed. Please contact the-board@intervac.org

Jens & Lone Lauritzen, Espergærde,
(1973 – 2001)assisted by Grethe Lauritzen, Espergærde, (1975 – 1986 )

Michael Støvelbæk

Michael Støvelbæk
(2001 – Current)

 Norway – 1971

Margareta & Karl Eric Gemfeldt

Margareta and Karl Eric Gemfeldt,
Jönköping(1971 – 1973 )

Ivar Solli

Ivar Solli
(1973 – 2000)

Photo needed. Please contact the-board@intervac.org

Jostein and Nina Solli
(2000 – 2006)

H.J. Kjell Kristiansen

H.J. Kjell Kristiansen
(2007 – 2010)

Trude Hoel

Trude Hoel
(2011 – Current)

Ireland Ireland – 1973

Photo needed. Please contact the-board@intervac.org

Mrs. Colette O’Broin, Dublin
(1973 – 1977)

Frank Kelly

Frank and Hilary Kelly, Drogheda
(1977 – Current)

Belgium Belgium – 1973

Photo needed. Please contact the-board@intervac.org

Roland Layder
(1973 – 1976)

Pascale de Baer de Leer, Ternat

Pascale & Maxim de Baer de Leer, Ternat
(1978 – 1988)

Photo needed. Please contact the-board@intervac.org

Paul Sion
(1988 – 1989)

Yolande % Jempi de Cooman

Yolande & Jempi de Cooman
(1988 – Current)

USA USA – 1973

David & Mary Ostroff,
founders of Vacation Exchange Clubestablished a link with Intervac International
(1976 – 1984)

Photo needed. Please contact the-board@intervac.org

Ted Kobrin (East Coast)
(1984 – 1988)

Photo needed. Please contact the-board@intervac.org

Jennifer Haines and Sarah Morissette (West Coast)
(1984 – 1988)

Photo needed. Please contact the-board@intervac.org

Lori Horne and Paula Jaffe, San Francisco
(1988 – 2003)

Josh and Jessica Jaffe
(2003 – Current)

Iceland Iceland – 1974

Photo needed. Please contact the-

board@intervac.org

Rafn Arild Jonsson, Reykjavik,
(1974 – 1975).

Photo needed. Please contact the-board@intervac.org

Elisa Kwaszenko
(1975 – 2009)

Sesselja Traustadóttir

Sesselja Traustadóttir
(2009 – Current )

Luxembourg Luxembourg – 1975

Photo needed. Please contact the-board@intervac.org

Jens & Lone Lauritzen
(1975 – 2007)

Marie Lechner & Robert Klopp

Marie Lechner & Robert Klopp
(2007 – 2011)

Are you interested in becoming our agent in Luxembourg? We’d love to hear from you.
Contact Lucien Mazik.

The Eighties

Israel Israel – 1980

Photo needed. Please contact the-board@intervac.org

Dan Arbel, Herzliya
(1980 – 2010)

Shira Abel

Shira Abel, Yaakov
(2010 – 2014)

Are you interested in becoming our agent in Israel? We’d love to hear from you.
Contact Lucien Mazik.

Italy Italy – 1980

Gaby Zanobetti

Gaby Zanobetti, Bologna
(1980 – 2016)

Emanuela Zara

Emanuela Zara
(2016 – Current)

Canada Canada – 1986

Photo needed. Please contact the-board@intervac.org

Paula Carey
(1986 – 1987)

Suzanne Rysak

Suzanne Rysak
(1987 – Current)

The Ninties

 Brazil – 1994

Photo needed. Please contact the-board@intervac.org

Virgilio de Almeida
(1994 – 1997)

Ana Neto

Ana Neto
(2006 – 2009)

Carlos Gerent

Carlos Gerent
(2010 – 2015)

Andrea Aguiar de Brito

Andrea Aguiar de Brito
(2015 – 2016)

Ary de Paiva Ferreira

Ary de Paiva Ferreira
(2016 – Current)

Czech Republic Czech Republic – 1995

A. Machacek & Lenka Machàckovi

A. Machacek & Lenka Machàckovi
(1995 – Current)

Greece Greece – 1997

Photo needed. Please contact the-board@intervac.org

Despina Agnostopoulos
(1996 – 2000)

Photo needed. Please contact the-board@intervac.org

Stathis Mihos & Maria Karakiza
(2001 – 2011)

Maria Marianthie Katouna Petrof

Maria Marianthie Katouna Petrof Attica, Saronic Islands, Peloponeese, Ionian Islands
(2011 – 2013)

Christina Mitropoulou

Christina Mitropoulou Attica, Saronic Islands, Peloponeese, Ionian Islands
(2013)

Apostolos Kanarakis - Elena Petaloti

Apostolos Kanarakis – Elena Petaloti Macedonia, Thrace, Crete
(2011 – 2013)

Giannis Krikis - Maria Theofanous

Giannis Krikis – Maria Theofanous
(2011 – Current)

Poland Poland – 1996

Barbara Zakrzewska

Barbara Zakrzewska
(1996 – 1997)

Ewa Krupscy

Ewa i Stanislaw Krupscy
(1998 – Current)

Belize Belize – 1997

Photo needed. Please contact the-board@intervac.org

Dr. Azzo Ghindelli
(1997 – 1999)

If you would like to be our agent in the Belize, please contact Lucien Mazik

El Salvador El Salvador – 1997

Photo needed. Please contact the-board@intervac.org

Dr. Azzo Ghindelli
(1997 – 1999)

If you would like to be our agent in the El Salvador, please contact Lucien Mazik

Guatemala Guatamala – 1997

Photo needed. Please contact the-board@intervac.org

Dr. Azzo Ghindelli
(1997 – 1999)

If you would like to be our agent in the Guatamala, please contact Lucien Mazik

Honduras Honduras – 1997

Photo needed. Please contact the-board@intervac.org

Dr. Azzo Ghindelli
(1997 – 1999)

If you would like to be our agent in the Honduras, please contact Lucien Mazik

Portugal Portugal – 1997

Photo needed. Please contact the-

board@intervac.org

António St. Aubyn
(1997 – )

Ana Neto

Ana Neto
(2006 – Current)

Hungary Hungary – 1998

Photo needed. Please contact the-board@intervac.org

Janos Rusz
( – 1998)

Pál Turcsán

Pál Turcsán
(2004 – 2010)

Mrs Borbala Reka Kiss

Mrs Borbala Reka Kiss
(2010 – 2011)

Alistair Binks

Alistair Binks
(2015 – 2016)

If you would like to be our agent in the Hungary, please contact Lucien Mazik

New Zealand New Zealand – 1999

Ketty (Catherine) Philips

Ketty (Catherine) and David Philips
(1999 – Current)

The Two-Thousands

The Rest of the World

Lucien Mazik

Lucien Mazik
Honarary President Intervac International (2000 – Current)

Argentina Argentina – 2001

Photo needed. Please contact the-board@intervac.org

Roberto Popper
(2001 – 2005)

Claudio Adrian Polito

Claudio Adrian Polito
(2005 – Current)

Australia Australia – 2001

Photo needed. Please contact the-board@intervac.org

Vereena Olisch
(2001 – 2004)

Brian Wilder

Brian & Helen Wilder
(2004 – 2010)

Ketty (Catherine) and David Philips
(2010 – Current)

 Barbados – 2004

Brian Barnes

Brian Barnes
(2004 – 2010)

If you are thinking about becoming our agent in Barbados, Lucien Mazikwants to hear from you.

India India

Photo needed. Please contact the-board@intervac.org

Walid Bei Hadj Amor
( – )

Photo needed. Please contact the-board@intervac.org

Prem Kumar Shersia
( – 2005)

Sanjeev MAHAJAN

Sanjeev MAHAJAN
(2005 – 2012)

Neelkamal Soni

Neelkamal Soni
(2015 – 2016)

If you are thinking about becoming our agent in India, Lucien Mazik wants to hear from you.

South Africa South Africa – 2006

Photo needed. Please contact the-board@intervac.org

Jürgen Tschepen
( – 2006)

Paula Crawford Brunt
(2006 – 2014)

Jaco van Wyk
(2015 – current)

Indonesia Indonesia – 2007

Photo needed. Please contact the-board@intervac.org

Lisa Michelle Crosby
(2007 – 2008)

If you are thinking about becoming our agent in the Dominican Republic, please contact Lucien Mazik

Costa Rica Costa Rica – 2008

Susan Herrera Jara

Susan Herrera Jara
(2008 – Current)

Russia Russia – 2009

Alexey Eirich

Alexey Eirich
(2009 – 2012)

Samson Simonyan

Samson Simonyan
(2016 – Current)

The Two-Thousand Tens

 Ecuador – 2010

Kenneth Farr

Kenneth Farr
(2010 – Current)

 Romania – 2010

Carmen Duta

Carmen Duta
(2010 – Current)

Japan Japan – 2011

Alain Kregine & Kimiyo Murata

Alain Kregine & Kimiyo Murata
(2003 – 2012)

If you are interested in becoming our agent in Japan, we’d love to hear from you. Contact Lucien Mazik

 China – 2013

Jacob Jiankeng

Jacob Jiankeng
(2013 – Current)

Slovakia Slovakia – 2013

Jana Olejarova & Viera van Heiningen

Jana Olejarova & Viera van Heiningen
(2013 – Current)

 Lithuania – 2013

Renaldas Vaisbrodas

Renaldas Vaisbrodas
(2013 – Current)

Mexico Mexico – 2014

Hans Brouwers & Angie Wegkamp

Hans Brouwers & Angie Wegkamp
(2014 – 2017)

If you are interested in becoming our agent in Mexico, we’d love to hear from you. Contact Lucien Mazik

 Bulgaria – 2015

Niko & Lina Georgieva

Niko & Lina Georgieva
(2015 – Current)

Thailand Thailand – 2015

Philippe Volkaerts

Philippe Volkaerts
(2015 – Current)

 Republic of Macedonia – 2016

Frosina Lazova

Frosina Lazova
(2016 – Current)

Slovenia Slovenia – 2016

Uroš Kristan

Uroš Kristan
(2016 – Current)

Dates, Lost In The Mists Of Time

Please contact Lucien Mazik or the editor if you can help us correct these entries. We’d really appreciate it.

 Chile

Photo needed. Please contact the-board@intervac.org

Sophie Rouchon
( – )

If you are thinking about becoming our agent in Chile, Lucien Mazik wants to hear from you.

Dominican Republic Dominican Republic

Rita Paiewonsky

Rita Paiewonsky
( – )

If you are thinking about becoming our agent in the Dominican Republic, please contact Lucien Mazik

History, Intervac

Intervac’s Pioneers

History, Intervac

Intervac through the years… from 1953 until today

During the early 1950s contact was developing between Teachers Unions in Europe as they began to work together and to cooperate for the improvement of conditions but more especially to improve understanding between people from different cultures and backgrounds. Already in the early part of the 1950s some teachers had realized that they could benefit most form the longer holidays they enjoyed if they could find a more economical way of traveling to other countries. The idea of Home Exchange Holidays was born in this realization. To exchange homes meant that they did not have any Hotel costs and could live in another home with just the normal costs of living. It would also provide the opportunity to live in a normal neighbourhood and not only in the developed tourist areas. This would provide the opportunity to learn about local culture, customs, etc. and to get to know the people.

In 1953 the leaders of the Swiss and Dutch Teacher Unions decided that a Home Exchange System for Holidays should be formally organized. Mr. A. Lehmann (1953 – 1961), Belp, Switzerland, made contact with Mr. G.J. Beltman (1953 – 1959) , Enter, Netherlands, in 1953 and the organization which would become known as Intervac International was born!

View Intervac AGMs in a larger map

Blue marks the sixties. Red marks the seventies. Green marks the eighties. Pink marks the nineties. Yellow marks the two thousands.

The Sixties

1969 – Paris, France – 1st INTERNATIONAL MEETING

  • Date: 2nd August 1969
  • Host: Lucien Mazik, French Organiser
  • Attended: France. Switzerland, Netherlands, Germany and Great Britain
  • Member Count: 869

The Seventies

1972 – London, England – 2nd INTERNATIONAL MEETING

  • Date: 1st August 1972
  • Hosted by: Hazel & Michale Nayar, GB Organisers.
  • Attended by Switzerland, Netherlands, Austria, Great Britain
  • Member Count: 780

1973 – Völkermarkt, Austria – 3rd INTERNATIONAL MEETING

  • Date: 31st July and 1st August 1973
  • Hosted by: Hans and Inge Winkler, AT Organisers
  • Attended by: Switzerland, Netherlands, France, Great Britain, Sweden, Finland
  • Member Count: 1127

A major decision at this AGM was to produce more formal catalogues in three languages rather than the photocopied lists that had been used until now. These catalogues would be issued 3 times per year.

1974 – Zeist, Netherlands – 4th INTERNATIONAL MEETING

    • Date: 6/7/8th August 1974
    • Hosted by Bert Vegter, Intervac NL.
    • Attended by: Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Great Britain, Sweden
    • Member Count: 1022

Intervac Organisers in Zeist

Intervac Organisers in Zeist.

1975 – Jönköping, Sweden – 5th INTERNATIONAL MEETING

  • Date: 6th August 1975
  • Hosted by Margareta and Karl Erik Gemfeldt – Intervac Sweden, .
  • At: Esso Hotel, Elmia in Jönköping
  • Attended by: Great Britain, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Austria.
  • Member Count: 1287

In order to assist the development of the Intervac ideal, it was decided to establish the Intervac International Fund.

1976 – St. Gallen, Switzerland – 6th INTERNATIONAL MEETING

  • Date: 3/4th August 1976
  • Hosted by: Heinrich Niedermann – Intervac CH.
  • Attended by: Austria, Germany, Denmark, Great Britain, Norway, Netherlands and the United States.
  • Member Count: 1439 members worldwide.

This year marked the beginning of our cooperation with David Ostroff of Vacation Exchange Club USA and with Hawaii Home Exchange Service.

1977 – Espergærde, Denmark – 7th INTERNATIONAL MEETING

  • Hosted by: Jens C.H. and Lone Lauritzen – Intervac DK.
  • Attended by: Austria, Great Britain, Sweden, Germany, France and the United States.

This year we were in contact with Mrs. Suzanne Barnard of HIL, another UK based Home Exchange organisation with a view to collaboration. It was agreed that Intervac International was no longer just a Home Exchange Service for teachers but must be open to all and catalogues would state the occupation of each member. It was also agreed that there would be two printing centers: in Stuttgart for Europe and in New York for the US and Canada.

1978 – Tours, France – 8th INTERNATIONAL MEETING

  • Date: 2/3/4th August 1978
  • Hosted by Lucien Mazik – Intervac FR.
  • Attended by: Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Great Britain, Ireland, Netherlands, Sweden, the United States and a representative from Hawaii Home Exchange Service

This meeting represents an important event in the history of Intervac since it saw the development of Intervac on a worldwide basis to be achievable. Decisions made included direct mailing of catalogues in Europe from Germany, two catalogues instead of three would be printed and photographs would be included in catalogues, unlisted membership possible.

1979: Brussels, Belgium – 9th INTERNATIONAL MEETING

  • Date: 24/25th July, 1979
  • Hosted by: Intervac Belgium
  • Attended by: Denmark, Luxembourg, Germany, France, Switzerland, Great Britain, Netherlands, and the United States.

Agreement was reached on standardization of codes to be used in the catalogues.

The Eighties

1980 – Stuttgart, Germany – 10th INTERNATIONAL WORLD WIDE AGM

  • Hosted by: Dieter and Helge Günzler – Intervac Germany
  • Dates: 29/30th July 1980.
  • Attended by: Belgium, Switzerland, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Sweden and the United States.

A decision was taken to cooperate with HIL (GB) Mrs. Suzanne Barnard. Also present at the meeting were new contacts from Italy: Gaby Zabobetti, Bologna, and Dan Arbel, Herzliya, Israel, current Organiser in Israel.

1981 – New York, USA

  • Hosted by: David Ostroff
  • Attended by: Sweden, Denmark, Great Britain, Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and France.

Present also was Maria Angeles SAS, the current Intervac Organiser for Spain.

Intervac International was restructured at this meeting creating a Board of Directors (BD) which would meet between AGMs to manage the affairs of Intervac. The first BD elected was composed of the Organisers for the Netherlands, France, and Denmark. Maria Angeles SAS was elected as Organiser for Spain.

1982 – Gjøvik, Norway

  • Hosted by: Intervac Norway
  • Attended by: Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, Ireland, Luxembourg, Great Britain, the United States and Sweden

Intervac

Intervac Organisers in Norway at the meeting.

1983 – Drogheda, Ireland

  • Hosted by: Frank and Hilary Kelly, Intervac Ireland.
  • Attended by: Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Denmark, Luxembourg, Sweden, the Netherlands, France, the United States and Norway.

Additionally, a prospective Organiser from Costa Rica also attended the meeting.

In 1983 we celebrated the 30th Anniversary of Intervac.

Cutting

The 2 most senior Organisers: Hazel Nayer (RIP) GB and Heinrich Niedermann CH with Frank Kelly – IRL – getting ready to cut the anniversary cake.

The

30th Anniversary cake!!

The Eighties Continued

  • 1984 – Spain
  • 1985 – Italy
  • 1986 – Völkermarkt, Austria
  • 1987 – Derby, United Kingdom
  • 1988 – Yngsjö-Kristianstad, Sweden
  • 1989 – Athens Greece

The Nineties

1990 – Tiburon, California, USA

  • Hosted by: Intervac US
  • Attended by:

Intervac

Intervac Organisers in Tiburon at the Annual General Meeting.

The Nineties Continued

  • 1991 – Brûgge, Belgium
  • 1992 – Switzerland

1993 – Lisbon, Portugal: 40th Anniversary!

  • Date: 25 – 27 of July 1993
  • Hosted by: Intervac Portugal
  • At: Hotel Alif

1994 – Reykavik, Iceland

  • Hosted by: Elisa Kwaszenko – Intervac IS

1995 – Tours France

  • Hosted by: Lucien Mazik – Intervac FR

1996 – Calgary, Canada

  • Hosted by: Richard Rysak and Suzanne Cassin – Intervac CA

1997 – Oosterbeck, Netherlands

  • Hosted by: Roel and Willemien Eissen – Intervac NL

1998 – Copenhagen, Denmark

  • Hosted by: Intervac Denmark

1999 – Prague, Czech Republic

  • Hosted by: Intervac Czech Republic

The Two-Thousands

2000 – Helsinki, Finland

  • Hosted by: Mervi Luostarinen – Intervac FI

Intervac

Intervac Organisers in Helsinki at the Annual General Meeting.

2001 – Madrid, Spain

  • Hosted by: Maria Angeles-Sas – Intervac Spain

Meeting

Meeting room in Madrid at the Annual General Meeting.

2002 – Krakow, Poland

  • Hosted by Ewa & Stanislaw Krupscy – Intervac Poland

2003 – Pontresina, Switzerland: 50th Anniversary!

50

  • Hosted by: Claudia and Iso Niedermann – Intervac Switzerland

Intervac

Meeting room in Pontresina at the Annual General Meeting.

2004 – Catolica, Italy

  • Hosted by: Gaby Zanobetti – Intervac Italy

2005 – Drogheda, Ireland

  • Hosted by: Frank and Hilary Kelly – Intervac Ireland

2006 – Rhodos, Greece

  • Hosted by: Stathis Mihos & Maria Karakiza – Intervac Greece

2007 – Ahus, Sweden

  • Hosted by The Family Gemfeldt – Intervac Sweden

2007

Intervac Organizers in Ahus at the Annual General Meeting.

2008 – Great Britain

  • Hosted by: Brian and Leslie Hayes – Intervac Great Britain

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2009 – Sarpsborg, Norway

  • Hosted by: H.J. Kjell Kristiansen – Intervac Norway

The Two-Thousand Tens

2010 – Lisbon, Portugal

  • Hosted by: Ana Neto – Intervac Portugal

2011 – Leuven, Belgium

  • Hosted by: Jempi and Yolande de Cooman – Intervac Belgium

Intervac

2012 – Bologna, Italy

  • Hosted by: Gaby Zanobetti – Intervac Italy

Intervac

2013 – Berlin, Germany: 60th Anniversary!

  • Hosted by: Leoni Günzler – Intervac Germany

Intervac

To Sixty Years of Home Exchange! Cheers, Intervac!

Intervac

2014 – La Rochelle, France

  • Hosted by: Kristina and Olivier Caillaud – Intervac France
  • Date: 24-27 April, 2014

Welcome

Welcome to La Rochelle. More photos at {:href => “https://www.facebook.com/IntervacHomeexchange/photos/a.791995410840290.1073741850.180133322026505/792042870835544/?type=3&theater”, :title => “Link to Facebook slideshow”} our Facebook slideshow.

Intervac

Intervac organizers annual group photo.

2015 – Copenhagen, Denmark

  • Hosted by: Michael Støvelbæk – Intervac Denmark
  • Date: 23-25 April, 2015

Intervac

A General Meeting to remember!

2016 – Amsterdam, Netherlands

  • Hosted by: Roel and Willemien Eissen – Intervac Netherlands
  • Date: April, 2016

Intervac

Busy in the meeting room

2017 – Corfu, Greece

  • Hosted by: Giannis Krikis – Maria Theofanous – Intervac Greece
  • Date: 28-30 April, 2017

Intervac

Beautiful Corfu in April. Nearly everyone was present.

Home exchange stories, Intervac

Intervac Ambassadors

We are always looking for experienced members interested in helping us spread the word about Intervac and home-exchange. If you are an experienced Intervac member and would like to help us spread the word about Intervac and home exchange, we invite you to become an ambassador. Simply e-mail us at editor@intervac.com and tell us your name, email and why would you be a great Intervac Ambassador!

Currently our ambassadors are:

Belgium Belgium – BE01020

Phil Marcisz

Marcisz Family

In 2013 our family decided to go for a richer and more adventurous holiday experience. We had heard about exchanging houses but had the impression that it was something ‘to good to be true’. But … we took the step and joined Intervac. A couple of months later we made our first exchange in Gent. Short but very sweet … and during that exchange we got in touch with a Swedish family for a second exchange. We were amazed that things went so smooth and enjoyed the talks with the other families. We ended up doing 3 exchanges in our first year. Now (after more than 10 successful exchanges) we can say that we are really ‘hooked’. When we think about ‘vacation’ we think about exchanging houses through Intervac.

But it’s more than planning a vacation. It’s about meeting (new) people, experiencing their local life and enjoying a warm feeling of trust. After more than 10 exchanges we still are amazed about the generosity of most exchangers. Sharing is fun and makes a holiday much richer. Every exchange (far or close) is a new adventure for our family. Over the past year we encouraged several people to give it a try. Some did … and really liked it for the right reasons. For us, exchanging houses is more than a cheap(er) holiday and that’s the positive message we try to give to people.

Italy Italia – IT1005642

Laura Dossena

Laura Dossena

I am a 40 something freelance translator who absolutely loves traveling, see places, try new things. A few years ago, in 2008, I read about this “strange” thing called home exchange and I thought “It’s too good to be true!”. I spoke about it with my husband and let’s just say he was easily convinced. I know that’s not always the case in a couple, so… I am very lucky!

Home exchange turned out to be true indeed, and even better than I imagined. I have been trying to convey a small part of the awesomeness that is home exchange writing about it in my blog, but I have to admit it’s really difficult.

So when I read on Intervac newsletter about the ambassador initiative, I jumped at the opportunity. I will be honored and proud to share and spread the home exchange word as an Intervac ambassador, because I think there’s really no better way to travel, to know people and culture, to be citizens of the world, and ultimately to understand that we are really the same, from Sweden to Italy, from Paris to Vancouver to Modesto (CA). In this moment in history, I think no lesson is more important than that.

Portugal Portugal – PT021

Alfredo Magalhães

Alfredo Magalhães Family

We are a couple who likes to travel, to know new places, new people and new ways of living. That’s why we enjoy staying in a city or region for several days. We think that the Intervac is the ideal organization for this purpose. Sometimes my children join us. But they are working now and they don’t have much time to travel, while we’re retired and can do what we like and whenever we like.

When we have the opportunity we always talk about this way of travelling, exchanging homes, and we show its advantages. But there are still many people who don’t feel confident with this kind of exchange. We intend to go on spreading and promoting this way of travelling and demystifying the false dangers which people are afraid of.

India India – INOC0501

Hiren Goradia

Hiren Goradia Family

Hello! We are a family from India who love travelling and have been doing so since 25 years. My parents also accompany us on most of our trips. I am a Civil Engineer whereas my wife is a travel consultant. We live in Mumbai and the home in Pune is our beloved second home which we have since 30 years. We just love home exchanges as we meet wonderful people (on most occasions), explore the area at leisure and being vegetarian, get to prepare and eat our own food! Most of our exchange partners become our friends and we continue keeping in touch even after the exchange. Try out the Intervac way of seeing the world – mail me or call me anytime and I would be delighted to assist with any queries you may have!!

France France – FR110198

Michèle Grangé-Martins

Michèle Grangé-Martins

Je suis adhérente depuis 1990, lorsque l’on faisait les échanges avec le catalogue et les courriers, à cette époque j’ai échangé ma maison à Villandry en Touraine (37) une dizaine de fois. Ensuite, j’ai adopté un garçon Brésilien et je me suis consacrée à une autre aventure. Nous avons repris les échanges depuis l’année dernière et j’aimerai en faire davantage mais mon compagnon travaille encore!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Cette année, nous avons fait un échange avec des bretons que nous avons accueillis autour d un déjeuner très agréable pour pouvoir échanger et ensuite nous sommes partis chez eux en Bretagne. Récemment, nous avons accueilli des espagnols en échange non simultané dans notre logement disponible pendant 2 semaines et nous partirons en juillet en Galice. Enfin, nous terminerons l’été avec un échange pour Amsterdam. J’aime cette formule où nous rencontrons des personnes variées, respectueuses de nos lieux et où nous pouvons multiplier à l’infini les possibilités de visites et de nouvelles opportunités; je parle anglais et comprend l’espagnol, j’aime partager mes expériences dans de nombreux domaines afin d’offrir à chacun des rencontres inoubliables en les agrémentant avec nos excellences personnelles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ainsi, les échanges deviennent incroyablement vivants, intéressants et passionnants.


I am a member since 1990, when Intervac was with the paper catalog and postal mail, at that time I exchanged my house of Villandry, in Touraine (37) ten times. Then I adopted a Brazilian boy and I spent another adventure. We are now exchanging our home again since last year and I’d like to make more exchanges but my partner is still working!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This year, we made an exchange with a Breton family that we have received in our home and we shared together a very pleasant lunch in order to exchange and then we left home in Brittany. Recently, we hosted Spanish members for a non-simultaneous exchange in our accommodation available for 2 weeks and we will go next July in Galicia. Finally, we will finish the summer with an exchange in Amsterdam. I like this formula where we meet friendly people and various places and for which we can multiply indefinitely sightseeing and get new opportunities; I speak English and understand Spanish, I like to share my experiences in many areas in order to offer everyone an unforgettable encounters adorning them with our personal excellence !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ! Thus, the exchanges become incredibly alive, interesting and exciting.

France France – FR010240

Luc & Claudie JEANMASSON

Luc & Claudie Jeanmasson

Nous sommes deux enseignants, bientôt en retraite, et nous sommes inscrits à Intervac depuis 1989 et avons réalisé plus de quarante échanges en France, Europe (une dizaine de pays différents), aux Etats-Unis et au Canada. Actuellement nous habitons en Auvergne, mais dès l’an prochain nous serons en Bretagne, non loin de Paimpol. Cette expérience d’ambassadeurs nous tente parce que nous sommes ravis de partager notre enthousiasme pour les échanges et d’aider de nouveaux adhérents. Notre premier échange était au pays basque en 1989 et depuis nous avons vu évoluer Intervac, matériellement (du papier à l’informatique) et aussi dans l’esprit, du fait de  l’augmentation du nombre d’inscrits. Aussi, ce qui nous intéresse dans le rôle d’ambassadeur, c’est de perpétuer le caractère associatif d’Intervac, et d’affirmer sa spécificité par rapport à d’autres sites d’échange. Nous avons souvent été sollicités par ces organismes sans jamais céder à la tentation du changement, caprice généré par la société marchande : adhérent, oui, client, non. Enfin, passionnés par la découverte d’autres cultures, notre première motivation est d’abord faire découvrir, comprendre et partager celle de notre pays, de notre région (sans chauvinisme aucun : il y a toujours là où l’on vit des trésors humains ou naturels surprenants). Echanger, voyager : humanisme et ouverture d’esprit.


We are both teachers, retired soon, and we are Intervac members since 1989: more than forty exchanges in France, Europe (ten countries), the United States and Canada. Currently we live in Auvergne, but next year we will be in Brittany, close to Paimpol. This experience of ambassadors tempts us because we love to share our enthusiasm for home exchange and help new members. Our first exchange was in the French Basque country in 1989 and since we have seen evolve Intervac materially (from paper catalogue to Internet website) and also in the spirit, because of the increased number of its members. Also, our motivation in the role of ambassador is to perpetuate the associative nature of Intervac, and to affirm its specificity compared to other homeexchange websites. We have often been solicited by these websites without ever yielding to the temptation of change, whim generated by the market society: member, yes, customer, no. Finally, passionate about discovering other cultures, our primary motivation is first to make discover, understand and share our, our country and our region (without any chauvinism: there is always where you live human or natural surprising treasures). Switching, travel: humanism and openness.

Canada Canada – CA1259

Gilles & Monique Pelletier

Gilles & Monique Pelletier

Je suis membre actif depuis l’an 2000. Nous avons toujours été ravis de nos expériences : du côté culturel et humain. Nous sommes restés en contact avec plusieurs des amis que nous nous sommes faits lors de ces échanges. Nous sommes devenus Ambassadeurs d’abord pour pouvoir partager les expériences que nous avons vécues, ma femme et moi ; ensuite pour aider les futurs membres qui auraient besoin de conseils pour manœuvrer dans ce beau concept qu’est Intervac. Je suis enseignant retraité qui a bien apprécié effectuer des échanges de maisons. Je crois maintenant pouvoir aider et répondre aux questions des Canadiens qui aimeraient se joindre à notre concept. Peut-être aussi effacer les peurs qu’ont certains à « prêter » leurs biens.


We have been active members since 2000 and have always been delighted with our experiences, both on the cultural, and human side. We remain in contact with many of the friends we have made during these exchanges. We became Ambassadors, my wife and I, to share our experiences and to help future members with advice for getting around in this beautiful concept that is Intervac. I am a retired teacher and I especially wish to help and answer questions from Canadians who would like to learn more about the concept of home exchange. Perhaps I can also to erase the fears that some have of “lending” their property.

History, Home exchange stories, Intervac

Third generation exchangers

3rd_generation_intervac
Beltman the Founder to Beltman the Grandson

We owe a lot to our organisers who have long been a devoted part of Intervac, Roel and Willemien Eissen among them. They have been responsible for excellent membership development in the Netherlands since 1978. Recently Roel, writing about our history, said:

You can read on our Faces of Intervac page, in 1953, there began formal contact between the Dutch National Teachers Union (NOV) and the Swiss Teachers Union (SLV). At various Congress-Meetings, Mr. Gerrit Beltman for the Netherlands (NL) and Mr. Lehmann for Switzerland, go to know each other well and privately started to make home-exchange holidays.

This idea of home-exchange worked so well, they extended and developed it further to benefit the members of their Unions. Many successful holidays later this is the seed that has developed into our worldwide Intervac organisation.

All this has struck my mind again, after I had not thought about our history it for some time. However, it suddenly hit my attention when I had a pleasant telephone-conversation some weeks ago with one of our NL-members. The lady just told me, that her husband is a grandson of Mr. Beltman.

Home Exchange – A Family Way of Life

Not only has home exchange really enriched our lives with many nice contacts and stories of holidays, friendships, but I am also very pleased to know that the name Beltman is still enthusiastically being used inside Intervac.

If you are interested in exchanging with our now-famous first-family in the Netherlands, here is a link to their listing.