Take your IVHE holiday during the
easy-going shoulder season
Photo source: flickr, nubobo
Traveling during non-peak times is smart. Things are cheaper. Crowds are smaller. Waiters aren’t as surly. The weather may be changing but its usually pleasant And Autumn or Spring presents nature at her colorful best. It’s a more relaxed time of year that invigorates your enthusiasm for life.
The shoulder season is considered to be the few weeks before or after the peak period. Getaways during this time are customarily taken as “mini-vacations” lasting less than a week. Unless you have kids in school, reconsider shoulder seasons for a “major” vacation of 10 days or more.
You’ll already be off to a good start by making your shoulder-season holiday an IVHE one. You save hundreds of dollars on accommodations by doing a direct or credits-based exchange. Cash doesn’t enter the transaction. Don’t forget: your host may be open to negotiation to lower your credits requirement. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
The key to reaping the most benefits from your shoulder-season home exchange vacation is to be as relaxed as the season and try not to cram your itinerary full. Plan a few must-do activities and must-see sights, but leave some time for unexpected surprises such as free concerts in the park, local events that aren’t in the guide book, colorful market places you might stumble upon, or sidewalk artists at work (chances are you’ll find a piece you love). Ask your host or some of the locals if there is anything going on that might be fun to explore. The unplanned often makes for a memorable vacation.
Make room in your itinerary for the planned and the to-be-discovered, but also, by all means, time for rest and relaxation. Staying in a private IVHE home can be as relaxing as your own, maybe more so if it has amenities you don’t have, a comfortably-different ambiance, and views that make you go “ahhh.”
Dining out is one of the pleasures of a vacation. But it’s nice to know that your IVHE home has a fully-equipped kitchen where you can whip up a taste of home if the craving gets intense, or a place to experiment with recipes of local specialties.
Another great thing about an IVHE home exchange vacation is you have a host or a special contact person who is more than willing to suggest activities, attractions, restaurants, nightspots, and the best places to pursue a special interest. If you are vacationing in an exotic destination where the language and customs are unfamiliar, your host can provide invaluable helpful tips and advice.
You might strongly consider hiring a private local guide to take you around and provide a bit of educational narrative as you go. Your host probably knows where to find a reliable one. A guide is well worth the little extra cost to save you the stress of navigating uncharted waters or joining an expensive, regimented tour with a gaggle of strange strangers.
Many IVHE home exchange hosts make cars available to their guests with the proper licensing and insurance. If you are not intimidated by traffic or you are in a location where traffic congestion is not an issue, this amenity is one to take advantage of. It can save you a bundle of money over renting a car – money you can use on drive-it-yourself excursion trips and souvenir shopping.
If a car is not available, think about how you will get around at your destination before you leave. Your host may include a free shuttle service from the airport. Your IVHE home swap accommodation may be centrally located, allowing you to walk to many places of interest. It may also be convenient to local public transportation. Subways, trains, trams and buses usually offer day or longer passes that will be much cheaper than using a taxi. If you are going to rent a car, find a rental company that offers free pickup from the airport, which will save you the extra cost of an “airport fee.”
Shoulder-season vacations through the International Vacation Home Exchange are easy-going, indeed. In fact, IVHE holidays are easy-going almost anywhere in the world, year ‘round. If you have ever considered swapping your primary residence, a vacation rental, or your second home for vacation accommodations, find out how our system allows you to do that with flexibility and peace of mind. For more information, visit www.ivhe.com.
Blogsmith: Mike DiPrima