Search This Blog

Follow Us on Twitter

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 (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 (, 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 ( members save an average of $2,650 for every 7 nights of vacations. 

New to the concept of home exchange or house swap, visit 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 .

Blogsmith: Mike DiPrima


FREE quick and essential guide to Home Exchange

All entries * are required

Read about our privacy policy.


Copyright @ 2014 Vacation Home Exchange .