A family vacation complete with hairpin curves and lemons, beaches and pizza
By Bella English, Globe Staff | June 28, 2009
We wanted to take a family vacation when my son graduated from high school, and we settled on a two-week period in late May and early June when all four of our schedules would align. We also settled on a place: the Amalfi Coast, that dramatic strip from Sorrento to Salerno where the mountains meet the Mediterranean, lemons meet limoncello, and the sky meets the sea.
But then our dreams met reality. How could we justify taking a trans-Atlantic trip during a recession? First, we figured out that we could cobble together four frequent flier tickets - to Rome by way of Dublin, of all places. And last fall, I began saving every $5 bill that came my way, with a resulting $1,200 for spending money by the time we left.
Then we signed on to Intervac.com, the same house-swap site we had used years ago for a wonderful vacation in France. Though there are thousands of listings all over the world, there are few in Amalfi. I guess no one ever wants to leave there, for good reason.
We finally found one place in the seaside town of Maiori and sent out a pitch: Would they trade their two-bedroom apartment 10 minutes from the beach for our suburban house 20 minutes from Boston? They couldn’t swap during our time frame, but we could rent the apartment, which was their “holiday home.’’ It was cheap, 400 euros a week, or just under $600 (at $1.45 to the euro). We wired them a down payment for a two-week stay and several months later found ourselves lugging suitcases and following Tina and Giovanni from the Maiori bus stop to their digs.
Leah Konen wrote a very clear article about why home exchange is such a a great way to travel. She also offers some easy to follow steps on how best to get a good swap. And like all PointClickHome stories, there are some great photos to look at. Check it out here.
Sometimes travel sneaks up on us, or we need to make a trip without much notice. Before making expensive plans to stay in a hotel, check out www.intervac.com for last minute home exchanges. Doing this will save you money, and is bound to be more enjoyable. Click on the Last Minute Listings link at the top of your member's home page and see for yourself that there are many people looking for exchanges in the next couple weeks. It’s never too late to organize an exchange as long as you flexible about destination and time.
Please don't let this discourage you. Some members just don't like to say no. So, instead, they say nothing. We encourage all members to respond to other members. But, don't let the lack of response deter you. The more messages you send, the greater your likelihood of getting a great home swap. And if you're really interested in a listing, send them another message a few days after sending the original message to reiterate your interest.
Due to the knocks our economy has taken, most of us are being forced into making some cutbacks. Some people have started brewing coffee the old fashioned way instead of swinging through Starbucks. Others have been resorting to sack lunches rather than heading across the street to Zino's for a BLT and fries. Whatever the sacrifices are, Intervac members can let out a sigh of relief. For them, vacation is one thing that doesn't have to be cut from this year's To Do list. With the frightening expense of hotels, restaurants, and car rentals out of the way, plane tickets are all you have to think about. If you've save up frequent flier miles, then a home exchange won't cost a penny. The way this year is going, most of us will need a vacation.
An English family is looking to swap with an American family for three weeks from July 21 to August 20. The family of five's townhome is located in Islington, a lovely area of North London. The pictures on their listing page show how lovely a home this is. It even includes a garden, a rarity for central London. This is a last minute home exchange listing that won't last long. Check out all of Intervac's last minute listings here.
Most Intervac members have already begun the process of searching for the perfect destination to do a home exchange this summer, but time isn’t up yet. There is still time to find the right exchange for your family this summer.
To encourage those still on the fence about travel this year, it's important to remember you can get two vacations for the low price of one membership. You can arrange a last minute summer home swap this summer and and also get an early start on next summer. Give in to the temptation of travel this year by home exchanging!
After 50 years of printing home exchange catalogs, Intervac ceased publication in 2007. We now publish our listings exclusively on the Internet.
We have a few extra copies of that final print run that we're now making available to members. So, if you prefer to view the listings away from your computer or are simply curious to see what a home swap catalogue looks like, just join Intervac and drop us a note that you'd like the November 2007 Intervac catalog sent to you for free.
A five minute walk from the beach with a beautiful view of the Olympia Mountains and only a twenty minute drive from downtown, this Northwestern home is the whole package. You could take a walk along the beach with a mug of world famous Seattle coffee in the morning, then hop in the car to explore downtown. You could be back in time to see the sun reflecting off the Puget Sound, but given all the hoppin' spots this berg has to offer, you may want stay out late. These experienced home exchangers have had 16 exchanges and are retired, so this places is available whenever you are!
Click the link below to check out this Seattle listing!
An hour and a half from Chicago, this large lake escape is the perfect getaway. With seven bedrooms and three bathrooms, this estate can fit ten adults comfortably. You could enjoy the sunrise on the porch, then stroll through the back yard for a swim . Golfing is a short drive, as is shopping. You could take the family into the windy city for a Cubs game, hit the links for a quick nine, and still be back on the deck in time to enjoy the sunset. The family is up for offers anywhere in the US that can sleep eight.
Lauren Kahn, long time Intervac member and home exchange enthusiast, was recently featured on CNN speaking about home exchange. One of the many great tips she gave was how important research is in regards to home exchange. In many cases, one must be flexible while picking a destination to exchange, maybe a suburb or surrounding city to a larger more known area. Many might be tempted to neglect to do their research. Lauren told a tale on CNN about a trip to Prague that instilled the importance of research. In many cases, the home exchange partner will send links to tourist websites or to the chamber of commerce. These are useful tools, but taking it a step further insures a fun, safe exchange. Looking up articles and reviews that are not associated with the material sent to you by the potential home exchanger will provide you with the right amount of information to make an educated decision as to whether the potential destination is right for you. Being informed is the key to success!
If you've never seen the Northeast in Autumn, it's time to do it. Why
not spend a couple of weeks this fall in complete seclusion? This
three bedroom, three bathroom classic New England home is the perfect
spot to catch up on some R & R, explore the wild on foot or on
bikes, or finally finish that novel. You'll be out in the woods,
yet the modern world will be a click away with cable internet and TV.
Also, if it's skiing your after, that's right around the corner. If
you need to make a run to the big city, Burlington is 25 km away. This
country palace has it all, and you can live like this now!
The only way to see a full view of New York City is if you're above the clouds. With this flat on the 30th floor, you'll be able to see everything. Central park is a hop, skip and a jump away, so you'll be getting the New york experience tenfold. The Apartment is perfect for two adults, so whether you've come in from a Broadway show or had a pleasant night in, this luxurious one bedroom will be the perfect city spot for a maximum of ten day exchange. You can live like this now, click the link below to take a better look at USNY481:
One of our French members has three weeks scheduled in Los Angeles, starting on July 21st and ending on August 11th. Something has come up and their lodging arrangement has fallen through. If anyone's listing is a second home that is available for this time, this family would be very grateful. Of course, in return they would make their home available if you ever got the urge to visit France. If you can swing it, this family could surely use the help, since at this point the plane tickets are nonrefundable. Please respond as soon as you can by sending an email to:
I will respond promptly with the information needed to get in touch with this family.