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August 01, 2009

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Home Base Holidays

Hi hobiej

Thanks so much for your thoughtful and useful comments from the point of view of an experienced home exchanger.

I agree that many journalists have an 'agenda' and often overlook more relevant points that members give as important reasons for exchanging (and where and why they like to swap homes). To be fair, journalists very often have fairly rigid topic slants for articles passed to them by their editors (and goodness knows how these are decided on!) and too often, a very short time to research and write the article.

Over the last few months, not surprisingly, the focus of articles on home exchange has often been on the cost savings and, to emphasise this further, journalists like to include some examples of the wonderful homes that members can swap their 3 bedroom semis for - and yes, those elusive villas in Tuscany feature highly!

hobiej

Thanks for the article details. I agree that the cleaning up is the worst part of preparing for a swap!

My main thought though was that the journalist falls down on one of the main points that feature in articles on swapping. Articles tend to either focus on city swaps eg London for Amsterdam or the apparently elusive search for a villa in Tuscany. Yet always when the swap club members are interviewed they point out that one of the main benefits of swapping is discovering unusual places.

We get plenty of chances to swap in Italy or Spain but many of the homes there are apartments or small holiday homes by the beach-often not ideal for a family with little kids. We have swapped with a big old farmhouse in Galicia near the beach and that was excellent but so was the island home off Stockholm- even closer to the beach. People like the journalist who are focused on school holidays swaps would probably be best concentrating on swapping somewhere with similar age kids and the right range of activities for them or if it has to be Tuscany in August - renting the Tuscan villa.

We'll be looking for somewhere like Austria next year where we'll get lots of space for our young family, a decent sized garden, access to lakes for swimming and beautiful mountain views and air. Inevitably of course, now we'll only get offers from Tuscany!

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