When we first started talking about doing a home exchange, and then started browsing homes, we were a little taken aback by all of the possibilities.
We initially thought maybe we’d use home exchanging as a way to return to Italy since we had such a fantastic time there, but then we started looking at other big cities: Paris, London, Berlin…
And then we realized we didn’t have to be limited to big cities, or the typical European cities that people want to travel to. People from all over the world want to home exchange. Rather than trying to figure out what cities we wanted to go to (or return to), we reversed tactics and started looking for people who wanted to come to our area instead, and used that as our springboard into the pool of possibilities.
We started sending inquiries to cities that we hadn’t really considered: Brussels, Bruges, Copenhagen, Munich, Vienna, Amsterdam, Reykjavik… and got a response from a family in Copenhagen who wanted to exchange with us. We planned our trip for 6 months out from our initial conversation, and I’ve talked about it at length here on the blog.
While Copenhagen might not have been one of the first places we had thought about going to, we liked the idea of casting a line out and just seeing where we might end up. For me, the one in the family that doesn’t like to do a ton of planning and doesn’t mind spending a day or two doing things by the seat of her pants, the prospect of going somewhere we hadn’t really considered was super exciting for me.
Once we made our plans and bought our tickets for Copenhagen, we did our research, of course, and made sure to figure out transportation, attractions, and places to eat ahead of time.
It would be the longest trip we’d ever taken away from home – two weeks. In a lot of ways, that amount of time felt less like a vacation and more like we actually LIVED in Copenhagen – another bonus about home exchanging! If you can arrange a long enough trip, you can really get to know a place!
And we got really familiar with Copenhagen. We used the metro regularly and we learned our way around our neighborhood of Frederiksberg easily. We fell into a routine at our home in Copenhagen much like our routine here at home. In fact, with #ToddlerGoodwin joining us, it really did feel just like home.
When it came to the family we exchanged with, they were very accommodating and helpful. They were also more experienced exchangers, so we learned a lot from them. We Skyped with them a few times prior to the trip to discuss what things we’d need to bring with us and made arrangements for picking up keys, etc. During the exchange, we were in contact with each other to answer questions and just to check in with how our trips were going. They were very respectful to our home and left it in great condition, which all home exchangers should do.
So do we plan on home exchanging again?
For me, I love the idea of not having to have a real plan for a vacation. Some people plan trips because they just KNOW they want to go somewhere and check a place off their list… Disneyland… Hawaii… Paris…
I think Tommy and I both have our lists of places that we definitely want to visit someday, whether it’s a family trip with #ToddlerGoodwin or a getaway for just the two of us. But we’re open to the possibilities, and there’s a great big world out there to explore. I can’t wait to see where we end up going next!