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5 tips to have a greener home when you make a home exchange:

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Create a plant and herb garden: your guests will enjoy the smell of the plants and being able to pick up herbs from your garden. If they need to take care of your garden make sure to specify it in the description of your home.

· Switch your light bulbs to CFLs: you can find different eco

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light bulbs for different ambiences, from warm lights to ice whites.

· Don’t use disposable bags. Use reusable bags and leave them at home so your guests can be as

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· Support the local stores by shopping at farmer’s market and avoid big chains. Leave a list of local stores for your guests so they can enjoy

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· Fix all the faucets that might be leaking. Water is a precious resource and we need to save it!

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We have been writing about home exchange destinations in the

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Albania, Greece and Turkey (maybe soon).

w-h-a-t-? We want to keep the blog interesting and useful, and the best way to do so is to get our readers involved in the process. That is why we are going to ask you: colorgreen What do you want to read about? Is there anything you would like to be explained thoroughly in this space?

You can send us the answers using the “Leave a comment” link located right below this article, or you can use the contact form which is accessible by clicking the link located in the footer of this page.

We sincerely hope to hear from you, to make a better home exchange blog.

Happy house swapping!

Image: courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Berlin is blooming

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Berliner Dom and river Spree

Berliner Dom and river Spree

With the arrival of the spring, Berliners are getting out of their winter clothes and starting to enjoy the terraces, the open bars and soon in enough the River Spree.

Here’s some ideas of things to do in Berlin in the spring:

Summer Music Festivals in the UK II

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Summer festivals have music for everyone, for all ages and for every taste. Yesterday we had some short notice dates but today we have more variety. Home exchange, like any other way of travelling, can be about many things, and art and music can be a very powerful reason.

Glastonbury Festival 2003 Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts 2011: known as Glastonbury Festival to save some words, it is probably one of the largest festivals in the UK with music, dancing, and different artistic performances.
When? Starts on a Wednesday, June 22nd is the date, and ends June 26th.
Where? Worthy Farm, Pilton, England.
Interesting performances this year: B.B. King, Morrissey, Beyonce, Jimmy Cliff, Coldplay, U2, Fatboy Slim, and so many more…
More info about the festival: http://www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk/

Wireless Festival 2011: if you want to get your body moving, this is the festival for you.
When? From Friday July 1st till Sunday July 3rd.
Where? Hyde Park, London, England.
Interesting performances this year: The Black Eyed Peas, The Chemical Brothers, Pulp, The Hives, David Guetta.
More info about the festival: http://www.wirelessfestival.co.uk/2011/

How long do you need to find a home swap opportunity near these festivals? In case you can’t make it this year, remember that they are usually annual events but there are exceptions and the Glastonbury Festival is one of those because 2012 will be a fallow year and the next edition will be in 2013. Can you wait that long?

Image: Public domain media from Wikimedia Commons.

Music and Home Swaps: What’s Coming Next?

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To all of you that were following our musically-guided worldwide tour, we have strayed away in the past couple of weeks but we will be back on “track” soon. There is much music to come but we just had to make a stop to help some of our users take the most out of HomeForHome to find their swaps for this coming Summer.

With all the music related contents we have in mind, there is no doubt we are going to have other “interruptions” before we cover everything. So, in case you are wondering about where we are going to take you and what we are going to talk about in our future music related posts, here is a short list of subjects:

– Music festivals in different cities.
– Useful websites to find music related events near you.
– More about different music styles and rhythms: there is a lot about rock, folk styles, merengue, salsa, electronic music, mariachi’s music and many more!
– Interesting or less known musical instruments and where you are likely to find them.

What would you like to read about? leave us a comment using the link belowWe are curious to learn if there are things you would like us to write about, so, you can contact us any time with your ideas, suggestions or comments. HomeForHome can help you find your next exciting home swap but it can also help you find other things!

More About Taiko For A Future Musical Swap

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Since we abruptly ended our last post with a note inviting you to continue reading about taiko drumming in this post, we are going to get right into the subject:

taiko drum The body of a taiko is made out of wood. Different types of wood are used to make these drums, which are not easy to make. There are a few ways to make a taiko, the most common way to make a one piece cavity is to select a tree of the desired size (diameter) and cut a piece of the appropriate length. Then, the section is hollowed out very carefully, considering shape and thickness of the body that is desired, and finally pieces of animal skin (usually cowhide or horsehide) are used to seal both ends tightly. The animal skins of the heads can be nailed to the body of the drum (byodome-daiko) or alternatively they can be stretched on ring-shaped frames that are placed at both ends of the body (tsukeshime-daiko). This second way to attach the heads to the body allows for cords to connect both pieces of skin through holes made on their edges, and allows for the drum to have a different sound depending on how tight the heads are pulled.

This instrument comes in different sizes and shapes, the largest one being the O-daiko (or Ōdaiko, which means big taiko) that can be many times bigger than a man with a diameter of several meters, but there are are other types like the Chu-daiko, a type of nagado-daiko or elongated drum.

We are not finished, so more about taiko tomorrow along with places where you can combine your home exchange with some taiko drumming.

Image: BrianAdler (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

More Musical Home Exchange Destinations

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We took a short detour from our series of music related posts to give you some news about what is going on in HomeForHome and how any user can share a list of preferred home swap destinations, adding valuable information to their profile, but now we are ready to continue in the path of music. We might have to take other breaks in the future, whenever something exciting needs to be disclosed or there is something that catches our attention, but now is time to get our headphones back on and get on the road again. Back on the music road

There is a lot to be covered in this virtual trip yet and music is such an excellent excuse to discover different places that we cannot be sure how long we will stay in this journey. Like we said, we may need other short periods of silence in the middle of this rhythmical trip, and you can be sure that music will take us to every corner of our wonderful world.

There are still many places to be visited, many genres to tell you about, many interesting instruments to be discovered, many notable performers that deserve to be mentioned, several stories that need to be told, places and attractive ideas you may want to add to your travel plans. In our next post we will learn about taiko. Come with us to discover an ancient instrument that has re-gained popularity in recent decades.

Image: seaskylab / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

2 in 1: Glasgow & Gent

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To complete our week we are going to discover just a little bit about Gent (Ghent) and Glasgow, two cities that appear to have two things in common: 1) a capital “G” and 2) music ;)

Glasgow, Scotland

This city claims to have a weekly average of 130 music-related events. Could that be so? Well, as surprising as it may seem, it appears to be the truth because there are all kinds of events in Glasgow, covering all music styles, all kinds of events and for all ages: Celtic, country, classical, contemporary, electronic, indie, jazz, pop, choral, rap, urban… You name a music related keyword and we can find you an event in Glasgow. Impressive!

Gent, Belgium

Image by inyucho / Flickr Gent was the latest addition to the list of UNESCO Cities of Music and it is the smallest city in the list. The most prominent cultural expressions of Gent’s spirit are the International Festival of Flanders Ghent (Internationaal Festival van Vlaanderen Gent) and the Ghent Festivities (Gentse Feesten) - ten days of music in every corner of the city, including Jazz in the “Gent Jazz Festival”, techno music and dancing in “10 days Off” and puppet theatre and musicals in “Puppetbuskersfestival”.

Whether you go for the 130 events per week, the 10 days of Gent Festivities or the Festival of Flanders, you know where to find an partner for an international home exchange.

Next, Please!

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We have “invited” you to four countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil and New Zealand. Three of these countries are organizing sports events that will attract the eyes of millions and one has a traditional festival that every year fills the streets with magic, but also involves a competition because during Carnival the different Escolas de Samba (Samba Schools) compete to be crowned the best of the year and there is even the possibility to be “degraded” to a lower “division” if they don’t do well in the eyes of the judges. Since we started too “sportingly” we are going to turn to the arts, but with a little bit of competition too, like in the Carnival ;)

Alaska, USA - If you like snow, ice and cold, or you are in very hot place and you feel like you need to chill, then we have the place for you: the 2011 World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks, Alaska. From February 22nd to March 27th, the self claimed largest annual ice art competition and exhibition worldwide will receive over 70 teams from around the globe to compete in several categories including Amateur and Junior. The event is accompanied by an all-ice entertainment park for children: the Kids Park. So, this seems like an enjoyable event for a family looking to swap houses to a place that combines arts and recreation. If you are thinking: are there house swappers in Alaska? We have the answer: Yes! There are HomeForHome swappers in Alaska.

Image by Antoine Henrich / FreeDigitalPhotos.net If you are in the mood for more ice sculptures and you don’t want to get so far up North, we are going to bring you more Ice Sculpture Festivals around the world in our next post.

Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year! 2011 is here! It is interesting how one simple change in the date gives us enough excuse to celebrate, reunite with family and greet friends and relatives with a very special smile. A new year begins and with it comes the hope for better things.

We can only hope for more people swapping houses in 2011, not only because we truly believe it is the best way to travel (and the cheapest one), but also because home swapping can help you look at the world with different eyes while you travel. When you swap houses, you can get immersed in a different region, country and culture in a way that no other way to travel allows, and you can value the small details that make life such and exciting journey. This “immersion” lets people really get to know and understand other cultures and expressions and it is through understanding that we can hope to accomplish a more peaceful coexistence.

HomeForHome will keep bringing people closer, helping them interact and arrange home swaps, hoping to contribute to a healthier way of travelling.

We want to wish you a very special 2011, may it be a year to share special moments with family and friends, to reach for your dreams and to travel!

Image by luigi diamanti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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