If you took a look at our bags when we travel, you might think we've packed everything but the kitchen sink. The reality is that the kitchen sink awaits at our destination. As a family affected by food allergy, celiac disease and diabetes, having access to a kitchen is a crucial component of a successful trip. Options are increasing for those who want to cook, including suites, extended-stay hotels, and condos. My personal favorite is a home exchange. This is a fantastic way to travel!
Swapping homes is an affordable way to see the world -- or to see your own country. There are a number of home exchange networks: Intervac, HomeLink, Homeexhange, Digsville and more. Admittedly, if you reside in California, New York City or Florida, you'll have more options. If you live in rural Nebraska, you may have a harder time finding a family to swap homes with.
But you never know, maybe a former exchange student wants to return with his family and acquaint himself with the area again. That's exactly what happened to us. We live in a medium-sized city in the Midwest that does not top the list of places that most foreign visitors would choose in the US and yet we've had plenty of offers. They include: central London, France, Finland, the Netherlands, Ireland, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Hungary and several locations in the U.S. including Alaska.
Our friends and family have been shocked that we would consider the option of swapping homes! We've been asked a number of questions.
What about your stuff?
This concern tops the list. My husband jokes that we don't sweat the small stuff anymore after raising three kids in our house. It has definitely been broken in. If you're worried about certain valuable items, they can be brought to a friend or relative's house. And your financial files? Again, if you don't have a locking file cabinet, you could put them into portable file units and cart them there, too.
Doesn't the thought of a stranger sleeping in your bed bother you?
Have you ever slept in a hotel bed? Think of how many people have laid down in those beds. Thousands… No, it doesn't bother me. By the time you do the exchange, you're no longer strangers anyway.
How can you trust a stranger?
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