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HomeLink International is the world's oldest home exchange community. Our not-for-profit organisation has pioneered the global experience of home exchange holidays since the early 1950's. If you want to know all about home exchange, rest assured that you have come to the right place.

We invite you to discover that after more than half a century, HomeLink is still unique. It's because our community has always been about far more than just low cost holidays. HomeLink is all about people like you.

Unlike the "new" breed of faceless, internet-only home exchange networks, HomeLink has local Coordinators in 27 major countries. We are not one disengaged "web-master", but instead, a professional team of highly experienced home exchangers. So it is our pleasure to offer knowledgeable, personal support for a global community of real home exchange enthusiasts.

At HomeLink, we understand the essential ingredients that make for a rich and rewarding home exchange experience. We also understand that before you can truly relax and enjoy your home exchange holiday, the one thing you really need is to feel safe and secure about the people who will stay in your home. We understand that you need to find far more than just the right house.. you need to find great people to exchange with. People who make you feel comfortable, who share your values.

Rest assured that HomeLinkers are those people. Since 1953,our global community has grown by embracing a wonderful tradition. We like to call it, "The HomeLink Spirit". It is our simple, old-fashioned community values. Respect. Trust. Caring. Generosity. We understand that these are the foundation for every great home exchange holiday.

If you share our values too, and you would like to begin forming instant (and often lifelong) friendships in countries around the world, then on behalf of our entire global community we'd like to say, "Welcome Home".

We're thrilled to have you visit us!

 Welcome Home

 

 

 

 

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Rent / Let a Holiday Property

 

 HomeLink Home Exchange - 95 Bracken Drive, Portmarnock, Co.Dublin, Ireland
Ph: 00 353 1 8462598 Email: info@homelink.ie

Seeking USA

San Francisco, 22m, E

USA - California
San Francisco, 22m, E

HomeLinkers since 2010

Located 22 miles east of San Francisco, our home is situated on a friendly street in a small town surrounded by hill and hiking trails. Our property backs to a public recreation area popular with hikers and runners. Train service to San Francisco and other surrounding cities is available in the next town, and a car is available for use. The beach is 45 minutes driving, and there is easy access to routes leading to wine country, Marin, Lake Tahoe (3 hours), and the Central Coast. For cyclists, the area is filled with bike routes and trails.

We have a completely hypo-allergenic dog (even my very allergic mother has stayed with us for a week) but she will be vacationing with us or boarding elsewhere unless we arrange otherwise.

Plans for our 18 week trip to Australia and New Zealand
by Roisin Markham

Well, we joined Homelink International in November 2011, in preparation for our trip in 2012.  We have really been on an adventure.  My husband Greg works as a trawler skipper fishing out of Rossaveal Harbour in Co. Galway.  When he finished up with the herring and mackerel season in  April, he got another man to skipper for him for the prawn and white fish season and we started our 18-week trip of Australia and New Zealand with a few days each in Hong Kong and Singapore at either side of the journey.

We have been to Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns (gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and the rainforest),  Port Lincoln, South Australia (the largest fishing port in Australia.  A must for my husband!...although we did not do a house- swap there.  It's quite isolated.), Perth, Adelaide - we drove from there along the Great Ocean Road to our next exchange on  the Mornington Peninsula (Melbourne's Playground) in Victoria, Ayer's Rock (no exchange there) and now Darwin before we do another exchange for a few days in Melbourne and head off to New Zealand.  We also have exchanges organised in both the North  and the South Island in New Zealand.  We will stay in  an hotel in Singapore on the way home as we will only be there for two days.

 
In terms of enjoyment, how would you rate your holiday?

I would have to rate our holiday as high-end, in terms of enjoyment.  Every house we've stayed in has been immaculate and well set up with welcoming messages, useful information packs and friendly neighbours/relatives to chat to and to help us out if we needed it.  The locations we have stayed in have been very central with easy access to the places we wanted to visit.  In Adelaide, we were just up the road from a train- stop and although we had use of their car, we used to go into the city (2 stops, 7 mins) on the train because the children enjoyed the excitement of it all.  A lot of people have left a little box of toys for the children to play with, which they loved.  Other people's toys are always more interesting!


What about savings?

Our case is exceptional, in that we have been away for so long, so the savings we have made have been enormous.  I think that the best way would be to break it down into component parts.  Firstly, I should point out that Australia is very expensive, from the basics at a supermarket (milk is twice the price here) to tours and excursions.  We have saved roughly AU$1400 a week on accommodation,  AU$500  a week on car-hire for a mid-sized car( but then the excess on hire-cars here ranges from AU$3,500 to AU$5,000, so you  end up paying the excess waiver of around $20 a day to avoid having to pay that in the event of an accident.  Then if you don't bring car-seats for the children, you have to rent those as well...),  We have found that a meal for the four of us usually works out at $80 for a lunch.  Then if you were staying at an hotel you could include money for launderettes... and all of the other expenses which add up if you're not staying in a house.  (These are rough estimates, but if you like, I'm sure you could get exact figures on the internet, if you wish.)


Any downsides?

The only real downside is the housework. If you're not a big fan of housework, you may find it a chore.   You have to prepare you own house and have it immaculate for the exchangers who are coming.  Then you have to leave their house as immaculate as you found it. You may find yourself under pressure to do it all before your flight-time.  There is of course, the option of looking on the listing to see if the exchanger has noted “domestic help available”.  In this case, you leave money for the exchanger's cleaner to clean the house and do the bed-linen after you have left, before the exchangers come home.  Easy-peasy.  Otherwise, you'll just have to do it yourself.  However if you're staying for a week or two, it's hardly a back-breaker to do one big clean before you leave.

The other thing is that you have to be prepared to put in the time on Homelink sending off requests.  It's not that hard, but the main thing is to blitz off lots of requests at a time, working on the law of averages, that the more you send out, the more positive responses you are likely to get.  This isn't really a downside, but it's something to be aware of. I would also recommend that people look on it as an adventure.  If you get a request from somewhere that you hadn't listed, you might think “ I've never heard of it.  I wonder would it be nice?  What the heck!  Let's do it.”  On that basis we are going to be staying in a house in a former gold-mining town in New Zealand.  Let's hope we're lucky panning for gold!

 

Why home exchange rather than hotel option?

The most obvious reason is the savings made by doing a home exchange.  In effect, the only expenses incurred are those of maintaining your own home while you are away and the exchangers are at  your home; electricity, gas, heating etc. 

However, there are a lot of other advantages.  When you do a swap, you arrive at another person's house which is all set up like your own, so you can do laundry, cook and all the other basics.  Also the kids can have their own rooms, which you would never do travelling with young children and staying at an hotel.  You would always want them in the same room as you. 

Another advantage of doing a house-swap is that you get a real feel for a place.  Most exchangers will have relatives, neighbours or friends who will meet you when you arrive and set you up in the house.  That means that you have a chance to get to meet the locals and have a chat about the place and life there.  You have a ready-made support network who can answer questions, give advice etc.

Every exchanger also leaves a pack with brochures and maps of interesting things to do in the area for tourists.  So you don't have to rush out the first day and look for the nearest tourist office.

Another bonus with doing a house-exchange is that most people will include a car-swap  with the home exchange.  This means that you also make huge savings on car-rental and the only expense to yourself is to pay to put them on your car insurance for the time that they are in your home, which, is a minimal fee.

We have found that the people who do house exchanges are chatty and interested in both travel and life.

 

Plans for our 18 week trip to Australia and New Zealand

 

Roisin Markham

 

 

 

Well, we joined Homelink International in November 2011, in preparation for our trip in 2012.  We have really been on an adventure.  My husband Greg works as a trawler skipper fishing out of Rossaveal Harbour in Co. Galway.  When he finished up with the herring and mackerel season in  April, he got another man to skipper for him for the prawn and white fish season and we started our 18-week trip of Australia and New Zealand with a few days each in Hong Kong and Singapore at either side of the journey.

 

We have been to Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns (gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and the rainforest),  Port Lincoln, South Australia (the largest fishing port in Australia.  A must for my husband!...although we did not do a house- swap there.  It's quite isolated.), Perth, Adelaide - we drove from there along the Great Ocean Road to our next exchange on  the Mornington Peninsula (Melbourne's Playground) in Victoria, Ayer's Rock (no exchange there) and now Darwin before we do another exchange for a few days in Melbourne and head off to New Zealand.  We also have exchanges organised in both the North  and the South Island in New Zealand.  We will stay in  an hotel in Singapore on the way home as we will only be there for two days.

 

In terms of enjoyment, how would you rate your holiday?

 

I would have to rate our holiday as high-end, in terms of enjoyment.  Every house we've stayed in has been immaculate and well set up with welcoming messages, useful information packs and friendly neighbours/relatives to chat to and to help us out if we needed it.  The locations we have stayed in have been very central with easy access to the places we wanted to visit.  In Adelaide, we were just up the road from a train- stop and although we had use of their car, we used to go into the city (2 stops, 7 mins) on the train because the children enjoyed the excitement of it all.  A lot of people have left a little box of toys for the children to play with, which they loved.  Other people's toys are always more interesting!

 

What about savings?

 

Our case is exceptional, in that we have been away for so long, so the savings we have made have been enormous.  I think that the best way would be to break it down into component parts.  Firstly, I should point out that Australia is very expensive, from the basics at a supermarket (milk is twice the price here) to tours and excursions.  We have saved roughly AU$1400 a week on accommodation,  AU$500  a week on car-hire for a mid-sized car( but then the excess on hire-cars here ranges from AU$3,500 to AU$5,000, so you  end up paying the excess waiver of around $20 a day to avoid having to pay that in the event of an accident.  Then if you don't bring car-seats for the children, you have to rent those as well...),  We have found that a meal for the four of us usually works out at $80 for a lunch.  Then if you were staying at an hotel you could include money for launderettes... and all of the other expenses which add up if you're not staying in a house.  (These are rough estimates, but if you like, I'm sure you could get exact figures on the internet, if you wish.)

 

 

 

Any downsides?

 

The only real downside is the housework. If you're not a big fan of housework, you may find it a chore.   You have to prepare you own house and have it immaculate for the exchangers who are coming.  Then you have to leave their house as immaculate as you found it. You may find yourself under pressure to do it all before your flight-time.  There is of course, the option of looking on the listing to see if the exchanger has noted “domestic help available”.  In this case, you leave money for the exchanger's cleaner to clean the house and do the bed-linen after you have left, before the exchangers come home.  Easy-peasy.  Otherwise, you'll just have to do it yourself.  However if you're staying for a week or two, it's hardly a back-breaker to do one big clean before you leave.

 

The other thing is that you have to be prepared to put in the time on Homelink sending off requests.  It's not that hard, but the main thing is to blitz off lots of requests at a time, working on the law of averages, that the more you send out, the more positive responses you are likely to get.  This isn't really a downside, but it's something to be aware of. I would also recommend that people look on it as an adventure.  If you get a request from somewhere that you hadn't listed, you might think “ I've never heard of it.  I wonder would it be nice?  What the heck!  Let's do it.”  On that basis we are going to be staying in a house in a former gold-mining town in New Zealand.  Let's hope we're lucky panning for gold!

 

Why home exchange rather than hotel option?

 

The most obvious reason is the savings made by doing a home exchange.  In effect, the only expenses incurred are those of maintaining your own home while you are away and the exchangers are at  your home; electricity, gas, heating etc. 

 

However, there are a lot of other advantages.  When you do a swap, you arrive at another person's house which is all set up like your own, so you can do laundry, cook and all the other basics.  Also the kids can have their own rooms, which you would never do travelling with young children and staying at an hotel.  You would always want them in the same room as you. 

 

Another advantage of doing a house-swap is that you get a real feel for a place.  Most exchangers will have relatives, neighbours or friends who will meet you when you arrive and set you up in the house.  That means that you have a chance to get to meet the locals and have a chat about the place and life there.  You have a ready-made support network who can answer questions, give advice etc. 

 

Every exchanger also leaves a pack with brochures and maps of interesting things to do in the area for tourists.  So you don't have to rush out the first day and look for the nearest tourist office.

 

 Another bonus with doing a house-exchange is that most people will include a car-swap  with the home exchange.  This means that you also make huge savings on car-rental and the only expense to yourself is to pay to put them on your car insurance for the time that they are in your home, which, is a minimal fee.

 

We have found that the people who do house exchanges are chatty and interested in both travel and life.

This is merely a very small sample of the many house swap stories from our HomeLink members.

Hi Marie,

Thanks a mill for your Newsletter . Excellent update .

I can add to all the people who find the experience valuable ...

Another advantage of Homelink... is it allows us to have a 2 week break in a country we could not necessarily afford to see in these difficult times . We have a sheep farm so we need to pay someone to look after it while we are away etc ...

So Homelink is more relevant than ever! It has also taught me to keep on top of the clutter during the year so it is not so huge before we leave!

Finally, I love the unexpected compliments regarding potential swappers that come through especially when I am having a tough day at work and someone say s " we love your home". Suddenly the day is better and I am transported to a beach in France or a villa in Spain and just for a few minutes, there is an escape and an opportunity to see something new !

So keep up the good work .

Margaret H.

**************************

Many thanks Marie...I appreciate so much the great work you are doing with the Irish site. I've had great exchanges since I joined HomeLink, all very positive. My latest trip was a wonderful 2 months in New Zealand earlier this year - 5 consecutive exchanges and no hitches - mind you it did take a bit of planning!

Keep up the good work.

Kind regards
Maura

*************************

Writer, Judi Curtin and her family have swapped homes several times and indeed the experience launched Judi's writing career. Her first book, "Sorry Walter", was based on a house swap.

Judi describes her first swap with a Canadian family based in Vancouver. "We realised all the wonderful things about swapping. There was a trampoline in the garden and a basketball hoop. There were skateboards and scooters and the house was full of DVDs. You'd pay an arm and a leg in a five-star hotel and get none of those things". Judi describes her Boston seaside exchange as a "wonderful". The family left loads of phone numbers and people would knock on the door and invite us to their barbecue. Another family took us out on the ocean in their great big yacht. We felt part of the community and it would never be like that in a rented house"

The strangest experience for Judi was in California. They had met the couple the night before in Ireland. The Curtins explained how various things worked in their home including their burglar alarm. They were taken aback when their American hosts informed them that their home in California was left unlocked. However, on their arrival everything was fine and it was quite common for homes in the area to be left unlocked!

**************************

Hi Marie

We joined homelink 12 months ago and had an exchange in Vancouver last August- it was the most amazing and interesting experience - we are completely sold now! Thanks!!

Deirdre

**************************

Hi Marie,
We have had a wonderful exchange again this year..San Miguel De Allende in Mexico. It was fantastic, we loved it .And our guests here really liked Ireland too, which was great.

Keep up the good work!!

Regards

Nuala

*************************

Hi Marie

Just a quick note to say how impressed I am with all the new additions to the Homelink website. In particular the percentage response rate to exchange requests on each members page is just a stroke of genius ! Your IT guys have really been pulling out all the stops ........When people realise this is in effect it should remove the v v v annoying practice of members not bothering to respond to requests.

Secondly I just went to 'print' the standard home exchange agreement form of old and that has also been updated. How wonderful ! Looks very professional.

Can't believe that with very little effort this year we have 2 exchanges organised! Ten days in Berlin at Easter and 3 weeks in the Hamptons in Long Island in July .......

It just constantly amazes me why more people don't do these types of holiday......After our 6 week, 3 exchange holiday in the west coast of the US in 2007 we did 'convert ' 3 neighbours/friends to join up.

Roll on the updates

Marguerite

*************************

Hi we have just finished our first exchange with Homelink and it has been a great experience so we are hooked!!

Aisling

*************************

Delighted to be enlisted with Homelink again".

Mary and Pat write:
Our first home exchange was in 1996 and we have made exchanges every year after that. We have made many friends in Germany, France, Switzerland and Sweden over the years. We got to know many people and our children had the added benefit of being invited to the homes of those families and they even went to school there.

Two of our children spent extended time in the South of Germany and came home fluent in German. They knew two families when they arrived there. The family we had exchanged home with and the neighbouring family. We hosted their children over the years and they went to school in Ennis. Our eldest daughter, Judith , went to Grenoble, France as an au pair in 2002/3 and had some difficulties with the family she was staying with. We were very fortunate to be a member of Homelink then as we succeeded in finding her a host family in Lyon within a few days. They organised for her to go to a Lysee and she achieved wonderful results in her exams at the end of that year. That family are in contact with us all the time . They have come to stay with us many times .Judith got married in 2009 and they came over for the wedding.

Another exchange was to Stockholm in 2005 and last year the Swedish family were in holiday in Wales. They invited us to stay a weekend with them in Wales. It was great. Since 2006 , with our exchange to Switzerland, the family there invited us to their home every year while they go on holiday to other places. We always spent a few days with them before they left for their holiday or after they came home. They live in an amazing location close to Montreux on Lake Geneva - wonderful scenery. In 2009 we did a home exchange to Canada and two days after our return we went to Switzerland. This year we are looking forward to another home exchange where ever that may be.
Home exchange has been wonderful for us over the years. We had many great experiences and made many new friends.
*************************

"My house, it was as if the tooth fairy had visited"

We are writing to say what a wonderful first exchange experience we had from July 21st to Aug 7th with Homelink. We went to Angers France. It was such a beautiful city in the Loire and we got such a lovely exchange family who gave us an 8 seater vehicle 5 bedroom house with a cellar full of toys and all their diving beach and camping equipment. They even had a fabulous meal ready for us with food specialities and wine from the Loire region. We had left everything at their disposal in our home. They had intended to visit Galway for two nights, however their stay in the East was so enjoyable that they have decided to return to the country to visit West another time.

I can only say that when I returned to my house it was as if the tooth fairy had visited. It was perfect, so clean. My pets were fatter and content and my flowers all watered. I have been marketing Homelink since!! Thank You.

It is a little worrying the first time, but now we can't wait until the next adventure.

Una & Tom

************************* 

If any member would like to make comments or include their stories please forward them to us for inclusion on this page

DISCLAIMER: The comments and stories displayed above are unsolicited, and have been received over time by HomeLink International in written correspondence from its members. Some of these members may no longer hold current membership status. HomeLink is unable to verify the accuracy of any statements or assertions made by its members, and waives any responsibility for same. These are not to be considered a representation as to the likelihood of similar results being attained by any other person in future.

MEDIA

HomeLink Ireland welcomes your interest in our service and in home swapping holidays generally. We are more than happy to assist your story with background industry and historical information, high resolution photos of available homes, and of course, interviews with our members about their home swapping experiences all around the world.

Please contact us and let us know how we can help you.

 

TESTIMONIALS

Hi Marie,

Thanks a mill for your Newsletter . Excellent update .

I can add to all the people who find the experience valuable ...

Another advantage of Homelink... is it allows us  to have  a 2 week break in a country we could not necessarily afford to see in these difficult times . We have a sheep farm so we need to pay someone to look after it while we are away etc ...

So Homelink is more relevant than ever! It has also taught me to keep on top of the clutter during the year  so it is  not so huge before we leave!

Finally,  I love the unexpected compliments regarding potential swappers that come through especially when I am having a tough day at work and someone say s “ we love your home”.  Suddenly the day is better and  I am transported to a beach in France or a villa in Spain and just for a few minutes,   there is  an escape and an opportunity to  see something new !

So keep up the good work .

Margaret  Hoctor .

**************************

Many thanks Marie...I appreciate so much the great work you are doing with the Irish site. I've had great exchanges since I joined HomeLink, all very positive. My latest trip was a wonderful 2 months in New Zealand earlier this year - 5 consecutive exchanges and no hitches - mind you it did take a bit of planning!

Keep up the good work.

Kind regards
Maura

Writer, Judi Curtin and her family have swapped homes several times and indeed the experience launched Judi’s writing career. Her first book, “Sorry Walter”, was based on a house swap. 

Judi describes her first swap with a Canadian family based in Vancouver.  “We realised all the wonderful things about swapping.  There was a trampoline in the garden and a basketball hoop. There were skateboards and scooters and the house was full of DVDs. You’d pay an arm and a leg in a five-star hotel and get none of those things”.  Judi describes her Boston seaside exchange as a “wonderful”.  The family left loads of phone numbers and people would knock on the door and invite us to their barbecue.  Another family took us out on the ocean in their great big yacht.  We felt part of the community and it would never be like that in a rented house”

The strangest experience for Judi was in California.  They had met the couple the night before in Ireland. The Curtins explained how various things worked in their home including their burglar alarm.  They were taken aback when their American hosts informed them that their home in California was left unlocked.  However, on their arrival everything was fine and it was quite common for homes in the area to be left unlocked!

 

Hi Marie   

We joined homelink 12 months ago and had an exchange in Vancouver last August - it was the most amazing and interesting experience - we are completely sold now! Thanks!!
 
Deirdre 

 

Hi Marie,
We have had a wonderful exchange again this year..San Miguel De Allende in Mexico. It was fantastic, we loved it .And our guests here really liked Ireland too, which was great. 

Keep up the good work!! 

Regards 

Nuala    

 

Hi Marie

Just a quick note to say how impressed I am with all the new additions to the Homelink website. In particular the percentage response rate to exchange requests on each members page is just a stroke of genius ! Your IT guys have really been pulling out all the stops ……..When people realise this is in effect it should remove the v v v annoying practice of members not bothering to respond to requests.

Secondly I just went to ‘print’ the standard home exchange agreement form of old and that has also been updated. How wonderful ! Looks very professional.

 

Cant believe that with very little effort this year we have 2 exchanges organised! Ten days in Berlin at Easter and 3 weeks in the Hamptons in Long Island in July …….

It just constantly amazes me why more people don’t do these types of holiday……After our 6 week, 3 exchange holiday in the west coast of the US in 2007 we did ‘convert ‘ 3 neighbours/friends to join up.

Roll on the updates

Marguerite O Connor

 

Hi we have just finished our first exchange with homelink and it has been a great experience so we are hooked!! Can you tell me how to insure our profile now says we are experienced? I am sorry to say we never sent away the agreement forms to you, but I still have them on file....somewhere I hope!

Aisling Flanagan