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Weather and Home Exchange

by John Mensinger on February 24, 2013

You should always carefully consider climatic conditions before agreeing to a house swap. Think about the following:

  1. What are likely and possible weather scenarios? Will you enjoy your vacation if the weather is normal?
  2. Given your vacation style and activities, are there any unusual conditions that will ruin your vacation?
  3. Is the home and car well equipped to handle any weather contingency?

You shouldn’t be vacationing in Sweden in January if you aren’t prepared for short days, cold, ice, rain, and snow. Washington DC tends to be hot and humid during the summer. There are places in Florida where the air conditioner is used ten months a year.

We have completed 17 exchanges in Europe during the summer. Seven of these had Goldilocks weather—just right. Another seven exchanges had acceptable weather, with problems. Twice it was lots of rain, the other times it was excessive heat. Houses in Northern Europe are not air conditioned and life during hot weather can be miserable. We always ask our prospective partners how their home performs during hot weather. If they have a pool or are near a lake or the ocean it is a plus.

Three of our exchanges were marred by extreme weather. In 2006 it was a heat wave, evenings and mornings were ok but you couldn’t do anything from noon to 7pm except for swimming or visiting the rare air conditioned museum. Our Dutch house had a swimming pond which was cool. In 2007 it was heavy rain in England. There was serious flooding, local roads were under water, and the countryside was often too muddy for hiking or mountain biking. In 2012 it was rain or threatening to rain for weeks on end. We played it safe visiting museums, our Berlin neighbors took their chances, they weren’t going to let lightning and thunderstorms keep them from attending an open air concert.

We were in Provence one summer, the house was protected by shutters against the heat and there was a pool. Unfortunately the car’s air conditioning broke down when we first used it. Afternoon driving was painful.

Your family should be prepared for any contingency with proper clothes, shoes, and equipment. Ask your exchange partners how they handle extreme weather. The ideal solution is to have a positive attitude and make the best of what Mother Nature offers.



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