A Most Interesting Home Exchange Offer

Pretty View around Tuchon

Vive la France!

Today I received my 118th home exchange request in just the last year and a half.  Each offer, including today’s, has been a delight to consider.  I always experience a rush of adrenaline as I first open a request and see what wonderful destination is being offered.

Unfortunately, time and money prevents me from accepting all the wonderful offers that I receive.  I have to be very selective, and this is not always easy; some offers are extremely difficult to turn down!

Today’s offer, unfortunately, was one of them.

The offer was for an exchange in a region of France that I have yet to explore, the Rhone-Alpes region.  That’s why it’s so hard for me to turn down, and I’ll probably wait about a week or two before I muster the strength to answer.  You see, I consider myself a Francophile (someone who loves France and everything French), and I am dying, okay not literally dying, but desperately wanting to explore all that France has to offer. So far I have only managed to explore Paris, Normandy, Languedoc and Provence.  Each was a joy in their own right.

Unfortunately, the Rhone-Alps will have to stay on my wish list a little longer.  But I will get there eventually because this region has so much to offer.  For starters, it consists of eight extremely diverse, very prosperous, and varied departments.  It has several large and intriguing cities, many gorgeous mountain villages, immense nature areas and spectacularly high peaks. The region also borders Italy and Switzerland, so it is located in the heart of Europe, offering the ability to explore those countries as well.

I have been especially interested in visiting its largest city, Lyon, for some time.  Lyon is known for its architectural beauty and it’s gastronomy, two of my favorite things!  I have also been drawn to visit Annecy, one of the Rhone-Alps most beautiful alpine villages. Annecy is situated at the edge of a stunning turquoise lake and the incredibly picturesque village is even more strikingly beautiful in a part with a lovely canal running through it. Lyon and Annecy alone, make me want to explore this region of France.

Oh, how I hate to turn this offer down!

With that said, the reason I chose to write today isn’t so much to complain about my having to turn down a wonderful, free offer to stay in a French families home for three weeks next July.  Not entirely anyway; though, it does feel quite appropriate and cathartic to whine about it a bit!  The fact is, traveling abroad for weeks at a time (three to six generally), even with a free accommodation, is something that only fits into my families budget every other year, and we just spent three weeks in France this past summer.

But, what I really wanted to share with you today are some aspects of this particular home exchange offer that I felt were worth mentioning.

First, the offer comes from a family of four with two parents in their early forties, both professionals, practicing doctors in fact, with two teenage children.  They fit precisely into the demographics that I indicate are the most common among home exchangers:  families, middle aged, professionals, with children.

Second, the offer is very generous; they offer two or more weeks in their home for only one week in mine.  This attests to the type of generosity that I have found among those in the home exchange community.

The third and final thing that I’d like to point out is that this exchange family is embarking on a year long around the world trip.  Since becoming a travel writer, I have been amazed by the number of people, including many families, that are doing just that – finding ways to afford around the world trips.

One of the ways this family will finance their trip is by including home exchanges as much as possible.  For that reason, the offer I received included a schedule of the continents, countries, and cities they plan to explore in chronological order.  North America, the US, and New York, my area,  specifically will be the first stop on their year long journey starting in July.

I found this home exchange request interesting, I thought you might too.

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About Kerry Ascione

Past business and IT professional turned travel writer, blogger, speaker and coach. Huge supporter of the Peer Sharing Movement, especially as it relates to making the lives of families richer in culture and travel. Author of Have Home Will Travel, The Ultimate International Home Exchange Guide for Families.
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6 Responses to A Most Interesting Home Exchange Offer

  1. Laura says:

    Annecy is lovely! My husband will be living in Lyon this fall for work and I’ll be visiting – good eating there, can’t wait!

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  2. Thank you Kerry for your blog.
    I’m Alain, and with my family, we’ll go to do a trip around the world since july 2014, during 1 year.
    We’ll begin at New York, and Florida, and next, we’ll go to brasil, Argentina, polynesia, New Zealand, Australia and Asia (malaysia, Thailand, Laos, indonesia, India, China).

    We’d like to do this trip exchanching our house because we think that’s the best way to discover countries and its people.
    Somewhere, we’ve got a beautifull house, and we’d like it was occupated a lot of time during our journey, and much poeple can benefit of it.
    So, we accept do let our house few weeks, as if we just stay one week at your home.

    If you want to discover our house, or do an exchange with us, you can go and see our website (http://www.souzy.osteomedia.net) and write us a mail to alain.sadoine@laposte.net.

    Thank you

    Alain and Sara

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    • Alain, I’m so glad to hear that you have already managed to arrange the following home exchanges for your RTW trip:

      – 1 exchange with Paraty (in brasil, near Rio) and 1 in Sao Paulo
      – 2 exchanges in Argentina (1 in a big farm, and another in Andes cordillera)
      – 1 exchangee with an appartment in Shangaï

      That is very exciting. Please keep me posted on any other exchanges you arrange. I understand you are currently looking for exchanges in Australia, New Zealand, and Asia. If anyone reading this is interested in exchanging homes with Alain, please see his website at http://www.souzy.osteomedia.net

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  3. Wow, are you sure you have to turn it down?;) I think the idea of home exchanges is such a brilliant way to see the world, especially with families. Hope you get back to France soon!

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    • Thank you for reading my post and for your lovely concern! Yes, I am afraid I really do have to turn it down. In 2011, because I had been unable to find any suitable home exchanges in Italy, we rented apartments there for a month. It was very expensive and depleted quite of bit of our travel budget. That is just one of the reasons I love home exchange so much, it’s completely free. The problem with accepting this free offer of accomodation is simply the cost of airfare. To fly a family of four to France in the summer runs about $6,000 unless I were to use rewards points, which I always do. Unfortunately, I don’t have any left! We will travel abroad again the following summer 2015; so don’t feel too bad for me! You really should give international home exchange a try one day. Kerry

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