Seniors Consider Home Exchange Holidays Worldwide

Jul 19th, 2010 | By James E Becker | Category: Senior Travel

Australian Homestays and Farmstays is a site that allows you to plan and book your accommodation in Australia.  This is Australia’s leading homestay, farmstay, B&B, and self-contained accommodations directory, representing Australia and all its states.   

ElderTravelers, PO Box 471, Liberty Lake, WA 99019, info@eldertravelers.org, is back online with a slightly modified web address, www.eldertravelers.org, having lost its “.com” address during a 2003 ownership transition period. To celebrate its return with a new domain name, it is inviting 2,300 former members in 43 countries and new members alike to take advantage of a grand re-opening special until the end of 2005: the first year’s membership is half price at only $20.

Home Base Holidays, 7 Park Ave., London N13 5PG, England; 011 44 20 8886 8752; info@homebase-hols.com. Established in 1985, the agency has home exchange offers worldwide with new listings daily. The free bi-monthly Home Swappers newsletter includes articles and tips from experienced home exchangers. The regularly updated blog, Travel the Home Exchange Way, answers questions on swapping homes and includes special home exchange requests. Membership: one year £29, 2 years £39.

HomeExchange.com, P. O. Box 787, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254, U.S.A.; 800-877-8723 or 310-798-3864, fax 310-798-3865, was established in 1972; this outlet now has 10,000 members, 50% in the US. Easy to search under many categories, includes a special section for seniors. One-year listing is $59.95 and photos are free.

HomeLink International, 7 St. Nicholas Rise, Headbourne Worthy, Winchester, SO23 7SY, U.K., 011-44-1962-886882; exchange@homelink.org.uk. Established in 1953, HomeLink International is the oldest and largest home exchange organization in the world with 24 offices worldwide, staffed by experienced home exchangers and meeting the home exchange needs of the more than 13,000 listed members in 69 countries. Each year HomeLink publishes a full-color 800-page print directory with thousands of individual listings and photos. Members also have year-round access to an online database on the latest listings and assistance from 24 English-speaking officers worldwide. Annual membership is about $200 (£115).

New Zealand Homestays & Farmstays is another site where you can plan and book your accommodations; web site-direct, it is New Zealand’s leading homestay, farmstay, B&B, and self-contained accommodations directory.

Sarah Stanley’s Unique Homestays, Lantern Cottage, Trebudannon, Newquay, Cornwall, England TR8 4LP, 011-440-1637-881942; enquiries@uniquehomestays.com. A worldwide holiday accommodations service for independent discerning travelers and single persons seeking somewhere special to stay. Choose a luxury homestay, self-catered accommodation, or boutique hotel from a carefully screened catalog which includes the U.K., France, India, Italy, Spain, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa, and the U.S.

Seniors Home Exchange is the only home exchange group exclusively designed for the over-50 age group. Register and view listings from 38 countries, including exchanges of motor homes and caravans. $79 for three years, $100 for lifetime, with second home listing at no extra cost.

Home Exchange Tips are offered compliments of Ruth Marvin Webster. 
1. Some web-based home exchange organizations inflate their databases and even plagiarize listings. Look for companies that constantly update their listings; look for fresh listings by noting each member’s registration date.
2. Test the level of customer or trade service each company provides. Determine whether there is someone to answer specific questions or has representatives in different countries. Bigger may not always be better.
3. Don’t be dissuaded by companies that require a reasonable membership fee (from $30 to $100). A fee may indicate genuine interest on the part of the members.
4. Check to see how long the company has been in business. Sometimes brand-new companies will use other companies’ listings to start a directory or database.
5. Check for references from your exchange partner (if they have exchanged before) and satisfied customer testimonials from the company. It is always a good idea to correspond or talk directly with your exchange partners. Clearly agree on travel dates and the location of house keys and whether cars and pets are exchanged too.
6. Be certain your home and auto insurance policies cover house exchanging. Most do.
7. Put away anything in your home that you couldn’t bear to see used or broken.
8. Leave a list of “how to’s” for complicated appliances, security systems, sprinklers, etc. Leave a phone number of a neighbor or friend who your partner can contact. A list of recommendations for shopping, eating, sightseeing, and emergency numbers will also be appreciated.
RUTH MARVIN WEBSTER, a former attorney in California, publishes widely. See the author’s account in Transitions Abroad of her own home exchange experiences, “Summers in Europe”.     jeb



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