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What Ever You Call Home for Exchange

Seasons greetings fromIVHE-vacaton home exchange
Longhouse .. Cluster Home .. Garage Apartment .. Weavers' Cottage .. Cracker House
Hawksley BL8 Bungalow .. I-House …Laneway HouseQueenslander  ..Saltbox ..
Shotgun House .. Souterrain ..Tudor Revival.. Tuscan  .. Unity House ...Shop House


home exchange FAQ- kitchen

 Home Exchange Kitchen Tips: 

There is no need to clear out all cupboards for your home swap guests, in fact it is very nice and useful for your guests if there are some basics  like; flour, oil, dried herbs in the kitchen for your home exchange guest to use. 
Essentials should be included whenever possible, as you know from your own travels arriving somewhere with nothing in the cupboards is a bit of a pain, having to buy a kilo of sugar for a couple of cups of coffee. So for a cheap price but a very nice thing to do is have the basics there, sugar, salt, pepper, coffee, tea etc. 
Remove or simply leave a note about items that you do not wish to be used, best would be if you put them on a separate shelf, leaving at least 1 shelf for your guests own supplies, similarly items you leave in the fridge, please move them to a top shelf if you do not want them used and leave a note saying so. 
Do have look though the use by dates and though out any that have passed their prime. It is nice for your home swap guests to have a bit of space in a cupboard and fridge for their own food supplies. There is a general courtesy code of ‘replace what you use’ this does not mean going out to by the kilo of sugar to replace the few spoonfuls you have used, but if you have used a selection of things or a fair amount of something like olive oil, leave something for it, this may be the bottle of oil or a packet of coffee. 
A welcome pack is always very welcome or if possible ask your guest if there is a small shopping list that you can arrange for them, particularly well received by guest travelling long distances and from different time zones, a home exchange welcome pack could include; milk, bread, orange juice, eggs, butter.
Like the rest of the house, it is very important not to have too much clutter in the Kitchen, leaving a clutter free and clean kitchen is really important. Most kitchen appliances are fairly standard but it is worth leaving a folder with the instruction booklets as there are global differences, north American dishwashers tend to be big and quite simple, many US guest going to a small apartment in a European city could easily find themselves looking at a half size dishwasher with up to 10 programs! It is also fairly common for Europeans to have their washing machine in the kitchen, which should always have at least basic instructions included.
Some important things to have in your home swap kitchen, even a city pad that most guest would not be cooking a gourmet dinner in should have enough to make breakfast and light lunches/dinners in. Have a minimum plates, cups, glasses including vine glasses for the amount of guest that you property sleeps, having extra ones is even better.


Jungles, Jaguars, Jade and Jolly People

You will find more vacation home exchange opportunities in Costa Rica than in any other country in Central America. The reason is simple --  It’s a great place to own a tropical getaway home; and for many expat North Americans and Europeans, a great place to live or retire.

Aside from its natural beauty and impressive biodiversity, Costa Rica is a happy, healthy place to live. It ranked first place in the Happy Planet Index of human well being measured by the New Economics Foundation in 2009 and 2012.  Its standard of living is one of the highest of any Central American country. The literacy rate is 94.9%. It has the second highest life expectancy in the Americas – higher than the United States. To top it off, Costa Rica is a peaceful country with a stable democratically-elected government. It has not had a standing army for more than half a century. 

#0787: Costa Rica, Puntarenas --Home Swap Villa, four-bedroom luxury.
Costa Rica is not a big country. You can drive from its Pacific shore to its Caribbean coast in about three hours.  Although small, the country boasts five percent of the existing biodiversity in the world. Over 25 percent of Costa Rican territory is dedicated to conservation in natural parks, biological reserves, wildlife refuges, and a series of protected area that capture the attention of ecotourists and adventure travelers from around the world.

Costa Rica is a land of volcanoes, eleven to be exact; seven are active. The most awesome is Poas, 20 miles from the capital city of San Jose. Nearly a mile across, Poas has the largest active volcano crater in the world. You can hike to the crater’s edge, see a lake at the bottom of its slopes, and experience the uneasy thrill of knowing what power lies beneath it.

#0197: Costa Rica, Guanacaste --  Three bedroom home near the cloud forest
 The jungle -- its rain forests, waterfalls, and rivers – tumbles across the mountainous landscape westward to the Pacific Ocean and eastward to the Gulf of Mexico.   Pristine beaches separate the jungle from the sea. 
#0267: Costa Rica, Guanacaste, Liberia
  Private five-bedroom home swap
 If you like adventure, you can go zip lining through the jungle canopy in the company of howler monkeys, toucans, and macaws; or be adventurous at ground level on a rafting trip down a jungle river where you’re likely to see tapirs, sloths, manatees, river otters, all kinds of birds and reptiles, and, if you’re lucky, a jaguar.
#0704: Costa Rica, Guanacaste
 Three bedroom, gorgeous condo
International Vacation Home Exchange properties are located in four popular holiday regions of the country: Puntarenas, Guanacaste, Limon, and San Jose.

Puntarenas, in the central pacific region of Costa Rica, is a port town where cruise ships docks and passengers disembark to mingle with non-cruising vacationers for beach-front dining and shopping. Other boats dock there as well -- tour boats to take you to exciting places like Tortuga Island or Costa Rica’s exotic pacific islands; and charter boats to take you to unparalleled sports fishing

#0487: Costa Rica, Puntarenas
 Two bedroom condo near the beach
Guanacaste, Costa Rica’s northwestern province is a favorite with tourists who enjoy strolling on white sand beaches, exploring volcanoes and waterfalls in magnificent national parks, or dining and dancing with gusto in Tamarindo or Liberia -- Guanacaste’s two largest towns. Liberia is home to Costa Rica’s second international airport, where many visitors from abroad enter the country.
Limon Province encompasses the entire Caribbean coast, from Nicaragua to Panama. Here is where pristine beaches meet majestic mountains and prehistoric rainforests. Tortuguero National Park, in the northern half of the province, is a protected sea-turtle nesting area. You can observe turtles, and other wildlife in the park, from boats that cruise the area via water channels. For city life, head for Puerto Limon, the provincial capital where you’ll find of a variety of attractions, unique architecture, and beautiful 
San Jose, the capital city, is the cultural hub of the country with excellent museums, art galleries, restaurants, and bustling night life.  A visit to the Jade Museum presents a fascinating look at the world’s largest collection of Pre-Columbian jade art, some objects dating from 500 BC. Lush parks dot the area, among them Los Quetzales National Park, which covers three types of rainforest and 14 distinct ecosystems. The diversity of animals and brightly colored tropical flowers is amazing.
#0707: Costa Rica, San Jose' – Mountain meditation retreat
Explore your home swap opportunities in Costa Rica. Click on any of the properties shown, or visit for information on membership and how our cash-less concept can save you thousands in vacation trades to travel around the world.

Mike DiPrima

Good Photos Make Good Exchanges

Good Photos Make Good Exchanges

Photo source: flickr, Ralph Bijker
The Golden Rule for home exchangers is simple: Convince me through pictures that your property is special and I will do the same with mine.

As a guest, you want to SEE that where you might be spending your IVHE home swap credits and your precious vacation time is a place that will make you feel comfortable and at-home.

As a host, you want your potential guest to SEE the elements of your property that make it attractive -- intangible elements like ambience and vibe, and solidly real things like comfort, cleanliness, convenience, and scenery.

The Home Exchangers' Golden Rule applies to personal profile pictures as well. Many home swap members choose not to include them, but personal pictures are an important part of your listing. They give it personality and satisfy a natural curiosity. Show me your happy, smiling face and I'll show you mine. Hopefully, you will be able to tell that I am not a crack-smoking skinhead raver (credits-rich though I may be), and I'll be able to tell that you are not a Voodoo priest who might sacrifice chickens in my living room (even though you do have a verifiable telephone number).

How important is showing and not just telling? How important are pictures in your IVHE listing? They're critical. It may be time to take a second look at the photos you have posted.

Pretend for a moment that you are trying to sell your property and that you're working with a rather fussy real estate agent. She calls and wants to bring a client couple 'round to take a look. She reminds you again, for the hundredth time, to clean up the place, put things away, get rid of the clutter, open the shades, turn on the lights, make it look light and airy, and put the cat outside. You do all that  and, without being told, put out fresh flowers and fruit as a nice extra touch.

She arrives with the clients. As they approach your house, the agent remarks, "Look at this stunning view" as she gestures at the vista before them. Then she turns to the house and says, "Isn't this architecture amazing?" and comments in glowing terms on the exterior. As they enter the front door, she'll say something like, "Oh my, can't you just feel the love?" The tour of the house begins, and she grows more breathless in each room. The living room, the kitchen, the bathrooms, the patio -- she encourages her clients to envision themselves in each room, and damn near passes out when they get to the master bedroom.

Take your photo tips from the way a real estate agent shows a house. Stage your shots for the best appeal, and include the view, the exterior, bedrooms, bathrooms, lounge areas, kitchen -- the more you show the more assured your prospect will feel.

Quality images, high resolution, will showcase your property beautifully. Use a professional photographer, if possible. It will be well worth the cost. Or, if you are handy with your own camera and savvy about lighting and composition, go for it. Check the images on your computer and upload the best ones to your IVHE home exchange listing. Use captions to describe if you think they're necessary.

To edit your photos, log into the members area of the IVHE home swap site, click on your property, then - Edit - Photos - choose a File - Upload. Once they are in, they can be dragged and dropped into any order.

If you wish to add a personal profile picture, you can chose to have it viewed by the public, by IVHE members only, or just by those members you are communicating with regarding an exchange or trade.  

The old adage "A picture is worth a thousand words" is oh so true. Pictures speak for themselves without embellishing the truth. What you see is what you get. And isn't that the kind of honesty you want when you engage in a home exchange?

If you are not a member of the International Vacation Home Exchange and would like to learn more, go to and picture the possibilities.


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