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The Huffington Post, Travel Blogs, June 20, 2012

The Ultimate Sharing Opportunity: Home Exchange And Get Free Lodging

By Shelley Miller, Home Exchange Expert & HomeLink Member

 

We grew up hearing our mothers say it. Our teachers chided us if we didn’t do it. We knew at a very early age that it was the right thing to do.

Sharing.

Back then, sharing wasn’t always easy, especially if Mom asked us to share something as precious as an ice cream cone. We’d look at our mother. Back at the cone. Back at our mom. (Just in case she’d changed her mind.) And then we would very slowly offer the tasty treat to our playmate.

On Wednesday June 20 an entire country is asking us to share! The United Kingdom will celebrate its first National Sharing Day, established by The People Who Share. This organization is a trail blazing movement dedicated to building a global marketplace of sharing.

Benita Matofska, Chief Sharer and founder of People Who Share said, “The sharing market is the new boom economy. During these economically stringent times, consumers are moving from the need to own goods to the need to have access to them, enabling people who share to save money, make friends and help the environment.”

One of the goals of The People Who Share is to build a ‘sharing sector’ focused around the sharing of skills, knowledge, opportunities, talent and responsibility, thereby creating a sustainable sharing economy. You’ll find their website packed with ideas and information: http://thepeoplewhoshare.com/

When I learned of National Sharing Day, I was on board immediately. After all, sharing is what I write about, talk about and how I travel! It’s at the heart of home exchange: letting others use and enjoy something that I also use and enjoy. Sharing homes.

Home exchange has been around since the 1950s, yet many people haven’t even heard of it. This form of vacation accommodation is when you swap your home with someone in another city and enjoy living like a local. For free. My family has completed 13 home swaps in 12 years. We’ve lived in beautiful homes in countries such as Italy, France, Germany and most recently, Mexico.

With home exchange not only do you have the option to swap homes, but you can also exchange cars and even pets! Home exchange is the ultimate sharing opportunity.

Sharing is good for the soul, it’s good for the earth, and when you share homes it’s good for the wallet too!

Up top in the down under - 2 bedroom/2bath apartment available for home exchange in Australia. Photo courtesy of www.HomeLink.org/usa

“Today’s technology means that people are now more able to connect in more efficient and intelligent ways, it’s changing how we consume, and how we travel,” Matofska said. “The global recession has raised awareness of purchasing decisions, placing more emphasis on use rather than ownership. Our passion is unlocking the sharing potential that exists in each of us.”

Some of us respond to deadlines, I know I do. People Who Share asks that we join the campaign and help build the Sharing Economy. So if you’ve been thinking about trying home swap, here’s your chance: Wednesday June 20, National Sharing Day. Check out the websites of some of my favorite home exchange organizations: www.homelink.org/usa, www.homeexchange.com, www.lovehomeswap.com, www.casahop.com and www.homebase-hols.comw.  Make a commitment to share your home with someone and enjoy a fabulous vacation too! Your mother will be proud.

 

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Basel

Switzerland - Basel
Basel

Warmly and internationally decorated home near historic center and river promenade in Basel, Switzerland. Walk, bike or tram to all local sights and over 100 museums and galleries. Hop on the train and be in the Alps, French wine country or the Black Forest in Germany in an hour or less (we actually often take a casual bike ride into France or Germany so we are very well situated to these neighboring countries).

Other destinations like Paris or Lago Maggiore, Italy are a fast and scenic TGV train ride away. Basel is also an Easyjet destination with public transportation that is easy to navigate and really great.

Our home is fully equipped with all amenities--large flat screen, music (iPod speaker system if you have an iPod), fully loaded kitchen. Plenty of bicycles for adults. Shopping is very near but we are on a quiet street and our home is very private. Basel enjoys a fairly mild climate so there are rarely weather extremes which make it pleasant all year. Great skiing or hiking is within a short and beautiful train ride away.
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