How did you find your exchange?
I contacted a member from the HomeExchange community.
What attracted you to this exchange opportunity?
When we exchange with our homes in Europe, we like to go to a City first to explore and then end our vacation with some sort of beach experience. I thought it would be great if we could spend a week touring Amsterdam and surrounding areas from a historic building/home right on the canal and then go explore the island of Mallorca from a beautiful home near the beaches with a pool. I was right!
How was your arrival at the home?
Our host in Amsterdam actually met us at the Schipol Airport -- they were leaving as we were arriving. It was great, because we don't usually get to meet our hosts as we have only done simultaneous exchanges. We got the keys and Uber'd to the home. Everything was as discussed with directions and recommendations for sight-seeing and eating. For the second leg of our trip, we arrived at the home in Mallorca and were greeted by the host's good friend. She showed us around and, again, we had a wealth of information regarding local sights, beaches, etc. There was a lot of email communication with both hosts prior to leaving Canada as well.
What did you see or do during your exchange?
In Amsterdam we visited several museums (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam Museum, MOCO museum, Ann Frank museum), went on a canal cruise with Those Dam Boat Guys (great), rented bikes and toured the countryside north of Amsterdam, toured through all of the neighbourhoods, went to Vondelpark, A'Dam Lookout, Pllek beach. We shopped and ate and drank at some wonderful places -- even though we had our host's car, we did not use it as Amsterdam public transportation is so good. In Mallorca we used the host's vehicles and toured all over the island -- went to local markets, found all the different beaches, cliff jumped, visited medieval walled towns, ate in some amazing restaurants and wandered around the city of Palma for several of the days.
What is your favorite memory from the exchange?
Hard to pick one single memory as a favorite! The beautiful beaches and cliff jumping in Mallorca. The nightlife and energy of Amsterdam. Our three teenaged boys came with us and it was truly a trip of a lifetime.
How would you describe home exchange to your family and friends?
Home exchanging has revolutionized our vacation experience. Not only has it allowed us to take longer, more inexpensive vacations, but the quality of our vacation is so far superior. Staying in someone's home and immersing yourself in their lifestyle/town/country cannot be compared to staying in an impersonal hotel or VRBO. We have been able to travel as a family to Europe (3x), Bali and 4 exchanges to San Diego, California, where we can visit our relatives but have our own home. our boys were in French Immersion at school, and traveling and home exchanging in small towns in France was invaluable to their learning the language.