In the northern hemisphere, the shortest night and the longest day of the year, known as the Summer Solstice is upon us. For those of you in Spain who don’t know what to expect, get ready to stay up all night partying! From sunset on June 23rd, to sunrise on the morning of June 24th, prepare yourself for fires in the streets, fireworks on the beach and an electric feeling in the air. On this holiday, the sun is seen as symbol of fertility and wealth, so the bonfires and fireworks that people create give it the necessary strength.
On the countryside or the coast, where you’re young or old, this is a time for people to come together and ring in summer with one another. Don’t miss out on the celebrations! Enjoy it with the ones you love no matter where you are!
If you are looking for more fireworks, here you have celebrations worldwide where friends, family, and travelers gather together to witness the beauty of fire in a midnight sky.
Helping your house exchange guests to feel at home miles away from their home is a huge part of house exchanging. Both creating a guide about the specifics of your place and physically preparing your home are equally important aspects of the process.
The guide to your home is a way for you to give your recommendations and directions to both your home and the surrounding area. Be sure to include things like the best restaurants or local boutiques, where to buy groceries, how the TV works, where to take out the trash etc. The guide is a great way to help your new family ease into their new home for however long their stay.
In addition to the guide, the proper preparation of your home for your guests is a necessity when planning a swap. There is no need to clean your home for hours, but a good vacuum, a little organization, and some clean towels and bed sheets will be just right. Treat it like you would as if family and friends were visiting, and do the same for your exchange family as you would for them. It’s also a nice gesture to leave the bare food necessities to allow the family some time to get situated when they first arrive.
To have the best home exchange experience you possibly can, remember the golden rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated. Leave your home the way you want their home to be left for you and enjoy your stay!
Found the perfect family? Now it’s time to start talking to your fellow exchanger and get the ball rolling!
Once you and the other family have decided that you both want to go through with the exchange, it’s time to begin the agreement. This is the most important part of the home exchange process. By clicking on the “Start Agreement” button, it will lead you to a list of things needed to create a miscommunication-free home swap.
You set the dates, number of people, contact information/emergency contacts, along with practical issues like exchanging the keys and dealing with cleaning details. Some suggest doing a skype session to discuss some of these items to make sure you are on the same page.
Lastly there is a list of standard home exchange agreement conditions filled with a variety of instances that each family can either agree with or disagree with, like permission to remove items from the home, or permission to have additional guests of the exchanger visit the home. Also, make sure to include any special requests you have for the exchange!
Once you complete it, your proposal will arrive to the other family where they will complete their part of the agreement. After that is complete, you will receive another email so you can double check and finalize the agreement you have both made.
It will then be saved as draft in a PDF format. Using the standard agreement document will ensure that your home is covered by the Knok Home Insurance and it will keep record of your exchange. We recommend having something in writing so both families understand and have a bigger commitment before the exchange. After returning from your trip, your exchange family will be able to add a “Trip Review” of your vacation.
This is a good way to keep everyone accountable and exchanging happily!
One of the most important parts of a home exchange is the initial greeting, where you introduce yourself and your family in order to express interests in another’s home. Here are four steps to help you get it right the first time:
1. First Impression is Key: Remember the saying that the first impression will make or break you? Well when it comes to home exchanging, it still rings true! This is your chance to describe your family in detail…likes, dislikes, hobbies, professions etc. Don’t hold back! Others want to know who could be staying in their home one day!
2. Express Real Interest: It is always best to show sincere interest and make the family feel special. Let them know much you love the location of their place, or how the windows provide a great view of the city.
3. The More Detailed the Better: Provide the dates you would like to travel and why. By giving a reason for your trip, you make the relationship more genuine. Also be sure to give the other family as many available days as possible, and try to “Be Flexible” as we detail below. Explain if you would prefer to do a simultaneous exchange, a non-simultaneous exchange using Knok Days, or no preference.
4. Ask Politely for a Response: Simply let the family know that you need to figure out your travel plans as soon as possible and you would appreciate a timely answer. Even if the answer is no, you still need to know so you can keep searching for a different exchange.
SAVE YOUR MESSAGE
Instead of having to rewrite the same introductory message every time you contact someone, you can save the first message and adapt it to each new family. Now you will have a message already written for the future, making it fast and easy to connect with other families.
Working with another family from across the globe can seem daunting in the beginning. Between trying to coordinate dates and needs, it can get confusing for both parties. The key here is to be as flexible and transparent as you can. Instead of only offering them a few days for a swap, give them a list of all the weeks in the year you would be open to travel to their location or/and they could come to your place. Maybe you’re interested in traveling for certain weather or an annual festival …let them know! The more options and information you give them, the more opportunity there is for a successful swap.
The perfect message can go a long way when reaching out to another family. It can be the start of new traditions and new relationships that will last a lifetime.
With thousands of locations to home exchange with, searching for and finding the perfect fit may seem difficult. But if you know how to optimize your search, you can find the home swap you’re looking for in no time.
HOW TO SEARCH
To find exactly what you want in a home in the destination of your choice, the website explicitly identifies the different amenities included in each house. You can search by country or city and narrow it down from there. Want an apartment in Barcelona with a balcony? Or a home for four with wifi outside of downtown Boston? Make sure to take advantage of the filters by map, features, key words, etc. Knok makes it very easy to find.
BE RECEPTIVE TO MESSAGES
When someone “knoks” on your door, or sends you a message of interest, it is best to respond in a timely manner. They could have the home of your dreams or be in a location that has everything you wanted and more, and you don’t want to miss out on a great opportunity. However, even if it’s a family that you’re not initially interested in swapping with, be open to what they have to say and offer you and your family. The best thing to do is respond to all messages as soon as you get them. Don’t wait! Fortunately, Knok makes it easy for you to do so. Right when you get a message, with the click of a button you can tell the family with an automated message that you’re interested, not interested or you would like more information. Keep your options open…Who knows, it could end up being sheer serendipity!
KNOK ON OTHER DOORS
Don’t wait for someone to knok on your door! Go after it, look around for what you want and connect with a home you’re interested in! Don’t be shy and limit yourself to what you think may be the perfect match! Reach out to anyone and everyone, this way you are sure to find a swap. You may end up helping someone realize that your house is what they want! Instead of focusing on one single destination, try searching for common interests and hobbies between other exchangers! Everyone has different tastes, but that is no reason not to knok on doors and message new families!
USE YOUR WISH LIST
To make the most of your home exchange experience, your wish list is a great tool. You can simply go through all the homes and pick your favorites for future trips or to refer back to them later. In addition to your favorite homes, you can create a to do list of different activities you would like to do when traveling to the destinations of your choice. This is a simple way to keep everything organized and saves you from having to remember everything!
Finding what you want in sea of homes available around the world can be a no brainer when you have the right tools and knowledge. Go forth and get knoking! You never know where it could lead!
Yes! In only 10 minutes you can start to home swap and open the door to a stress-free travel experience. Creating a profile is fast and easy, and it is also important to remember to include as much information and pictures about your home as possible and make a good first impression on other home swappers. So get your photos ready and let’s start the timer!
CREATE YOUR PROFILE
Begin by creating an account using Facebook, Google +, or Email. Once that is complete then just follow our tips step by step:
– Add where you’re from and the destinations you would like to travel to.
– Then, list your home describing the specifics of your house like for example, if there is air conditioning, a balcony or a car available to use, be sure to let the other members know.
– Then describe the type of neighborhood you live in and any areas you live near.
– Finally photos are the most important points to find a great home exchange, provide images of the inside and outside of your home so others can have an idea of the kind of accommodations you are providing (read here how to take good photos of your home for your house exchange). You also have the option of adding photos later if you are not ready for that step yet.
Et voila! Your profile is ready for the home exchange world.
If still want some more tips, remember these helpful Hints for Your New Profile:
DON’T BE SHY
Include as much information about your home and location as you possibly can. It will increase your chances of finding a family that is interested in your home. When you have great pictures and extensive information on your home, members will be more likely to consider your home as a place they would like to stay.
FIRST IMPRESSION IS KEY
Just like in life, the first impression you make on an online home exchange is very important. You should start by showing everyone how great your family and location is. By being friendly, flexible, and easy to communicate with, you have the ability to create new relationships with people around the globe.
Knok members live in thousands of cities worldwide, giving Knok-sters the ability to go wherever they please. For holiday travel in the mountains or a little beach getaway, you have a variety of destinations at your fingertips. From San Francisco and Vancouver, Canada to the shores of Australia and beyond, Knok makes it easy travel to the destination of your dreams.
Home swapping may seem intimidating at first, but fear not! It is a quick way to connect and an easy way to travel the world. Plus, with the help of Knok, the opportunities are endless.
If you are planning your next vacation, think on doing a home exchange. Seriously! For many people, home swapping is the only way to travel the world, why not for you?
The ability to live like a local, receive personal recommendations from the families, save hundreds on international accommodation or simply feel at home in a different city, is something travelers cannot pass up.
Here are the top 8 advantages of exchanging your home on your next vacation:
You no longer have to live out of a suitcase from a small room that you share with the rest of your family. Now you can spread out in an entire apartment or house, make yourself comfortable, and feel at home while you’re hours away. You get extra amenities that would not normally come with a hotel, along with several more rooms (kitchen, living room etc.) that provide more than enough space to fulfill your needs.
You can exchange your home simultaneously or not. If you do not want to swap your home simultaneously, you can utilize your “Knok Days” to get flexibility for your travels. For example, you can travel in the summer months and the other family vacations at Christmas time while you are away. The options are endless and can easily be determined between you and the other family.
Say goodbye to the days of feeling like a tourist; many home exchangers are recommended to provide their favorite places and local tips to help you feel like a native. By doing so, it gives you a chance to gain new perspectives and can help make the adjustment much simpler. Once both home exchangers agree to care and respect the home they stay in and follow Knok’s guide to being a good home swapper, you can often find yourself with a new friend inviting you back to their home as a guest.
STAY LONGER OR TRAVEL FURTHER
Since you won’t be spending a large sum of money on a hotel during your vacation, you now have the ability to stay longer somewhere because you are not paying per night. You can even travel to far away places you may not have considered before, by spending the money you would have used on accommodations for a more expensive plane ticket instead.
Imagine being able to exchange your home as many times as you want for as long as you want for the equivalent of less than a typical hotel night. Being a member of Knok, you can make this a reality. Simply choose to pay a small fee during the first thirty days or wait until you have found your home exchange to pay 99, an easy way to save on travel accommodations.
Fortunately every home you exchange is insured by Knok home insurance for the unlikely damages that might happen during your trip. Knok is great at giving home exchangers peace of mind, between both the insurance they provide and the reliable process in which they protect the privacy of owners.
Home swapping also gives you a well-established online exchange community. With a network such as Knok that contains homes in more than 150 countries and a support system for all of your questions/concerns, the process becomes extremely stress free. There are thousands of people like you that are looking for a fun and safe way to accommodate their family during their travels. Once you decide on a location and family, the required home exchange agreement is easy to complete. All the details are laid out for you to ensure mutual respect between exchangers. This can include allowing the use of the exchanger’s car or allowing pets.
SUSTAINABILITY – USE YOUR RESOURCES
When you go on vacation, you leave your house empty until your return. But with home exchange you can make the most of your resources by allowing a family to stay in your home and take good care of it while you’re away.
Next time you think about booking that expensive hotel in the city of your dreams, be sure to take a look at Knok and consider how home exchange can change all of your travel experiences for the better!
With today’s hard economy, it’s difficult to maintain that standard of living we are used to having. Instead of fighting to keep what we know, why not change our ways of thinking and open the door to new alternatives? Albert Cañigueral, an expert on collaborative consumption on a world scale, has published a book “Vivir Mejor con Menos” (Live better with less), in which he explains that a high level of consumption doesn’t necessarily mean a better life.
Consumption is the access (and utilization) to assets and other material things in life that contribute to our well-being, but it doesn’t just end there. A shared economy opens areas like mobility and travel, tourism, and finances among others, and offers a series of economic changes that supports and encourages an important change for our society.
One of these ideas is home swapping, a perfect example of a shared economy at work, taking the idea of “living better with less” and applying it to a vacation with the notion of “having a better vacation with less”. This option gives a traveler much more space than a hotel room can offer, giving one the advantage to have longer vacations or traveling farther away (such as internationally). You also get a cultural immersion in the real neighborhood where you are staying, appearing like a local instead of a tourist.
Albert has given us 3 books as gifts for our readers that we think stand out among the others that help us explain “what you like most about home exchanging” (if you are new on the topic of home exchange, you can participate too!). The book is written in Spanish, but why let that stop you?
Write us today at firstname.lastname@example.org to participate!