Home exchange: A new way to enjoy the holidays and experience the community

2015年10月30日/淡水校園

【記者隋昀珈報導】 During the holidays or long weekends, a lot of people like to travel to different places, whether its domestic or international. It is no secret that people these days are really stressed, it doesn’t matter who you are, everybody has a lot on their plates. Going away to a different place can do a lot of good, a change of scenery can do wonders for a person.
There are many ways to vacation these days, for example there is the traditional kind where people would book a trip through a travel agency and enjoy some site seeing in some touristy places. A working holiday is also a great choice, travel to a different country or place, find a job and work there for about six months to a year or longer. Make a living while having fun, visit a few local watering holes and enjoy living in a different environment. Another option is to exchange homes for a period of time.
The premise for home exchange is quite simple, for a short period, two families or individuals trade homes for a while. There they can experience each other’s life and community in a more authentic way. This course of action has gained popularity during the years, so it’s only nature that the entertainment industry has used it as a premise for movies and TV shows. For example, a few years back there was a movie called “The Holiday”, in the movie two people exchanged homes during the holidays to get away from their separate situations. There is also a show on BBC Lifestyle, on the show two families exchange homes for three days. And the host family must provide an antennary for the visiting family. Once the experience is over, the families will get to see what the other family thought of their home and their reactions.
HomeExchange.com is the number one home exchange website in the world. More than sixty five thousand members have made over hundreds of thousands of home exchanges in over a hundred and fifty countries around the world. There are only four simple steps. First, become a member of the website. Second, add a listing, take some photos of your home to show the other members what they can be expecting. And list some specific details like if it’s pet or kid friendly or if car exchanging is available. Also, remember to specify the dates for which you will like the exchange to happen. Third, browse through the listings to find houses you are interested in. Afterwards, use the message system to get in touch with other members. Lastly, set a time and finalize the plans with each other. In order for the exchange to succeed, you must find a member that is looking to exchange to your country or area and you must meet all of their criteria.
Home exchanging has become an international hit, everybody is doing it including people living in Taiwan. There are currently six listings in New Taipei City and one of them happens to be located in Damshui. The listing is listed by a member named Bruce, his apartment is located near the fisherman’s wharf and is ten minute walking distance to Fort Santo Domingo. His listing is kid and pet friendly and is looking for a long-term exchange. His preferred exchange destination include the United States and Hokkaido, Japan.
There are many advantages to home exchanging, it’s cheaper than a hotel and it feels more like home. With the saved money, you can use it to rent a car or on other everyday necessities. Second, save money on food and beverages, with a fully stocked kitchen, you can buy and prepare your own food. This way it does not cost as much and is a lot healthier. During the stay it’s like stepping into another person’s life, you get to experience a different life style.
The disadvantages are that home exchanging is not like living in a hotel, there are no helpful hotel staffs. So if there is a problem, the neighbors might not be of any help and you will have to find solutions by yourself. Also, each house has its own little quirks, like creaky stairs or bad plumbing etc. The worst problem of them all is that once the exchange period is over, you might find yourself wanting to stay. The experience has been such a blast that, you wish you didn’t have to return home.
Home Exchange is a new way to travel, if you are willing to open your home to some complete strangers and live in their house for a short period. You will get a unique and different vacation and find out how other people are living their lives. It’s a cheaper way to travel and broaden your horizon.

(104學年度第1學期/第210期/編輯:范雪文)