During the holidays its a perfect time to start planning your next family vacation; however, before you find yourself automatically booking a stay for an all-inclusive resort or stuffy hotel, take a few minutes to read about a travel alternative that brings new meaning to the phrase: Family Vacation!

A stay at an all-inclusive resort is a true, ?just show up?, straightforward vacation. But the ?sameness? of the daily activities, food and overall experience is not always a meaningful affair. In fact, the term ?all-inclusive? is misleading since you often pay extra for certain amenities or higher quality food or beverage choices.  A paradigm shift is needed in the way we view all-inclusive resorts. We have to move away from referring to them as 'all-inclusive' and start referring to them as 'pre-paid' vacations.

So for your next family vacation, why not consider an alternative where you can determine (and budget for) all the costs associated with your vacation? 6 ways home exchange adds meaning and joy to family holidays:

1. Save Money

Swapping homes with another traveller eliminates you paying for your accommodation! Your stay is free, plus with access to a kitchen, you save money by preparing your meals. You also save by controlling the choice and thus cost of the entertainment you experience. You won?t need to ?pre-pay? for the resort?s daily shows.

2. Get More Space

Try this. Close your eyes and envision a typical room at a resort? does it not look like a bedroom with an ensuite bathroom? With a home, what you get is far more living space. It's a value in itself to know that you won't be spending your non-sightseeing time in a bedroom!

There is a value in this mentally. In a home, you can relax in the living room and retire to the bedroom later. You don't need to spend time in one small room on days of unfavourable weather, especially if you have children. There are days while on vacation when you will want to sleep in or retire early for the night. There may be days when you're unwell and to spend a day sightseeing will only make you feel worse. Wouldn't it be great to have the extra space to relax and not disrupt anyone in your travel group? A home with its abundant space can offer you just that.

3. Live A More Authentic Experience

One major reason we travel is to learn about the cultures and lifestyles of people who live in different parts of the world. What better way to do this than to immerse yourself in a neighborhood and live among the locals. You will learn more and have a richer experience when you stay off the beaten track and chosen a home that caters less to tourists and more to permanent residents. Here is where you find intimate and authentic restaurants and individually owned and operated butcher shops, bakeries, small food markets, flower stores and so on.

4. Maintain Your Familys Lifestyle

A stay in a home offers all the comforts of home because ... it is a home! And a big part of this comfort is being able to maintain your lifestyle. For example, after dinner, you can put your children to bed and enjoy the remainder of the evening relaxing by the pool or in the hot tub? just like at home, being only a few feet away from your children. In comparison, a stay at a resort with everyone in one small room, you are required to end your night short and turn in early so that you don't disturb your children.

5. Enjoy A Home Already Set Up to Accommodate Your Family

Traveling with infants and children can be challenging. There are needs that often cannot be met by resort staff as readily as required, if at all. In addition, most resorts that supply cribs for babies or small cots for toddlers do so for an extra charge. When you stay in another familys home, you benefit by not having to travel with your own items and pay extra