Was that Home Exchange or House Swap?



You say Vacation, I say Holiday.

Summer vacations are here, why not have a bit of fun in your travels and live like a local? 

We all have out ways of saying things, the following is a bit of fun on ‘speaking the same language for vacations and Holiday. 

Ring … Ring …  Ring…

Cecil:  Hello.
           
Jeb:      Hello there. I read your message about doing a home exchange – my log cabin in the mountains of Georgia for your place in Hampstead – is that right?

Cecil:    Correct, sir.  I saw your listing on the IVHE.com (International Vacation Home Exchange) web site and the exchange coordinator arranged for us to communicate.  

Jeb:      Great, we’ve wanted to do a direct vacation swap someplace where they speak English.  Do you mind if I ask you a few questions first?

Cecil:    Not at all. And I’ll have a few for you.

Jeb:      Okay, you say your place is a flat in Hampstead – a flat what?

Cecil:    A guess you would call it an apartment.

Jeb:      Oh, a flat apartment?  No stairs?

Cecil:    It’s a split level.

Jeb:      So, it’s not flat?  Kinda step-uppy?

Cecil:    I suppose. Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?

Jeb:      Let ‘er rip.

Cecil:    You say its two and a half bath?  Sorry, but what is a “half bath”?

Jeb:      The third bathroom doesn’t have a bath.

Cecil:    So, it’s a lavatory without a tub or a shower?

Jeb:      Yeah, that, but there is a sink and a commode.

Cecil:    Right. Indoors, I presume?

Jeb:      You betcha.  We upgraded last fall.

Cecil:  Did someone fall in your lavatory?  Oh, dear.

Jeb:      No, we put in indoor plumbing when the leaves started to turn.

Cecil:  Oh, I see.  Last autumn.

Jeb:      Yep. Say, do you have one of those spray things next to the toilet?

Cecil:    If you mean a bidet, yes we do, in the master bedroom ensuite.

Jeb:      Ellie May, my cousin Buella’s girl, warned us about them. She got turbo charged in all the wrong places when she used one at a fancy hotel in Vegas.

Cecil:    It is quite safe, sir. We’ll leave a diagram and instructions on how to use it.

Jeb:      Great. So, okay, your not-so-flat apartment is located on High Street? How high is it?

Cecil:    That would be the main street in town, and it’s not high at all.       

Jeb:      Then why do you call it … never mind. 

Cecil:    Shall we talk about your kitchen?

Jeb:      Okee dokee.

Cecil:    What kind of cooker do you have?

Jeb:      My old lady most of the time, but she doesn’t come with the house.

Cecil:    I mean the appliance – gas?  Electric?  Wood burning?

Jeb:      Yes.

Cecil:    And in the bedroom, do you have a wardrobe?

Jeb:      I do. Mostly denim pants and flannel shirts. Why?

Cecil:  Your underwear is denim?  Never mind, where do you keep your, er, wardrobe?

Jeb:      In a chifferobe, big ol’ cedar one. Makes your pants smell real good.

Cecil:  I’m sure.

Jeb:      Okay, my turn.  Are you close to a subway?

Cecil:    Yes, actually.  You can catch one right across the street.

Jeb:      Great.  I love their sandwiches.

Cecil:    I mean there is a tube station across the street. You won’t need a car to get around.

Jeb:      Wouldn’t want one.  You guys still drive on the left, huh?

Cecil:    You’re right.  You wouldn’t want one. Does your car have a spare tyre under your bonnet just in case?

Jeb:      No, my spare tire is over my belt buckle.   My old lady wears a bonnet when she works in the garden, but there’s nothing under it … wait a minute, did I say that?

Cecil:    Oh, lovely. You have a garden?

Jeb:      Sure do.  We grow eggplant, zucchini, and rutabagas.

Cecil:    Are those flowers? They sound exotic.

Jeb:      Ha, ha. You’re funny.

Cecil:    We’re looking for a quiet country retreat where we can watch the sun go down over woodlands and be awakened by the cock’s crow.

Jeb:      Will roosters do?

Cecil:    Quite. And what are you really looking for?

Jeb:      A few days in a big foreign city. We want to do and see things we can’t do or see at home.

Cecil:    You’ll find endless possibilities here.

Jeb:                 So, what do you think? Your not-so-flat flat sounds good to me.  Does our little country cabin work for you?

Cecil:    Yes, I think so.  I’ll confirm the exchange on IVHE (www.ivhe.com), this sounds like fun. 

Jeb:      Sounds good. You sure do talk funny, but I like you.

Ready to experience something new and save thousands of dollars, euros, pounds or yen in the process, try home exchange and travel the world.  InternationalVacation Home Exchange (IVHE.com) members save an average of $2,650 for every 7 nights of vacations. 


New to the concept of home exchange or house swap, visit www.ivhe.com and download a free Home Exchange Guide to learn many hints and tips.  

Home exchange to do list



Did I turn off the coffee maker?
Photo source: flickr, Dar'ya Sipyeykina
Your long-awaited vacation time is drawing closer. You’ve booked your International Vacation Home Exchange property and personally chatted with the owner about the home and the best ways to enjoy the destination. You’ve outlined your itinerary for each day, made reservations at restaurants, ordered tickets for shows and performances, and booked escorted tours. Everything is planned to make the most of your time, and you absolutely, positively cannot wait to get there. Before you rush out the door, check your going-away to-do list one last time.

If you are venturing out on a credits trade – a non-simultaneous exchange – then your home will be left unattended. There are, of course, a myriad of things to tend to before you lock the door behind you. Checklists are helpful, but your own situation and how long you will be away should dictate what to put on it; nevertheless, here are a few key words and phrases as reminders:
  • Mail
  • Voice mail
  • Bill payments
  • Indoor plants
  • Garbage/rubbish
  • Lawn maintenance
  • Pool maintenance
  • Doors, windows and locks
  • Alarm company
  • Car care (if leaving it home)
  • Pet sitter
  • Air conditioner setting
  • Lighting timers
  • Cut off gas stove and shut off water lines
  • Unplug computer and any appliance subject to power-surge damage
  • Clean out the fridge and dry perishables bin
  • Wash dishes and coffee pot
  • Give a set of keys to someone who will be checking on your house – this person should also be given a copy of your basic travel plans and itinerary, and the land-line telephone number at your IVHE home in case of emergency.

If you are doing a direct swap – a simultaneous exchange – then your home will be occupied by a guest who will be your host in his/her home. Obviously, you will need to coordinate the time and place for key-exchanges and property orientation. If you cannot be there, then a property manager, caretaker, friend or relative should be appointed to handle the meet-and-greet and walk-through orientation. This should include a briefing on anything in the home that needs operating instructions. Don’t assume that everyone knows how to operate your TV remote.

Planning for emergencies and your guests’ safety and convenience should be as detailed as your travel and activities planning.

Emergency Contacts and Procedures
Most hosts leave emergency information in an easily accessible loose-leaf or three-ring binder. It should contain names and numbers of who to contact and procedures to follow in case of an emergency. Whoever conducts your guest orientation should point this out and review certain items with your guest.
  • Fire, police or ambulance (911 emergency number in the US)
  • Poison Control
  • Nearest Hospital
  • Nearest drug store/chemist/pharmacy
  • Nearest shop for eyeglass replacement
  • Utility company emergency numbers
  • Locations of fire extinguishers, fire escapes, water shut-off valves, fuse box or circuit-breakers.
  • How to reach you if necessary – telephone numbers, contacts. Leave a copy of your itinerary. Alternatively, the numbers for property managers, caretakers, friends or relatives who can help if needed.
  • Nearby veterinarians and animal hospitals for guests bringing pets
Helpful Information
Any helpful information you can provide your guest will be appreciated. If you were the guest, what would you add to this list?
  • Public transportation routes, stops and fares.
  • Taxi cab or car-service telephone numbers or web addresses
  • Local tourist guides, directories and web-site addresses for tourist information
  • Your recommendations for restaurants, cafes, bars and nightspots
  • Operating instructions for TV remotes, home-entertainment devices, office equipment, kitchen equipment, gas grills, air conditioning thermostats, or anything in the home that requires more than flipping the on/off switch. 
Check lists and to-do lists are all about peace of mind and giving yourself or a fellow IVHE guest a wonderful, safe vacation experience. Of course there are other travel check lists regarding your personal health, travel and financial documents, insurance, passports, credit cards, travelers checks, etc., but that’s a whole ‘nuther blog.
If you are not a member of the International Vacation Home Exchange and would like to find out more about it, visit us at www.ivhe.com .

Blogsmith: Mike DiPrima



Cape Cod Home Exchange



Cape Cod: A Summer IVHE Place By The Sea



Photo source: flickr, NASA 

Cape Cod juts out into the Atlantic Ocean from the U.S. State of Massachusetts like a muscle-flexing arm. Given its heritage of tough pioneers, sea captains, whaling ships, and steadfast lighthouses, a matcho metaphor is quite appropriate. But then along came songstress Patti Page in 1957 with her hit “Old Cape Cod” to soften the edges with romance. She sang of “sand dunes and salty air, and quaint little villages here and there.” She crooned softly about “the taste of a lobster stew served by a window with an ocean view,” and of wanting to forever stay after “watching the moonlight on Cape Cod Bay.” Tourists have been drawn to the Cape during the summer months for years, but Patti spurred it as never before. 

Vacation homes are all over the cape from Provincetown on the northeastern end to the southwest corner at Falmouth and the island of Martha’s Vineyard. From Falmouth to Provincetown is a driving distance of only 65 miles, but if you stopped at each of the 15 towns along the way (not including the small villages within each) and took in their historic places, parks, beaches, antique shops, galleries, museums and seafood restaurants, it would take you days.

Summer events are another reason to visit the Cape. The annual Pops by the Sea concert featuring the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra on the Hyannis Village Green is the Cape’s largest cultural event. The proceeds from ticket sales support The Arts Foundation of Cape Cod. The 2014 concert will be held August 10. For details and ticket information, click: www.artsfoundation.org/pops-by-the-sea.

There are three IVHE vacation home swap opportunities on the cape: one on the upper cape near Falmouth, one on the lower cape at Brewster, and one on Martha’s Vineyard Island near Edgartown.
Falmouth/Waquoit


Waquoit is Falmouth’s smallest village. Much of the area is open waters, marshes, barrier beaches, sand dunes, pine and oak forests, and sand plain grasslands, giving visitors a glimpse of Cape Cod before development. The visitor center at the Waquoit Bay Estuarine Research Reserve is a living laboratory in the state park system and an ideal spot to start an exploration of the natural Cape Cod.

Your home exchange in Waquoit i surrounded on three sides by conservation land and has views of the Moonakis River. But civilization is a clam’s-shell throw away. The home offers easy access to the attractions, restaurants, cafes, ice-cream parlors, and shopping of both Falmouth and Mashpee. 
It has three bedrooms, three en-suites, a half bath, and can comfortably sleep eight people. Stainless, granite and soapstone highlight the fully-equipped gourmet kitchen. There is a breakfast room with early morning sun, and a dining room with an expandable table that will seat up to ten. For outdoor entertaining and dining, you have a 60-foot deck with outdoor grill and comfortable casual furniture.

Brewster


Brewster is an historic town on Cape Cod’s bay side. It has over 325 acres of beach and marshlands and several ponds over 10 acres in size. More than a third of Brewster’s land is devoted to conservation, open space, recreation and watershed protection. The drinking water is pure, the golf on two championship courses is beautifully challenging, and the outdoor recreation activities at Nickerson State Park range from trail biking, to camping to freshwater swimming, fishing and boating. Historic Route 6A, the old “King’s Highway,” runs through Brewster and is lined with art galleries, craft shops, and antique stores just made for browsing.

Property #0356: - Brewster

Your vacation property in Brewster is a spacious three- bedroom condo in Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club. You have golf, tennis, biking, indoor and outdoor pools, a private beach, and a kid’s camp for ages 4-12. Plus restaurants and bars from elegant to casual..

Private balconies highlight the spacious master and second bedrooms. A private den offers a third sleeping area with a full-size sleeper couch. The den opens up onto the deck overlooking the woods and the golf course. The living room and dining room also open up to the deck where comfortable patio furniture and an electric grill invite outdoor entertaining and relaxation.

Martha’s Vineyard/Edgartown/Katama


Martha’s Vineyard is an island about seven miles south of the southern coast of Cape Cod.. It is accessible only by air, and by ferry service departing from Falmouth and several other cities on the Cape. You can also catch a ferry to Martha’s Vineyard from Quonset Point, Rhode Island, and New York City.
The largest town on the island is Edgartown, which rose to prominence in the 19th Century as a whaling center. Today it’s not whale blubber that keeps it going, but tourism and the draw of historical attractions and beautiful beaches.

Katama, a quiet neighborhood close to downtown Edgartown, boasts an open-ocean beach that runs the entire length of the southern end of Martha’s Vineyard. The waves on South Beach at Katama can roll up on the shore with a murmur or pound it with a roar. To people with summer homes here, it’s relaxing music to their ears.


Home Exchange Property #0754: – Martha’s Vineyard/Edgartown/Katama

Your Martha’s Vineyard retreat sits on a wooded lot about half way between Edgartown and Katama Beach. It features an open living and dining areas, exposed ceilings and a wall of glass windows. Two sets of French doors open from the living area to a large front deck. The sunny south-side-facing back also has a large deck with outdoor furniture. The four bedrooms have all the amenities for a cozy family stay. The gourmet kitchen is fully equipped and features a breakfast bar, a prep island and stainless appliances.
Click the property numbers to find out more about these delightful Cape Cod homes.

If you own a second home or vacation rental, consider becoming a member of the International Vacation Home Exchange, which features a system of home exchanges based on direct swaps, or on credits that can be applied to properties around the world without coordinated exchanges. Visit www.ivhe.com for details.

Belgium Home Exchange



Plan a beautiful holiday in Belgium with International
Vacation Home Exchange 

Photo source: flickr, Eddy Van 3000
When the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) went looking for a place to base their main institutions, Belgium was a natural choice. It stands at a historical crossroads of Europe, it has managed to be a peaceful, harmonious place despite linguistic and cultural diversity, and it represents the best of old and new Europe.
Belgians speak Dutch in the north and French in the South. Brussels, the capital, is officially bi-lingual but French is more common even though Brussels lies in the Dutch-speaking region. And Belgians along the eastern border with Germany speak, you guessed it, German.

For the visitor, Belgium is all about sociable people regardless of their mother tongue, plus waffles, chocolates, Brussels sprouts, diamonds, flowers, lace, beer, impressive architecture and art works of the Flemish masters.

BRUSSELS/BRUXELLES
There are about 1 million people living in 19 distinctive neighborhoods in the metro area of Brussels (Bruxelles). The most important tourist destination is the central square known as the Grand Place in the city’s Old Town. It is surrounded by splendid Gothic, Baroque and Louis XIV style buildings, notably the Guildhalls, the Town Hall and the Breadhouse. The Grand Place is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Summer is festival time in Brussels/Bruxelles. One of the most spectacular events is the Brussels Flower Carpet that happens every two years. Almost 20,000 square feet of the Grand Place Main Square is covered in flowers laid out in intricate designs that took months to plan. With hundreds of volunteers, the construction process takes less than a day. The result is a stunning display of brightly colored flowers, mostly begonias, depicting a theme. This is the year for the Flower Carpet. Don’t miss it. The viewing is free -- August 14-17.

Linked in with the Flower Carpet is the Brussels Summer Festival – August 8-17. It is the most important cultural event in the city and features musical performances at three venues – Place des Palais, Place du Musee, and Monts des Arts. There is something for every musical taste – classical, rock, world music, jazz, electro, hip hop, folk, reggae, and others. For ticket information and performance schedules, click www.bsf.be/en

Your International Vacation Home Exchange apartment in Brussels is chic, contemporary and convenient. It is located in the very center of the city exactly between Old Town and the ultra-modern European Quarter. The market square is a 20-minute walk away. The city’s
efficient metro has a station less than a hundred yards from the apartment entrance, giving you access to many of the city’s 80 museums, beautiful parks, trendy restaurants and lively bars. The metro can also take you to the main railroad station for connections to the rest of Belgium and all of Europe.


Property # 0194 -- Two bedroom high rise apartment in the heart of Brussels

GHENT

Your other IVHE choice in Belgium lies 35 miles away in Ghent, the fourth largest city in the country and, some say, the most beautiful. The city center boasts the largest pedestrian-only area in Belgium. Peacefully strolling through here gives you a the feeling of being in a museum of early Flemish architecture




Property # 0776: Four bedroom apartment in the Ghent city center

An interesting highlight in the city center is the Saint Bavo Cathedral with the Ghent Altarpiece, considered to be one of Northern Europe art’s masterpieces and one of the world’s treasures.
Also awe inspiring is the Castle of the Counts (Gravensteen Castle). It was first built in 1180, abandoned in the 14th Century, and renovated and restored in the late 19th. Visitors today can travel through it and climb on top. It is still partly surrounded by a moat. Various torture devices, and a guillotine, (historically used in Ghent) are displayed in a museum in the Castle.
Photo Source: flickr, Jennifer Mei
Citadelpark is the main park in central Ghent. In addition to lovely flower beds and exotic trees, the park also feature a music kiosk, an open air theater, statues, a convention center, a velodrome, and the Museum of Fine Arts. Flemish Art (Southern Netherlands) is the main focus with paintings by Hieronymus Bosch, Peter Paul Rubens, and many other masters
    
Ghent has many fine restaurants, cafes, bars, bakeries and confectionerys, but an interesting note – it also has the world's largest number of vegetarian restaurants per capital. Official promotion of meatless meals at least once a week began as a campaign to instill healthier eating habits and reduce greenhouse gas emissions produced by meat production. It caught on, and vegetarian eating options sprung up all over town.
Your house in Ghent has high ceilings and a charming apartment feel. Originally built around 1908, it was completely refurbished and updated a few years ago. It is located on the street where former Prime Minister Wilfriend Martens had his private home when he was of member of the Beglium Parliament (1985-1996). You can walk to the many shops and services nearby. Old Town is about 10 minutes away. Or take a convenient tram. It makes a stop on the block and gives you public transporation access to just about anywhere in the city.

Find out more about these two wonderful home exchange places in Belgium by clicking the property numbers above. If you are not a member of the International Vacation Home Exchange – and you own a second home or vacation rental property – joining IVHE can put your property to use in ways that will give you a world of personal vacation options. Click www.ivhe.com for details.

Blogsmith: Mike DiPrima

Home Exchange in Italy, Umbria


Discover the essence of Italy,

 In the hills of Umbria

Unlike all the other regions of Italy, landlocked Umbria has no coastline or common border with another country. Central Umbria is roughly 110 miles from the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west, and about the same distance from the Adriatic to the east. While the fabled cities of the Amalfi Coast, Venice, Portofino and other seaside charmers draw the most tourists, the modern and historic cities of Umbria are relatively low-key with a quieter charm all their own and, for many, represent the essence of a holiday in Italy.
Roman, medieval and renaissance landmarks abound in practically every city in Umbria. Assisi, birthplace of Saints Francis and Gabriel, is a standout. The Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, a World Heritage Site since 2000, is regarded as one of the most important Christian pilgrimage sites in Italy. In addition, the range and quality of artwork housed there – including frescoes and other works by Giotto, Cimabue, Simone, Martini and Pietro Lorenzetti – makes it uniquely important in Italian art history.
Each town in the region has a claim to fame of some sort Norcia, the hometown of St. Benedict, is renown for its hams, sausages and black truffles. Spoleto is the site of the Festival dei Due Mondi, an important three-week cultural event held in late June/early July featuring music, theater and dance performances by artists from around the world. The hilltop town of Montefalco, and the valley below, is all about olive groves, vineyards, and delicious Sagrantino, Passito and Secco wines.
The tratorrias, restaurants and pizzerias throughout Umbria are phenomenal with the widest selection in Perugia, the regional capital. You can learn to prepare Umbrian specialties and sharpen your culinary skills with cooking lessons at the prestigious Peruygia Cordon Bleu Academy.
Right in the middle of the food, wine, history, and natural beauty of Umbria is the town of Todi, perched on a two-crested hill overlooking the east bank of the Tiber River. Todi has many historical castles, fortresses and ancient churches, but what makes it really special are the three International Vacation Home Exchange properties located here. For your inland Italian holiday, you can choose from an Umbrian villa, a boutique hotel, or an historic 17th Century mansion.
Home exchange #0839: – Beautful four bedroom villa in the Umbrian hills 

You enter this dramatic villa through a large arched brick porch where you can also dine al fresco. The lounge, with a big open fireplace, and the spacious kitchen are on the ground floor. The bedrooms, bathrooms, and a lovely glazed sun room are on the first floor. There is a pool and patio area with a large brick barbecue grill at the rear of the house. The crafts shops, antique stores, restaurants and attractions of Todi are just five km away.

Home Swap #0841 – Boutique hotel in the brian wine country.
Nestled in green rolling hills and surrounded by vineyards, Villa Sobreano is the quintessential Umbrian country house. Built in the 1800s, but renovated with every modern convenience, the villa is divided into four double rooms and two suites, each with its own private bath and sitting room. There is a lovely garden with a swimming pool and barbecue facilities for relaxing in the warm Italian sun. 

The lower section of the villa gives you access to a long gallery that houses ancient oak barrels used for storing and aging wine. The gallery leads to wine cellars beneath the villa where you can taste the wines produced on the Villa Sobrano estate.
A breakfast with homemade baked goods and sweets is offered daily. Savoury dishes are available on request. Delicious options for dining out are available in Todi, seven km away.
Property #0845 -- Seven-bedroom historical Villa Broglino

Villa Broglino is a 17th Century mansion that belonged in the same family until 1900. It has been carefully restored, preserving its original architecture and charm The kitchen is fully-equipped. There is TV, internet and Wi-Fi connections. The grounds of the Villa resemble a large park and slope down to an shady olive grove. A wonderful swimming pool and solarium complete the relaxation picture. The restaurants, shops, and historical sights of Todi are a five-minute drive away.


If you own a second home or a vacation-rental property anywhere in the world, the International Vacation Home Exchange can help you maximize its usage, plus give you a world of home exchange choices for your own vacation, through a home-swap system based on credits rather than simultaneous trade exchanges. Find out more about it, and what membership can mean to you, at www.ivhe.com.
For members wanting more details on these “molta bella” properties in Umbria, Italy, click on the property numbers above.


Blogsmith: Mike DiPrima

Free Home Exchange Guide


Do you want to explore the world while saving thousands of dollars, euros, pounds or yen?
Home Exchange is the answer.This quick and essential guide answers more than 'Why Home Exchange?'
  • Learn about different types of home swaps
  • How to find the right house exchange network for you
  • How to get an trade
  • How to ready your home
  • Making most of your vacation
In addition, you will get helpful hints and tips for house swapping that include:
  • 10 Things to Avoid
  • Your Home Exchange Membership Checklist
  • Sample Exchange Agreement.
If you are new to house swaps, this guide is a great introduction. For those of you that are experienced traders, it will give you new ideas to consider to enhance your home exchanging.
Enjoy for yourself or forward to a friend or relative that is interested.
Either way, its Free, Get your Home Exchange Guide now.








Home Exchange for the Wild Side


Where The Wild Things Are

There are five lodges in the Marloth Kruger group. They vary by size depending on the number of guests that can be accommodated.is a little deeper into the surrounding bush and delightfully closer to Mother Nature than the others lodges. You can sit out on a spacious veranda and enjoy it while dining or watching the sun go down. Cookouts are especially fun. You have a barbecue boma furnished with comfortable outdoor furniture. For indoor dining, the kitchen is fully-equipped and the dining table seats six.nuggled next to the Kruger National Park like a lion cub to its mother, Marloth Park is a private wildlife reserve in Mpumalanga, South Africa, offering practically the same viewing of African animals as Kruger but from a cozy, comfortable vantage point. The Marloth Kruger Lodges here are roofed with traditional thatch, fully-equipped with all the comforts of home, and all are vacation home exchange accommodations. on-predatory animals roam the Lodge grounds in a beautiful, tranquil setting. While you’re having breakfast on your veranda, a zebra or a curious monkey may pop up to bid you “good morning.” At Marloth Park, you don't have to go looking for the animals, they will come to you For a look at some wilder wildlife, take a five minute drive to the Kruger Park lookout and see hippo, rhino, elephant, water bucks, buffalo, giraffe and other animals. For a more up front and personal encounter, plan an unforgettable excursion or safari inside the park. The entrance at Crocodile Bridge Gate is just 16 kms away.
The two bedrooms are spacious and cozy. Each has its own en-suite bathroom. The queen-size beds are draped by canopied muslin mosquito nets for a feel of luxury and intimacy. The lodge has ceiling fans and air conditioning for just the right temps. A DVD player and television are there in case you need an electronics fix.
GiraffeLodge home swap is decorated in African Bush motifs with touches of Modern to make for a warm, welcoming feel. Each of the two bedrooms has a separate shower and bath. Mosquito nets hang over every bed, ready to drop into a romantic canopy at night. The living/dining area is open and airy. You have a barbeque boma and fire pit as well as a modern kitchen with fridge, stove, microwave, and all the cooking utensils and tableware you need. There is a separate children’s boma and a large garden in front of the lodges.
 Home Exchange #848
Kudo Lodge house for exchange is named after the most handsome of African antelopes. Its African-Colonial style d├ęcor and furnishings reflect the graceful character of its namesake. A spacious veranda and wooden deck, ideal for al-fresco dining, includes a splash pool for a refreshing dip after a day of game watching. For cookouts, you have a thatched braai and fire pit. This lodge shares the surrounding forest with an enormous variety of birds. Occasionally, from out of the forest shade, a zebra, warthog or buck may emerge and drop by for a visit.
Bush Pig Lodge swap is anything but piggish. Comfortably furnished, smartly decorated, fully equipped, this lodge is perfect for roughing it in the bush. There is a separate boma for children and a big communal garden in the front. The two bathrooms have separate 
 showers and baths. Mosquito nets hang over each bed, ready for draping at bedtime. The lodge is cooled with air conditioning and ceiling fans. You can prepare your favorite meals in a ready-when-you-are kitchen, or do the South African cookout at the braai (barbeque) boma and fire pit; a glass of good South African wine to top it off – heaven in the bush. 
Property # 0847: Big Five Lodge – Sleeps 10 
Big 5 Lodge is a three-storied affair designed for comfortable, spacious outdoor living. The first floor houses a kitchen and dining area that opens onto a large verandah. The air-conditioned living area and TV lounge upstairs opens onto a deck with a view of Kruger Park. The third level is a viewing deck where you get a bird’s eye view of the Park. Lions and elephants have been sighted from here. Big 5 Lodge has four bedrooms, an en-suite bathroom, and two additional bathrooms with shower, bath, toilet and washbasin.
In the evening, when the African sky sparkles with countless stars, you can relax on the veranda, the viewing decks, or at the barbecue grill (braai) and safely listen to lions roaring in the distance. Adventure in style. 
For more information, and additional photos, on any of the Marloth Kruger Lodges, click the property # under the picture
The International Vacation Home Exchange offers a variety of properties in South Africa – luxury homes on the amazing coast, in the sophisticated wine country and in dynamic cities. Visit www.ivhe.com and do a property search under South Africa. While you’re on site, check out WHO WE ARE and HOW IT WORKS for more information about our unique vacation-home-exchange system.

HAKUNA MATATA.

Blogsmith:  Mike DiPrima

Exploring Alaska Home Exchange


COME EXPLORE ALASKA
WITH THE INTERNATIONAL VACATION HOME EXCHANGE



Photo: flickr, Chris Lott

Alaska – the last frontier, the land of the midnight sun, a vacation destination unlike no other.  IVHE offers a variety of luxuryhome exchanges and ways to experience the wonders of Alaska from Ketchikan to Anchorage. .
IVHE offers some amazing accommodations in Ketchikan, the Alaskan city closest to the Lower 48. This friendly town of 15,000 sits on one of the larger islands in the Inside Passage archipelago of 1,100 islands. Most of the islands are part of a huge national forest that contains The Misty Fjords National Monument, a wilderness area so remote that most visitors see it from cruise ships, private boats, or kayaks… which brings us to our first accommodation – a yacht you can think of as your private floating lodge, one that will take you through the Misty Fjords wilderness areas in comfort and style.  Our next property is a lodge, indeed, stationery on the waterfront of Ketchikan. It’s the Black Bear Inn with IVHE accommodations available three different ways: as a bed and breakfast, as a luxury apartment, or as a romantic bunkhouse cabin.

 Moving inland to Fairbanks, the IVHE property here is a modern house in the woods. These woods are not to be confused with the pristine wilderness of the Danali National Park and Preserve, two hours away.  Danali is the largest national park in the U.S. –more than six million acres. Its centerpiece is the highest mountain in North America, Mount McKinley, with an elevation of 20,237 feet (6,168 m).  

Finally, Anchorage, the state’s largest city, enters the IVHE picture by way of Girdwood Alaska and a mountainside condo at the Alyeska Ski Resort,  about 27 miles from the big city.  The Alyeska Resort is the largest ski area in the state, with the majority of the runs made to challenge intermediate and advanced skiers. The highest point on Mount Alyeska  accessible by chair lift is 2,750 feet (840 m). Apres ski in Anchorage means fine dining,  theater and an excellent music scene.


A 40-ft. motoryacht cruising Misty Fiords National Monument for five days.

You will move from spectacular place to spectacular place aboard your own private floating lodge. Fish for salmon or halibut in salt water, or go freshwater fly and spin fishing for salmon and trout (all tackle is included); look for orcas, sea lions, and porpoises in the water; eagles in the air; and bears and mountain goats on the land. Go ashore at beautiful landings and hike and explore with an experienced Guide. All meals are provided.  At night, your captain anchors the boat in a secluded cove where you’ll bunk down in cozy comfort. This could be the vacation of a lifetime.

Vacation Home Exchange Property #0761 -- Ketchikan



Luxurious Bed and Breakfast
at the Black Bear Inn


All rooms in this elegant B&B have stunning views of the Tongass Narrows, a channel of Alaska’s Inside Passage waterway used by recreational and commercial vessels  from Kayaks to freight barges. Each room has a private bath, unique furnishings, and nice amenities. Wireless internet is available. A self-serve Continental Plus breakfast and snacks are included.  Waterfront restaurants are a five-minute walk away.  More eateries, cafes, and bars are four miles away in downtown Ketchikan, as are many shopping opportunities and cultural attractions. The Inn is ideal for short stays when going to or returning from other Alaska adventures.  Or, it can be a destination in itself with plenty to do in the area.  Arrival and departure transportation is provided.

The Eagles Nest 1-bedroom
apartment on the top floor of the Black Bear Inn

 Not only does this private luxury suite have spectacular views of the mountains, ocean and sunsets, but you can also look out your window and see Bald Eagles perching in the spruce trees nearby – thus the name. The Eagles Nest has its own private entrance and covered porch at the front of the Inn. The suite features the artwork of Fred Machetanz, Sidney Laurence and Nathalie Parenteau. The kitchen, bathroom, laundry room and the front foyer are adorned with decorative Italian porcelain and travertine. For a location usually associated with “roughing it,” this suite has delightfully unexpected class and style.


A romantic 2-bedroom bunkhouse cabin next to the Black Bear Inn

 

The Bunkhouse is a very private cabin that sits beside the main house.  An open sun deck, with a relaxing hot tub, runs across the front of the cabin with an awesome view of the Inside Passage. There are large picture windows inside, also with views of the water. The walls of the cabin are finished in white-washed red cedar. The floors are porcelain, slate, and travertine. A walk-in shower in the bathroom is also done in travertine.  There is a small kitchenette, fully equipped, for whipping up a quick meal. You would never know that this cabin is over 73 years old and was once part of a fish cannery camp. It was modernized and opened to guests in 2007.

Vacation Home ExchangeProperty # 0455: Fairbanks


Modern 3-bedroom home in the woods
close to town; 2 hours to Danali Park

This may be the only vacation home in the world where you can look out the window and see a mother moose and her calf strolling by.  The house is modern and has all the conveniences you need, but it sits in the middle of a  birch forest --  secluded, quiet and private. Not bad for a suburb of Fairbanks, the state’s second largest city. The shopping, dining, art galleries, and shows of Fairbanks are just three miles away. But when you get ready for something really wild,  take a scenic two-hour drive to Danali National Park and Preserve and Mount McKinley. Your host offers a 1998 Subaru Forester for just two extra credits. No need to rent a car to explore Fairbanks or the Danali. If you would rather have a narrated tour and leave the driving to someone else, several excellent tours are available


Vacation Home Exchange Property # 0538 – Alyeska Ski Resort near Anchorage

2-bedroom mountainside condo; ski in and ski out.
 
This cozy 1000 square-foot condo is in a friendly 4-unit complex close to resort amenities.  The closest chairlift is a two-minute ski from the condo. A year ‘round tram that can take you 2300 feet vertical in seven minutes is in easy walking distance, as is the town of Girdwood.   You have amazing views of the resort and several hanging glaciers in the Girdwood Valley from your living room and master bedroom.  A summer visit is worth considering as well.  The landscape is green instead of white. Cross country ski trails become simple hiking trails lined with wild flowers, and the fine restaurants, museums, theaters and nightlife of Anchorage beckons even stronger.


 For more information on any of these Alaska home exchanges, click the property # above.  If you are not a member of the International Vacation Home Exchange and would like to learn more, visit www.ivhe.com  to see who we are and how our system of credits-based exchanges can work for you and your vacation property.

Blogsmith:  Mike DiPrima





Different Home Exchanges


Are All Home Exchanges the Same?
 Home Exchange
Why don't you stay at my home while I stay at yours? For us, this is the most straightforward description of home exchange but did you know that there are different types of home exchange? 
Popular theory is that home exchanging started in Europe back in the 1950's between teachers looking to experience something new and different during their long summer breaks. Good news is that today, we can still enjoy home exchanging for adventure and a lot more but we also have a much easier way of finding others to exchange with, the internet. Today it is not just teachers benefiting from home exchange, but people from all walks of life. Before looking at how to choose an exchange that is right for you, let’s take a look at differing types of exchanges.

The three most popular types of exchanging are Direct, Non-Simultaneous, and Hospitality exchanges. Let’s explore each of them as you might find one or more perfect for you. Depending on where you are in the world you might call an exchange a swap or a trade. We will intermingle these terms as they essentially mean the same. 
  • Direct Exchanges - the most commonly known, this is when two parties agree to swap locations for the same period of time. 
  • Advantage: Straight forward, with no accommodation costs this saves the most money.
  • Disadvantage: Two parties have to like each other's properties and locations as well as agree the exact same time for swapping.
  • Hospitality Exchange - when one party hosts another in their home while they are there too. The gesture is then reciprocated at a later time. 
  • Great opportunity to immerse yourself in a destination culture
  •  live like a local Limited to no accommodation costs for your vacation . 
  • With a home, including a kitchen you have the option to save on restaurant costs 
  • Security; your property will be occupied instead of being vacant 
  • Make new friends: inevitably you will get to know your hosts / visitors 
  • Potential of avoiding bike, car, boat, and sporting equipment rental costs. 
Non-Simultaneous Exchanges - when the two parties schedule their vacations at different times. This is most popular when using second or vacation homes, though it is possible to use the primary home if the owners are traveling.
Advantage: When using a property that is not the main residence, there is a lot more flexibility of when the exchanges can occur. When using an exchange network like IVHE-Vacation Home Exchange with mostly second homes, a credit system can be established to account for differing values of properties, and time of visits.
Disadvantage: Anxiety of not trading at the same time. Overcome by using an established network with an equitable credit system.
Advantage: Not only to you get to visit a location, but you might get a 'personal guide' while making new friends.
Disadvantage: Not everyone wants to spend vacation time with another family that they have never met. Though when the return trip is made, the parties should know each other pretty well.

As you can see above, one or more might be perfect for you. There are many benefits of home swapping; the following are most frequently quoted:

In our experience, the most important of all is HAVING FUN, enjoy!

Have a look at some amazing properties that home exchange could take you have a look at ivhe's exclusive home exchange property pages.
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