Tips for Families

Exchanging homes is not just for singles or empty nesters or "pre-nesters." In fact, living in another country, for even just a month, can be an extraordinary experience for the developing minds of children. 

Or you can go even further and place your children in foreign schools for a semester or more. You may find just the right exchange partner who wants to do the same, and you can introduce each other to your respective school communities. 

In any case, the point is: don't use kids as an excuse NOT to pursue your dreams of traveling and experiencing other cultures. Bring them along!

Start by searching for homes that have enough beds and bathrooms to fit your family's unique needs. Yes, someone listed their property as 3 bedrooms, but does anyone really want to room with snoring Uncle Johnny? You might need an extra room for him.

When you have a few leads, ask your prospective exchange partners any questions you have related to family fun and safety. Consider all aspects of the exchange property and location. Is there a pool? Outdoor grill? Nearby park? How close are you to other potential family activities? Are there kids of similar ages in the neighborhood?

Once you agree to an exchange, think through your time there. Do you know who to call if the pool's water pump breaks? Will you be cooking or eating out the majority of the time? Ask for oven instructions and grocery store recommendations or where the best family-friendly restaurants in town are. 

Want to have a family movie night in your home away from home? Ask for TV and DVD instructions (and provide them yourself for your own home). 

One of the best things about being somewhere new is the adventure. Involve your children as much as possible in both finding the ideal home to exchange and in making your experience there one the whole family will remember.