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Trip Report Swedish Home Exchange: A Trip Report as it Happens

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I thought I would report on our vacation while it happens. We are participating in a home exchange with a Swedish family. They live in a suburb of Stockholm, we live in a suburb of Washington, DC. We found them advertised on www.homeexchange.com in Jan., when I was fearful we could not afford a summer vacation. We thought it odd they would want to spend 3 weeks in DC during August (possibly the hottest place on earth), and I am sure they thought we are crazy for wanting to come someplace with freezing cold water (as my son keeps pointing out). We agreed to swap cars and that seemed to be pretty fair, they left us an old Saab, we left them an older Volkswagon. This is the first home exchange for both families.

We are a family of 4, with two boys (5 and 8), plus my mom. Our exchange family also has two boys, although they are a little older. We came to an agreement to swap houses pretty quickly and by mid-Feb. we had both purchased tickets. They wanted to swap for three weeks which was fine with us as we usually prefer longer, slower vacations anyway. After getting the kids use to a place it is too hard getting them to transition again. After that we had very little contact until July when we worked out specific points about the house and car, so both families knew what to expect. We also left detailed instructions for running appliances, chores, and information about our favourite restaurants and sites.

Most of our friends are rather wary of the whole idea. We talked to a lot of people who 'knew someone who exchanges frequently' but we didn't talk to many people with much first hand experience. We got lots of questions about what if they trash your house, or steal stuff ' we just assume they want to travel as much as we do.

In future posts I'll report on how it goes and what we are doing with our time in Stockholm.

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