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Home Exchange Wisdom from your Jewish Grandmother

by John Mensinger on June 4, 2013

Lauren Kahn is an experienced and opinionated house swapper. She has completed 51 exchanges on three different continents and has three more planned this summer. Her blog on home exchange can be found at I think alte means old and travels is self-explanatory. I will pass on figuring out the rest.

Lauren is feisty and unrestrained about sharing her ideas and lessons with her readers. She provides unique viewpoints. I don’t agree with everything she says but she is intelligent, thoughtful, and honest. One thing Lauren and I have in common is we both studied briefly at the University of Dijon in France. She recounts travel experiences in a funny and frank way.

We are all unique in the way we approach travel and life. When it comes to home exchange where you live, your home, and your family influence your choices and results. I enjoy reading Lauren’s suggestions and ideas as they show that there is more than one correct way to handle home exchange—what works for me won’t necessarily work for others. Lauren is retired and her advice is relevant for seniors.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lauren Kahn September 28, 2013 at 2:48 PM

Actually, I, aka AlteCocker, have now done 54 home exchanges with #55 coming up in Costa Rica starting in mid November 2013. I am still trying to organize my usual European haj for next summer.

Home exchange does have its problems including cancellations and dirty homes. The home I had last summer in Toulouse was in need of a lot of major repairs. Problems with homes (including really dirty ones) are ones I run into overseas. I have to say I have never had a bad home within North America. All home exchangers who are honest have these stories and anyone doing this needs to know the down side as well. Websites never discuss it as they want you to think you can get the penthouse with a pool overlooking Central Park just for the asking. Home exchange does not work like that. With home exchange, you take what you get and be glad of it. Anywhere can be interesting, if you have not been there before.

So far for 2014, it looks as if I have an exchange in July in Krakow and one for August–well, the first serious person through the gate gets the gold ring.

For the nuts and bolts of home exchanging, look here:

For the negatives, look here:

By the way, there is a sneaky suspicion that inflates its statistics by leaving departed members up–which is why it is so hard to get responses from that site. All the experienced home exchangers who have tried that site, have complaints:

But, as I say, whatever site YOU got a deal from is the right one for you–whatever AlteCocker thinks. AlteCocker has belonged to Homelink & Intervac since 1990 and recently joined (good price for 3 years and more homes in Europe than in North America).

2 erika drews-zante December 21, 2017 at 9:35 AM

Dear Lauren,
16 years have passed since we stayed in your home! Though we did not exchange homes very often every exchange was unique and we enjoyed each of them and have great memories. I wish I had not given up my exchange with you then. They were so good!
Iam sending you our warmest holiday greetings and best wishes for 1981!

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