Home Exchange 101 Lesson 6 – Organizing Your Vacation to Maximize Enjoyment

by John Mensinger & Deren Monday on February 17, 2010

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In this, our second part of Home Exchange 101 Lesson 6, we’ll look at a few ways to organize your trip to get the most out of it.  But first, enjoy one of our typical slightly-off-mark-but-mostly-true analogies:

Party Like a Rock Star

Let’s say you want a party.  You want a great party.  You want people to get to know each other, experience a great setting, set records for most attendees per square foot and maybe end the night in a crazy drunken stupor.

You have two options for creating this party:

Option 1 is to casually mention the part to a few people, maybe prepare some food and buy some drinks, and then sit on your front porch and just kinda see who pops in.

Option 2 is to charter a jet to the Cayman Islands, invite everyone you know, pay their expenses, fly in U2 and Elton John and Justin Timberlake and Lady Gaga for a concert and provide a week of the best food, fun and drink you can imagine.

Now option 2 would require quite a bit of planning (and a ton of money.)  But, which option do you think would produce the best party?

Why You Want to Prepare for Your Exchange

Planning your exchange is similar.  The more time you put into planning for and learning about your destination, the better your chance of having a rockin’ good time.

We here at Home Exchange University enjoy the anticipation and planning for a trip as much as the actual vacation.  Here are some tips for preparing for your next home exchange.  Have additional tips from your past house exchanges?  Leave them in the comments below:

  • Using guidebooks and the Internet, learn as much as possible about the country and region you will visit.
  • Come up with a list of thirty must see attractions for every trip.  We’ll be impressed if you visit even half of them.
  • Research special events and performances taking place during your trip, like, say, Rolling with the Queen.
  • Read topical books.  John read a history of Scandinavia before visiting Denmark.  This allowed a better appreciation of his surroundings.  The book was equally helpful for two visits to Stockholm.  If you’re visiting France we highly recommend Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong: Why We Love France but Not the French.  You will have an improved understanding of the country, its culture, and its institutions.
  • You may want to study the language before visiting a country.  Yes, John has cassette courses in Danish and Swedish, and no, he can’t say more than a few words in either language.

Speaking of few words, if family conversation around the dinner table lags, it’s just the moment to discuss your upcoming vacation and the wonders and history of your vacation destination.

Click here to go to Part 3 of Lesson 6: Preparing Your Home for Your House Exchange Guests!

John Mensinger is co-founder of HomeExchangeuniversity.com and an experienced home exchanger. His passion is helping others experience the enjoyment (and cost savings!) of home exchange. John can be reached at jm_at_homeexchangeuniversity_dot_com.

Deren S. Monday is co-founder of HomeExchangeUniversity.com and father of two. He is also a remodeling coach teaching others how to make their homes exchange-worthy.  Deren can be reached at dsm_at_homeexchangeuniversity_dot_com.

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