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Welcome to our Spring 2013 edition of HomeLink Connection!
This is a very special year for HomeLink in that we are celebrating our 60th Anniversary!
Karl & I sincerely thank you for choosing HomeLink! We wouldn’t be here without you!
Spring is (finally) in the air and Mother Nature isn’t the only one bringing in the new. Since our last newsletter, we have developed our monthly HomeLink Video Series. Please see Helpful Hints… for more on this.
We have also implemented some new links for our Messaging system. These new links are explained in our HomeLink Internet Technology… section.
As always we continue working to bring you the best HomeLink experience possible and we will be introducing new features and functionality over the course of this year.
Don’t miss our new section titled, Member Survey…. This particular survey is from a Graduate student and fellow home swapper. She has asked we complete a survey to help with her Masters Thesis on home exchange and sustainable tourism.
Also, be sure to read the new Member Stories… we have received. As always, they are most entertaining!
We hope you enjoy our newsletter and welcome any feedback you may have: email@example.com.
Karl & Katie Costabel
HomeLink USA News
Just a Reminder…
Update Your Listing Online…
We continue receiving emails regarding past dates in member’s listings. So, please take some time to view your listing online and make sure your information is current. Pay special attention to your Preferred Dates & Destinations section and any reference to your travel preferences in the descriptive text portion of your listing.
You can always view your listing online by clicking the “Show my Listing” link found under “Member Options” at the left side of our Database Main Page (after logging in).
Email Address Updates:
As always, please continue to notify us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your email address updates so we can properly update our local database. Our occasional messages to you, including this newsletter, are sent from our local database.
New Home Location Updates:
If you happen to relocate while continuing your HomeLink membership and wish to replace your previous address with your new address, please let us know your new address (at least zipcode) so we can properly position your new location in our database.
HomeLink Internet Technology…
New Messaging System Links:
You many have noticed four new links found directly below our normal “Messaging” link under the “Member Options” menu at the left side of the Database Main Page.
These new links, “Quick Message”, “New Message”, “Inbox” & “Sent” were implemented due to a recent bug with the “Send” function at our Internal Messaging System.
This bug was first brought to our attention in November 2012 and only about 50 members, worldwide have been affected by it to date. We felt it best to not alert everyone about this, since so few members have been affected by this bug.
Therefore, if our normal, “Messaging” system and all of its functions are working fine for you, please disregard the new (work-around) links.
If, however, you are unable to send or reply to messages through our normal “Messaging” system, please let us know and we will guide you through these work-around links.
HomeLink USA’s Facebook Page:
I am still finding my way with our Facebook page and encourage all of you to go there to at least read our daily “Tip of the Day” post, which you should find useful.
Also, we encourage you to “Like” our page as our “Likes” count has come to a screeching halt these past few weeks. Again, I am still trying to figure out how to properly promote our page, so any input you might have for me would be greatly appreciated.
Feel free to post questions and comments to this page and I promise to respond in a timely manner.
The direct link to our Facebook page:
We recently received a request for help from a fellow home swapper and Graduate student from Italy regarding her Master’s Thesis on home exchanging and sustainable tourism.
Below is the notice for her request found on our “Members” page, which you can also access through the link shown.
Thank you in advance for your participation in this survey.
Special Request for HomeLink USA Members:
Please click the following link for the details about our request for your participation in a survey on the wonderful world of Home Swapping.
Our first article below is the result of an interview I had with its author, Caroline Costello, with SmarterTravel.com back in January 2013. Fortunately, it was picked up by USA Today, which as a great surprise and really helped spread the word about home swapping!
10 Things You Need to Know About Home Swapping, by Caroline Costello, SmarterTravel, USAToday Travel, January 2013
Our next article is from our own HomeLink USA member, Nancy Wartik. US25479. We are always so proud and honored when our fellow HomeLinkers enthusiastically spread the word about the wonderful world of home swapping.
Thank you very, very much, Nancy. Your article is quite informative and was a pleasure to read!
Please note that since her article was published back in January, our annual rate has been reduced significantly in light of recent cost savings we are pleased to pass along to you.
Insider's Guide to Luxe Stays For Less, by: Nancy Wartik, DailyWorth.com, January 2013
We would very much like to hear about your home swapping stories and include them in an upcoming HomeLink Connection newsletter. Please send your stories to HomeLink.US@gmail.com and let us know if it would be okay to include your name.
Fortunately, we have received quite a number of stories over the past few months. Therefore, we are unable to include all we have received. If you don’t see your story in this issue, we promise it will be in our Summer 2013 edition.
Thanks, again, to all of you for such a wonderful response to this section!
Our first story below is a brief anecdote, which struck me fondly in that HomeLink was instrumental in bringing these two fellow HomeLinkers together…good stuff!
Thank you for your quick follow up email! I'm happy it worked, and I have now entered our listing, uploaded the photos and added my preferred exchange locations and dates.
For your information, we have both been Homelink members in the past. I lived in Paris in the 1990s and was a member for several years starting around 1994, I believe – these were the days before the internet! My partner was also a member for several years when he lived in San Francisco. We've both had great exchanges and actually made some very good friends. In fact, we actually met via a home exchange in the late 90s!
Looking forward to being part of the Homelink community again!
Our longtime member, Jim C, submitted the following story. They have been HomeLinkers for well over 20 years!
Thanks so much, Jim for sharing your Hospitality Exchange stories. Meeting new friends along the way is such a wonderful part of all of this!
The Joy of Hospitality Exchange
JD & Pat L., have also been HomeLinkers for more than two decades and were gracious enough to share the next two stories with all of us!
First is a brief email from them sharing one of their wonderful moments in Paris this past summer…
I got to thinking today that I should share with you the highlight of our July home exchange in France, so I will. We went to the Bastille Day fireworks celebration at the Eiffel Tower. Below is a photo I took. It was a magical experience. . . .daunting and exhilarating all at the same time. We stayed in a little hotel which is a five-minute walk from the tower so that made it easier.”
Best wishes from Paris.
Our final story, from Pat & JD, is about their amazing time spent in Australia. Pat’s descriptive prose truly transports you there…and the photos of Joey…simply precious!
Pat & JD, we can’t thank you enough for sharing your wonderful adventure with all of us!
An Australian Adventure with Joey…
HomeLink Video Series:
Through a concerted effort among HomeLink Organizers, we have started a monthly video series offering helpful advice and tips for both our current and potential members.
The star of each video is Annalisa, our HomeLInk Italy Colleague, filmed by her son and fellow HomeLink Colleague, Giovanni. Our HomeLInk Ireland Colleague, Marie and I develop the scripts. This international effort has been a lot of fun and we look forward to creating more for you to enjoy.
I will post the individual videos to our Facebook page as they go live and will always have the link to the video archive available at both our “Members” and “Visitors” pages online.
Below is the link to this archive. We hope you find them fun and informative. We also hope to have Annalisa’s pets join her in future videos…if the mood strikes them, that is…
HomeLink Video Series Archive
Your HomeLink Listing Presentation:
When setting up or editing your HomeLink Listing online, please remember to present your home as accurately as possible. Including photos of every room your exchange partners will have access to goes a long way in describing what you have to offer.
Also, please include:
a. Whether or not you have pets (any type of pet) and if your exchange partner will be caring for them or not.
b. The number of sleep-able rooms vs. sleeper sofas.
For example, if one of your bedrooms is occupied with a baby crib or desk, rendering it unavailable for sleeping by your exchange partners, please take that into consideration and indicate this in your listing.
Also, if the number of people your home sleeps includes the use of a sleeper sofa, please indicate this.
c. If your home is in a rather noisy area at night, you might mention this.
In the end, you don’t want there to be any surprises for your exchange partner while staying in your home. As always, open, honest and thorough communication with your exchange partner prior to the exchange is fundamental to every successful exchange.
Exchange Agreement Forms:
There are two key elements to successfully complete our online Exchange Agreement Form. First, decide with your Exchange Partner which of you will initiate the form. Then, be sure to read all instructions at each step you are taken to when entering the details of your exchange.
Rest assured, exchange cancellations are extremely rare and have only occurred due to unforeseen, emergency circumstances. We also want you to know that we have an almost 100% success rate in finding an alternate exchange for the HomeLinker who has suffered the cancellation.
We encourage all of our members to let us know if, on the rare occasion, you experience a cancellation, so we can help in finding an alternate exchange for you.
HomeLink International News
The members included in the link to this section (below) have contacted their respective HomeLink Organizer, asking for their help in finding an exchange or were chosen by us from our Short Notice List or Hot Lists.
We will certainly include any of our USA members who have been unable to find a US exchange after an exhaustive search. Just let us know.
Further, if any of you have been unsuccessful in finding an exchange abroad, we would be happy to forward your situation and preferences to our corresponding HomeLink Organizer. After all, we are here to help all of our members in anyway we can.
Seeking USA Exchanges
Below is a link sent to us from Manfred, our HomeLink Germany Colleague. It provides a wealth of information for everything, Germany! Enjoy!
Marie & Paul, our HomeLink Ireland Colleagues, sent us the link below that is all about Galway City, Ireland and The West of Ireland.
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