Home Trades – The New, Better Way To Travel

Most people have heard of Airbnb and VRBO.  These are arguably the two most popular vacation rental websites.  They connect homeowners with travelers, using an easy-to-use interface, and allowing each party to have some benefits over traditional hotels.  For the homeowners, it’s a simple way to make some extra money when you aren’t using your home.  For the travelers, you get the use of a fully furnished home, often with better amenities than a hotel, for a cheaper price.

Well…the new trend in vacationing is known as a “home trade” or “home exchange” or “home swap”.  This is a system where people can exchange holiday homes with one another, without needing to exchange any money.

Chances are if you’re a homeowner, you’re already paying a mortgage on your home, so when you go on vacation, you’d be paying your mortgage PLUS whatever lodging fees you incurred at your destination.  But with a home trade, you get free accommodations while travelling.  The savings can be enormous.  There’s also the added bonus of not having to collect taxes while renting out your home (like Airbnb and VRBO users typically have to), so you don’t need to worry about government intervention.

Also, when doing a home exchange, you don’t have to do the exchange simultaneously.  This means that Homeowner A may stay at Homeowner B’s house for a week in May, but Homeowner B may want to stay at Homeowner A’s house for a week in December.  No problem!  You just need to coordinate your schedule with the other homeowner to work this out.

A friend of mine recently traded his NYC condo for a 9000 sq ft villa in Thailand that came with its own staff…and even a waterslide!  How could this be a fair trade?  Well…New York City is one of those super desirable locations, so he was able to trade his condo that would rent on Airbnb for hundreds of dollars a night, for a villa that’s worth thousands of dollars a night. And it cost him absolutely nothing. There’s no other way to pull something this awesome off, other than a house exchange.

What if I rent?

Not a problem.  As long as it’s ok with your landlord you can still participate in home trades.

HomeTrade.com

This newly launched site allows people from all over the world to swap their homes.   There’s other sites that offer a similar service, but HomeTrade.com’s main differentiator is that they make it easy to search for homes based on your lifestyle, rather than just cities you want to go to.  So, for example, if you’re into kiteboarding, you can find homes in areas that offer that.

Safety

Safety is always a primary concern when doing a home swap.  One way to reduce any chance of risk is to check out the reviews on the home trade website for the other homeowner.  You should also talk to them on the phone and some research on them using social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.  It’s very, very rare for people to have issues using the home trade model. This is likely because many people treat other homes even better than their own.

How do I learn more?

Head over to http://hometrade.com and sign up for free.

The Workaholic’s Guide to a Real Vacation

Once upon a time, 40-hour work weeks were a real thing. After you logged off from your work computer and walked out the door you were done until the following morning. In today’s professional environment, this may sound like one of those exaggerated stories old people tell about how things were different in their day.

The truth is, if you expect good annual reviews, raises and promotions, your workday never ends. That means priority emails at dinner, client meetings over the weekend and business calls at all hours of the day.

Vacation: The Foreign Concept
This always-available mindset means that it’s hard for most to really relax when they’re finally given the chance. To put it frankly, some just don’t know how to stop working.

Whether you’re of the opinion that vacations can wait until retirement, or even if you just find comfort in knowing your boss can always count on and reach you, everyone can benefit from a little time away from responsibilities, obligations and deadlines. Here are a few tips brought to you by Naracoopa Bed and Breakfast Pavilion that will help you disconnect from work and reconnect with your family, friends and the world around you.

Plan early and leave early. A general rule for vacations is begin planning early so that you can secure your flights, hotel accommodation and your spot in whatever tour or event you’d like to participate in while there. If you’re lucky, booking early will also save you a few dollars.

When it comes to the departure day, leave early to avoid traffic delays and long lines at the airport. It’s better to wait an hour in the airport lounge than the security line.

Setup ‘away’ messages on all of your accounts. If people are unable to reach you, they won’t be able to disturb you. Therefore, once you check in at the airport or pull off for your road trip, enable an ‘away’ message for your email address and phone numbers.

However, if you completely cut off all contact you’ll be tempted to check your messages. Instead, give an emergency contact number to only a few people. This way you can ensure you won’t be disturbed unless it’s actually important.

Sign up for a therapeutic massage. According to the Global Spa and Wellness Summit, research has shown that massage therapy offers clear medical benefits, from reducing stress and migraines to improving your white blood cell count.

If you have a demanding, stressful career, one of the first items on your vacation agenda should be a therapeutic massage.

Don’t fill your itinerary with a ton of activities. If you’re visiting somewhere historical that has a ton of landmarks worth visiting, it can be tempting to schedule a visit to each one on your 10-day trip. This only serves to turn your vacation into a project with deadlines.

Instead, select the landmarks you really want to see and spread them out over the duration of your stay. For every day spent in the bustling city wading through crowds, one should be spent lounging on the beach, at the pool or simply strolling through the city.

Create a budget that has a comfortable cushion. Money trouble is the quickest way to increase stress. When planning your trip, estimate your expenses, from daily meals and travel costs to shopping and ticket prices for anything you plan on doing. Knowing ahead of time how much you expect to spend will make it easier to create a budget with a comfortable cushion for emergencies or impromptu expenditures.