Summer 2014 edition of HomeLink Home Exchange Connection!
Summer certainly came up fast and with this being our busiest time for travel, please be sure to see our “Just a Reminder…” and “Helpful Hints…” sections for timely and useful information to help make your forthcoming exchange a success.
As you are all probably well aware, our new site launch has continued to be delayed. Rest assured that we are determined to launch as soon as possible, bringing our members the best website possible for all of us to enjoy. Our IT Update section has a bit more detail on this very important effort.
We had numerous HomeLink Member volunteers for testing our new site earlier this year. We were overwhelmed with their concerted effort. They truly went above and beyond our highest expectations, spending many, many hours testing our site from top to bottom! We send our heartfelt thanks to our test volunteers as you have played a critical role in creating a website for all to enjoy. Your invaluable input helped us more than you know!
We hope you enjoy our newsletter and welcome any feedback you may have.
Karl & Katie
HomeLink USA News
Just a Reminder…
Consult our “10 Principles for a Sucessful Exchange”:
Summertime is our busiest time of year for exchanging. We encourage you to click the link below to refresh your memory on our advice for ensuring a successful exchange.
Update, Update, Update Your HomeLink Listing:
Please be sure to review your listing to update your Preferred Dates & Destinations and any other details of your home that has changed.
Click here to see if your listing needs to be updated.
We recently learned that our longtime HomeLinker (20 years!), Emily Hedrick, has entered the blogosphere, sharing her home swap experiences. She cleverly combines her entertaining exchange experiences with useful tips.
Emily recently let us know, “…As a matter of fact, I’m still in the U.K. on a second exchange (which immediately followed the one in Norfolk) and will be continuing to post adventures on the blog until I return home on July 21.”
Thanks for getting the word out there about the wonderful world of home swapping, Emily and safe travels!
Another HomeLinker & author, Nora Dunn, continues informing the world about home exchange and has kindly profiled us in her latest book, How to Get Free Accommodation Around the World!
Nora writes, “…The book is based on six years of full-time travel and over $63,000 saved in getting free accommodation around the world, utilizing techniques like house-sitting, volunteering, home exchanges, hospitality exchanges, and living on boats.”
For more information about the book click the following link;
Lauren Kahn continues to keep us informed via her website. Click below to read all about her experiences. She encourages you to post to the general website blog as this is the blog that has “taken off” on her site.
The following article from Washingtonpost.com highlights the option of home swapping including input from our HomeLinkers, Harry & Gretchen Schafft and how home exchanging offers the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture.
We thank you both, Gretchen & Harry, for your continued enthusiasm for home swapping and wish you many more wonderful adventures!
Once again, we thank our longtime HomeLinkers, JD & Pat Lee for sharing a brief tale of their first ever Cruise and although not surprised, we are thrilled they remain “Home Exchange people’ J
Please read on and enjoy…
“Hello Karl & Katie,
…There is no doubt that HomeLink has played a big part in contributing to the quality of our lives over the past twenty-some years. It is such a unique and positive experience. You will smile when I tell you we took our first-ever cruise aboard one of the Celebrity ships in December of 2013. It was a 21-day cruise. We were pleased with the quality and clear effort the staff and Celebrity put into making it a good time for passengers.
When it was finished both JD and I agreed that we are definitely Home Exchange people, not cruise people. There is simply no comparison to the depth and sheer sense of exploring, discovery and adventure that home exchanging holds. I’m including a photo I found online. It could be our motto when it comes to travel.
Pat and JD Lee”
Health Insurance while traveling:
A member of ours recently inquired about health insurance while traveling. They informed us the policy they purchase is quite pricey and “only willing to give us older folks half the coverage for the same price as younger people, and only allowed individual stays of 70 days maximum.”
We have not had any real input from our members about this and so are asking you to reply here with any advice &/or information you have to offer and we will gladly forward your input to our members.
We will also include any general information/advice you provide as a follow-up in our next newsletter.
Pinpoint Your Car’s location for Your Exchange Partner:
Jim Moore, one of our clever HomeLinkers hangshelium balloons on their car at the airport for their Exchange Partner to see.
Thanks so much for this great tip, Jim! I can’t wait to have the opportunity to put into action!
Response Rate & Your ‘Unanswered Offers’ Folder:
Part of our Response Rate % feature is the “Unanswered offers” folder found at the messaging system. Here you will see the exchange offers that somehow went without a reply from you.
To see the contents of your “Unanswered offers” folder”, log in to HomeLink, click on the “Messaging” link found at the left of the page. Next, click on the link called “Unanswered offers” found below the various folder links (Inbox, Sent, Trash, etc) at the left of the page. This brings up a list of all offers waiting for your response.
High Airfares Possibly Linked to Increase in Cancellations:
Our very experienced and informed home swap blogger, Lauren Kahn, recently wrote to us about the concern that Exchangers are arranging their exchanges prior to researching airfare tickets. Then, upon realizing the high cost of plane tickets, the exchanger backs out of the exchange.
Please be sure to research plane ticket prices prior to entering into an exchange agreement, which will eliminate the possibility of an exchange cancellation due to the high cost of airfare.
Proper Etiquette While on Exchange:
There has been an unsual uptick in reports of a Member’s Exchange Partner “entertaining guests” in their home while on exchange. In addition, the homeowner was not informed of any entertaining in their home when ironing out the details of the exchange with their Exchange Partner. Unfortunately, this has lead to a number of HomeLinkers being prohibited (by their landlord or HOA, etc.) from exchanging in the future due to the noise and general disruption caused by the Exchange Partner while staying in their home.
Please make it your priority to respect your Exchange Partner’s home and community. In particular, ask your Exchange Partner prior to the exchange if you can invite guests into their home while staying there.
Also, be sure to communicate to your Exchange Partner the exact number of people (and ages of any children) that will be in your exchange party. If you anticipate having overnight visitors at your Exchange Partner’s home, please clear this scenario with your Exchange Partner prior to the exchange.
Open, honest and thorough communication between Exchange Partners is key to every successful exchange.
And always remember that you are more than likely staying in someone’s personal home, not a vacation rental. Even if the exchange home you are staying in happens to be a 2nd home of your Exchange Partner, please treat it as it were your own home and be sure to leave the home in the same, if not better, condition in which you found your Exchange Partner’s home.
HomeLink International News
We are working very hard toward launching a new website we can all be proud of and enjoy using. To this end, it was decided that a little more time was needed to ensure the best possible online experience for our HomeLink Members.
We recently entered into contract with our developers for the final wave of design changes required before launch and will keep everyone informed about the launch providing ample time and sufficient instructions to get you through the transition to the new site.
End HomeLink Connection