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Mediterranean House Swaps: Destination number one

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archived in cities

The first city we are going to make port in is Marbella. In our last post we said we were going to start in Malaga, but then we decided we couldn’t leave Marbella out simply because a sunset in Marbella can be breath-taking. A sunset for your next home swap

Marbella (Spain) is nowadays a modern tourist city, but this development only came by the second half of the 20th century. Before that, it was a fishing port, an agricultural area, or a land rich in magnetic iron. It was also of interest to Romans and Muslims, and it preserves historic remains to show this rich past. There are even footprints left behind by prehistoric inhabitants, with Palaeolithic and Neolithic remains in the area.

The city is easily accessible with connections to main roads, airports, high-speed trains and of course, it has a strong connection to the sea and its four marinas welcome small and medium-size vessels. You won’t find trouble to get to Marbella and chances are you are going to find it during a bright sunny day!

Image: cubanjunky (Barbara Walsh) / Flickr.com

Mediterranean House Swaps

posted by admin
archived in places

Home exchange offers in cities bathed by the Mediterranean waters come from a large number of HomeForHome users.  For example, the main four cities in the Spanish Mediterranean coast, Malaga, Alicante, Valencia and Barcelona, represent over 2,500 houses ready to receive swap offers.

The Mediterranian Sea, a great destination for a house swap There are some points that make this area a good choice for your vacations, other than the natural beauty and the tempting beaches. For example, it has a very good service network and infrastructure to receive tourists.

In the following posts we are going to introduce you to the best destinations along the northern coastline, covering the best of Spain, France, Monaco, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Greece and Turkey, so you can dream about the waters of the Balearic Sea, the Tyrrhenian or the Aegean before you find your swap and pack your bags. We are going to travel together from Malaga (Spain) to Antalya (Turkey), discovering the magic of the Mediterranean.

Image: Public domain image taken from Wikimedia Commons.

Why house swap?

posted by admin
archived in Advantages, Home Exchange

People are swapping almost anything that is not perishable: clothes, books, appliances, and probably anything you can imagine. So why not swap houses too? The advantage over swapping items is that it doesn’t need to be permanent, a house swap can last from a weekend (or even less!) to several months at a time but you will return to your home sweet home.

Swapping is cheaper than buying and that is why it has become so popular these days, besides, it is said to be a green practice because things get used and reused until they become obsolete or broken, instead of just sitting hidden in a shelf or closet somewhere around the house because you don’t use it any more. The deal with house swapping is similar: it is cheaper than paying for other types of accommodation and it helps travellers reduce how their trips impact on the environment.

house swapping has benefits Seems like a good combination for a deal: cheap and green. How better can it get? We invite you to join today and start enjoying the benefits of being part of our community of house swappers.

Swapping houses and universities for a semester

posted by admin
archived in Home Exchange, communicating with fellow exchangers, study, using the website

We do not write about this option very often, but students can become an important force in the swapping world. Mobility programs abide and there’s no better way to solve the accommodation problem than to swap houses with a student coming to your city (does not need to be to the same University).

The student swapper We have the Study exchanges forum for people who specifically want to swap houses driven by academic related motives. Right now, there are mostly offers of people looking for an opportunity to improve their skills in a foreign language by experiencing it first hand, living as a local - one thing home exchange is perfect for. But, you can expand this and swap houses while you take a semester or a post-graduate program in another country. If you find the right partner you won’t have to sub-let your place, it will be taken care of, and you’ll have a home away from home without spending any extra money. It also works for teachers, professors and researchers!

Image: renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Opportunities year-round, grab your swap!

posted by admin
archived in communicating with fellow exchangers

Anyone can see that there are many home swappers looking for opportunities to visit different cities and regions, specially around the holiday season. You just need to visit the Exchange Requests forum where, for example last week there were over 30 new topics with the most varied offers. From people in Rome looking for a swap partner in Barcelona, to people offering their house for next Easter! That’s right, our swappers are planning way ahead and we would encourage anyone to follow that same path.

hitch-hike to your next house-swap On the other hand, there is also a lot of activity in the “last minute deal” type of house swap, with many users trying to arrange short, weekend exchanges around November 2nd (All Souls’ Day). As we always say, in HomeForHome there’s something for every taste ;)

Following our motto of the previous posts, we need to add that no matter where you go, there should always be music in the background to turn any moment into a special moment.

Image: Public domain image taken from Wikimedia Commons (author: Drozd).

More Music for your Christmas House Swap: What about Brussels?

posted by admin
archived in cities, fun activities ideas, places

Last week we gave you two recommendations, one in the USA and the other in Spain, and this week we came up with a completely different menu: Christmas in Brussels.

Plaisirs d’Hiver (Winter Wonders)
Brussels What: Music, lights, a big wheel, several Christmas markets and an ice rink to enjoy all the pleasures of the Winter in the magical Brussels.
Where: Place Sainte-Catherine, Grand Place, Marché aux Poissons and different areas around Brussels, Belgium.
When: From November 25th till New Year’s Day.

Christmas Carols
What: A show to accompany a delightful meal with the traditional White Christmas, Have yourself a merry little Christmas, Jingle bells and many more!
Where: Vaudeville Theatre, Brussels.
When: 3 times a day on these dates in December: 11, 12, 18 and 19. Not many dates so you better make your reservation with anticipation. For more details, please click here.

Brussels would be a destination to consider to have a very joyful season. Of course this beautiful city as many more things to discover, our suggestions are just a way to entice to plan your house swap to Brussels.

Image: Flikkesteph / Flickr.

Christmas Festivals to Add Music to your House Swap

posted by admin
archived in events, fun activities ideas, places

We’ll probably return to London for part three, but right now it’s time to explore the options elsewhere so everyone can start making plans for next holiday season. A varied selection today, with two music festivals, different continents and in two very different cities.

Christmas star Chickasha Festival of Light
What: A festival that gets national attention within the USA and receives over 300,000 people each year. Lights (millions of them), displays, holiday music, a musically-choreographed light show, rides…
Where: Shannon Springs Park, Chickasha, Oklahoma, USA.
When: November 22nd to December 31st.
If you would like to know more about this festival, you can visit http://www.chickashafestivaloflight.com/

Via Magna Festival
What: Vocal music in the incomparable setting of Madrid. Different styles, different places and different artists for everyone to get a little bit of Christmas spirit. Carols, gospel, pop, flamenco and classics with renowned interpreters and new rising talents.
Where: Different locations in Madrid, Spain.
When: Activities everyday from December 10th to the 20th.
You can download a PDF file with the program at http://www.festivalviamagna.com/

Image: luigi diamanti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

London’s Christmas Festivals - Part II

posted by admin
archived in events, fun activities ideas

It is time to continue with our suggestions for next Christmas in London. Today, we have some music events that might not be 100% Christmassy, but still very joyful. Check them out:

Rihanna at The O2
What: A live performance of one of the most popular artists these days, presenting her tour Loud.
Where: The O2, Peninsula Square, London SE10 0DX.
When: Dates near Christmas are 20-22 December, 2011

Thriller – Live
What: A tribute to Michael Jackson, where you will be able to enjoy two hours of his most popular songs and choreographies.
Where: Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, St James, London W1D 7ES.
When: Several dates near Christmas, from Tuesday to Sunday, highlighting dates on December 24th and 26th.

Christmas with the Rat Pack
Musical notes What: This one is today’s Christmassy event, with season’s classics as they became famous in the voices of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr. Just like if you were in Las Vegas.
Where: Wyndham’s Theatre, Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0DA.
When: Dates starting December 20th, from Tuesday to Saturday.

We hope you find time during your next house swap to add some music to your trip with any of these fabulous shows.

Image: Public domain image taken from Wikimedia Commons.

Opinions and feedback about exchanges

posted by admin
archived in events, fun activities ideas, using the website

We were going to continue with our suggestions for next Christmas in London today but we will leave it for the next post instead because we have an interesting tip to share with you to check out another feature available in HomeForHome that can help you find house swap partners or interesting destinations:

In our home page, we have an area in the right-hand side panel to show “Opinions on Home Exchanges” where there are usually two or three of our users’ comments about their last home swaps. But, if you want to see all the opinions, you can use the “See more opinions” link below these comments.

Opinions Every user that has accepted a home exchange proposal will be asked to share their opinion about the experience. Opinions and ratings are very important because they become part of the presentation letter of your exchange partner.

Since we do not want to leave you festival-free today, we have a reminder:

Oktoberfest 2011
What: A lot of fun!
Where: Munich, Germany.
When: Now, until October 3rd.

If you are near Munich, it could be worth a visit :)

Let’s Start With London’s Christmas Festivals - Part I

posted by admin
archived in cities, events, fun activities ideas

What does London has to offer for Christmas 2011? A lot! Here are some ideas if you are planning to swap houses with someone in London during the holiday season:

Christmas at Westminster Abbey
What: A series of live performances, with classic choral pieces, carols and concerts.
Westminster Abbey from the London Eye Where: 20 Deans Yard, London, SW1P 3PA.
When: Starts November 29th and ends on Christmas Day with the Sung Eucharist.

Raymond Gubbay Barbican Christmas Festival
What: Varied performances, like Mozart by Candlelight, ballet with artists from the Russian State Ballet of Siberia, the traditional New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day Galas, seasonal favourites, Lee Mead and apparently a special appearance of Santa Claus.
Where: Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS.
When: Activities during one month from December 2nd, 2011 till January 2nd, 2012.

Royal Albert Hall Christmas Festival
What: Christmas carols, sing-alongs and festive songs with performances from the London Philharmonic Choir, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the King’s College Choir.
Where: Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AP.
When: December 2011, from the 12th till the 24th.

We have more events to help you plan your swap’s fun activities and we’ll keep sharing them. If you have ideas, let us know!

Image: Lokal_Profil photo taken from Wikimedia Commons.

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