Sunday, July 28, 2013

Trading Places.....Trading Homes

usbackroads:  Trading Places......Trading Homes

As I started my career as a professional Forester I discovered that I was living and working in places that people vacationed.  The thought that I could trade my home for a home elsewhere for a couple of weeks came to mind, but I was unsure how to make it happen.   It was years later that I discovered that school teachers had been trading homes for years and had several web sites to facilitate trades.

If you search the web on home exchanges there are sites that show sites available for trades.  No recommendations.  We just ask people that advertise vacation homes for rent and ask if they want to trade.

Our trades for our Wenatchee area home included the San Juan Islands, Long Beach and Sequim in Washington state, Sedona, Napa Valley, Santa Cruz Mountains,  Baja California, and the Yucatan in Mexico.

I even agreed to a trade for a home in Paris, Texas.  Unfortunately, I misunderstood and  it turned our to be Paris, FRANCE.  Been there done that in 1976.  I did have great guide service provided by the CIA, but that is another story.  Alexandra and Susie did get to spend ten days in Paris, France while I stayed home.

There are upsides and downsides to trading homes.  The good news is that we have never had an issue with security or theft.  The downsides are more subtle.  Some people want to include vehicles in the trade.  We have stayed away from that trade due to liability concerns.d

Equal trades seldom happen.  You will either get a nicer home than yours or one that does not quite measure up.  It is part of the trade.  Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.  However, in the long run it probably all evens up.  And then sometimes you get a jewel of a trade.

Would you go there if you did not have a trade?  The good news is that some trades turn out to be worthwhile even if you were not interested in the area.  Our Yucatan trade fit into that category.  I probably would have never gone on my own.  It was a worthwhile trip, one that I would not have taken, but the trade made me take the trip.

Saving money.  You do save money on accommodations.  But if you have to fly there, the accommodations become a minor part of the cost.  In some situations, it is probably better to spend the money for better locations than your trade.  Get an address or better yet a lat/long for the property and check it out with Google Earth.   If you can drive to the trade you definitely get a cheap vacation.

Community.  One advantage to a trade is that many times you get to be part of the community.  Neighbors will come by and check you out.  In Yucatan, we got invited to several "end of the world" parties, plus Christmas, plus New Years and lets just get together.  It was one of the best parts of the trip.  All of our best trips were we became part of the local community if only for three weeks.

Arranging the time for the trade is also an issue.  The best and easiest trades are with people that own vacation or second homes.  In many cases, they already rent their homes and they are set-up for guest visitors.  Trading primary homes is a bit more difficult since THEY have to go on vacation so you can stay in the house.   However, if you have plenty of free time than you can easily work around other peoples schedules.

Pets can also be an issue.  We have had to kennel our pets in several cases.  We have also had a nice black lab keep an eye on us during the exchange.  Be upfront with pets.  People with pet allergies really cannot have a pet living in their house for a week even if they are gone during that time.

The trading sites are full of urban trades.  There is a real lack of good stuff, like a trade for a farm with pheasants in the Dakotas or eastern Montana.  I would trade in a flash for a cabin on a good British Columbia fly fishing lake, instead we traded for 10 days in Paris!!

It is an interesting way to explore the world.  Trading places and trading homes.  You don't have to be a professional Forester to do it, but it helps.

1 comment:

Keith Johnson said...

Great pictures, it definitely looks peaceful and serene. This trading homes practice seems interesting, I hadn't heard much about it before now.

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