Jeff and his family recently spent three weeks in Arlington, Massachusetts, enjoying a family-friendly vacation with many amazing memories. Jeff shared his home swapping story and his favorite experiences from his years of traveling with HomeExchange.
What did you appreciate most about the home you stayed in?
We loved that there was plenty of room for our kids to spread out a bit. We had a lot of fun playing foosball and darts and they had a comfortable entertainment area where we could relax and watch the Olympics each evening after exploring during the day.
What did you appreciate most about your exchange partner?
They were new to home exchanging, but they asked a lot of questions and had great communication the whole way. We actually got to meet at our home for a few hours before our flight which was great for getting to know them.
What did you see or do during your exchange?
What didn't we do? We always make it a point to do the things that we just can't at home. Some of our highlights this year included: sailing on an America's Cup yacht, watching the USA take on the Dominican Republic in a polo match, and candlepin bowling. We took in lots of historical sights surrounding the birthplace of our nation and we managed to visit 25 colleges in 22 days as my son is a junior in high school.
What is one of your best memories or experiences from a home exchange?
This is an impossible question. Roaming around Old Town San Diego, taking a train to the "Top of Europe" in Switzerland, hanging out on the beaches of northern Spain, jet boating on the St. Lawrence River, seeing all the sunflowers in the south of France...all of these experiences were made possible through HomeExchange.
What would you say to your friends and family who are considering HomeExchange?
Everyone immediately expresses concern about having "strangers" stay in their home. But they aren't strangers by the time you actually exchange. By that time, you have been communicating for months.
The majority of our trips have resulted in friendships with our exchange partners long after the exchange is over. In fact, our first exchange partner from ten years ago invited our daughter to spend spring break with her last year. So I would say it's an incredible way to see the world and make new friends along the way.
What tips and tricks would you give to new HomeExchangers?
Put together a cheat sheet for the people who will be staying in your home that includes how to use/find things in your home and what the expectations are while they are there.