Susan tells us about her family's home exchange in Thailand.
How did you find your exchange?
I contacted the other member in search of an exchange.
What attracted you to this exchange opportunity?
After our first year of membership we realised that we needed to be a bit more pro-active in finding an exchange, rather than just waiting to see which offers turned up in our inbox. So...we drew up a bucket list of places to visit and right at the top of our list was Thailand. We decided on Phuket for its location and beautiful beaches, sent out a few personalised offers and crossed our fingers. Thankfully we got lucky and found a property which was available for a GuestPoints exchange.
How was your arrival at the home?
We arrived at our villa (after two grueling long haul flights) and gained access effortlessly, using the code for the key safe which had been provided before hand. Unfortunately, our host was out of the country and it was a shame that we did not get the opportunity to meet him and thank him personally for the holiday of a lifetime.
The villa exceeded our expectations in every way. The accommodation was spotlessly clean and had everything required for a first night. Chilled drinks, tea/coffee and a folder detailing all the necessary information, including recommendations for eating out and getting around the island.
What did you see or do during your exchange?
Our exchange in Thailand was the perfect balance of relaxation and sightseeing. We enjoyed lazy days by the pool, in between going on fantastic excursions. One of our many highlights was visiting Phi Phi Island, featured in the film "The Beach". I actually cried tears of joy when I landed there, as it had been a life long dream of mine to visit (much to my kids amusement). We also visited the infamous stack which is featured in the James Bond film "The Man with the Golden Gun". Another highlight was snorkeling for the first time in the crystal clear waters of a beautiful secluded cove, followed by a romantic walk along a deserted sand bank in the middle of the ocean. Absolutely unforgettable!
What is your favorite memory from the exchange?
My most favourite memory of our time in Thailand was of our first morning. Since we had arrived the night before, it was pitch black and we had been exhausted after the long journey from Scotland. As I opened the curtains in my sons bedroom, we were greeted with what I can only describe as a tropical paradise with a path leading directly to the most beautiful turquoise infinity pool. The look on my son's face I will never forget. Better than any Christmas morning. Absolutely priceless!
How would you describe home exchange to your family and friends?
I am forever boring my friends and family about our travels and adventures which we get through the wonders of home exchanging. Opportunities and destinations which would otherwise be out of our financial reach. We also have the added benefit of having our guests look after our cat. Not only does this avoid her becoming stressed, but it also means we don't have the additional expense of paying cattery fees.
To be perfectly honest, our only regret about house swapping is that we didn't join home exchange sooner.