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You’ve got your listing set up, it’s time to take the leap and start contacting people. Home swapping is like dating. If you don’t take initiative, nothing’s ever going to happen! You can scope out the listings you like and message them. Or you can cast your net wide by contacting multiple listings at once. I craft a short personal message with a little information about my family, the reason for my trip, and what I like about their region. Message houses outside the city center. Message everyone! I don’t generally look at the listings in-depth unless they answer in the affirmative. I would estimate it takes an average of 15-20 messages to find a match; more if you have set dates. Ask about seasons (i.e. would you like to swap sometime in the summer versus July 1-7). When someone responds positively, don’t confirm right away. Start a conversation. Just like dating, communication is key. Talk about everything. Move on if you can’t agree on something or you get a bad feeling. Continue this until you’ve found the right match. After you’ve found your dream swap, don’t forget to “break up” with all the other people you’ve messaged! Tell them you’ve found an exchange but thank them for their interest. Another parallel to dating: have fun! Be patient and keep trying until something works out. The worst they’re going to say is no. #getglobetrottinghomeexchange #getglobetrottingaustria
This week I am going to take you through setting up a desirable listing, finding swaps, preparing your home for guests, proper etiquette during the exchange, and tips for making a graceful exit.
IG, journalism, and home swapping all have one thing in common: a picture is worth a thousand words. Clean your house (no need to stash absolutely everything, having some toys visible may be a selling point!) and take accurate pictures in good light. I would use an iPhone 7 or later or a DSLR camera. Borrow from a friend if you don’t have one. A home in a mediocre location will become a hot commodity with professional looking pictures. Next, think of your favorite things about your home and write a short paragraph about them. Be honest! One of the worst things you can do as a swapper is set people up for a castle when really you have a cottage. Most swappers are not in it for luxury, but to see how locals really live. Instead, talk about the charm of your home and how close it is to your favorite restaurant or activity (such as a home exchanger did with the waterfall in the picture). Try to succinctly communicate the vibe of your area and why you like it. Feel free to practice in the comments! #getglobetrottinghomeexchange #getglobetrottingswitzerland
Photo from our NYC home exchange when we pretended to be a trendy little Brooklyn family for a week. Can you tell we favor exchanges with backyards? Our favorite paid platform is @homeexchangecom . We’ve done most of our exchanges through them. The best part about this platform is how fancy the houses are. Many listings are second vacation homes. Yes please! It’s USD 150/year to have an active listing which I figure is comparable to one hotel stay for unlimited vacations. I like this platform because people are responsive and you can message multiple listings at once. They have the options for reciprocal swaps, non-reciprocal swaps, and a balloon system. One balloon=one stay, doesn’t matter how long or the size/location of the home. These balloons are really useful bargaining chips. Everyone is stoked to get one so it’s easy to make a swap as soon as you earn a balloon by hosting someone else. The only downside to Home Exchange is that there isn’t a great system for rating listings. Where is the top location you want to try home swapping? #getglobetrottingnyc #getglobetrottinghomeexchange
We researched a ton of home exchange platforms before deciding on the two that we use. Today I will be talking about Guest to Guest, our favorite free home exchange network. This photo is from our best Guest to Guest stay so far. This platform offers three different kinds of stays: reciprocal, non-reciprocal (you and your host stay in each other’s homes at different times) and stays for points. When you make your booking, you pay a safety deposit which your host returns to you at the end of your stay. Guest to Guest keeps a small percentage of the deposit which is how the website makes money. Ours ended up being $30 for a 5 day stay. Things I like about this platform: easy to earn points (you get a ton for just signing up), fair user rating tools (similar to Airbnb), and it has the most listings of any home exchange network. One downside of Guest to Guest is that because the platform is free, there are a ton of inactive listings. However it’s easy to sort these out using the search filters. Have you ever tried Guest to Guest? What did you think? #getglobetrottinghomeexchange #getglobetrottingtraveltips
Who can home swap? You likely first think of someone who owns a home in a popular vacation location. While those people will certainly have a very easy time finding swaps, the truth is most listings don’t fit that criteria. If you are a renter, the first step would be to check with your landlord. Most of the places we have stayed have been rented apartments. Next, think about why you live where you do. Are you close to culture or nature? If you’re just a short train ride away from San Francisco, wouldn’t it be fun to swap with someone who is a short train ride away from Paris? What about someone in a city center that might want to stay in your country home to get away from it all? Are you near any colleges? One of our home swaps was with a grandmother visiting her grandson at college. If you’re in Utah, people always want to go there to visit family or ski. In summary, every area has something to offer. Tell me why you love where you live in the comments! #getglobetrottinghomeexchange #getglobetrottingtraveltips
This week I will be sharing a step-by-step guide on how to execute a successful home swap. First up: what is home swapping? It’s exactly what it sounds like! You stay in someone’s home and they stay in yours. No money is exchanged. You are expected to take care of their house as your own which can includes watering plants and feeding pets as needed. You have a free private place to stay in a new location and get to experience life as a temporary local. My goal for this account is to help families remove their barriers to travel. Home swapping makes traveling more affordable and comfortable for us, thereby allowing us to travel more frequently. Comment/DM your burning questions about home swapping so I can be sure to cover them. 🏡 ↔️ 🏡 #getglobetrottinghomeexchange #getglobetrottingtraveltips
We don’t drink alcohol, so while we may not savor any regional wine as we travel we do taste the local chocolate. Every time we see a new bar, we sample and discuss. My clear winner was Demel’s. This famed chocolate shop, rumored to be Empress Sisi’s favorite, is worth a visit for the decor alone. Free to visit and the bars range from 3-10 euros. Best money we spent in Austria! #getglobetrottingaustria #getglobetrottingvienna
I learned so much on the Imperial Apartment Tour! This museum is actually 3 museums in one, a collection of the royal dishes, an exhibit on Sisi’s life, and then the actual tour of the palace. It takes about 2 hours to complete with the necessary audio guide. With less time or with small children, skip the dishes rooms. The museum is shoulder-to-shoulder midday, so come when it opens or just before close. Cost: 13.90 euros, discounts for students and kids under 19, free for kids under 6.
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For some reason, the only Habsburg that gets press is Empress Sisi. Her picture is in every gift shop. Lauded as the “most beautiful woman in Europe,” she was chosen by Emperor Franz Joseph to be his bride. 16-year-old Sisi unintentionally stole the emperor’s attention away from her sister who was his original intended match.
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Her life started out pretty normal for a royal, popping out babies to get a male heir, doing leisurely court activities to keep boredom at bay, attending balls and state dinners etc. But somewhere things started to get weird. Sisi became withdrawn and obsessed with her beauty. She began using extensive beauty regimens (3+ hrs per day) to maintain her youthful appearance and limiting her food intake while increasing her exercise. After the suicide of her adult son, she completely withdrew from Vienna and her family. She traveled extensively until she was ultimately assassinated by an Italian anarchist at age 60.
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Though I thoroughly enjoyed the museum and the book I read on Sisi’s life, I find the obsession with her perplexing and indicative of the society we live in. I got the impression that Sisi had a tragic life, struggled with depression/disordered eating, and ultimately did not contribute much to politics other than the Austria-Hungary unification. I was a little disturbed by the life-size model of her trim waist in the museum. Where are Maria Theresa’s museums, gripping novels, and Hollywood movies (see previous post for bio on Maria Theresa)? What are we saying we value about women by choosing this monarch in particular to focus on? Would love to hear your view on the matter! #getglobetrottingvienna #getglobetrottingaustria