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The Home Exchange Guide
The Home Exchange Guide How to Find Your Free Home Away From Home
by M.T. Simon and T.T. Baker
ISBN 1-932534-00-8.187 pages. soft cover. $19.95
How many times have travelers expressed the wish they could live as the locals do?
Trading homes for a while with one of those locals can be a big step in that direction. Besides having an experience more closely approximating the day-to-day reality of the destination, there can be substantial savings when eliminating hotel bills.
But it’s not for everyone. The authors of “The Home Exchange Guide” have written a how to book, but more importantly, they’ve incorporated a whether to book. Many who’ve heard of the concept of home exchanges find the whole idea intriguing at first, but soon let caution turn to apprehension as they conjure a series of “what if …?” possibilities. Simon and Baker identify many of the potential negatives and give thorough directions on steps that can preclude such problems, or at least, mitigate them should they occur. In addition to the narrative in each chapter they present a series of key issues in a graphic “check list” format.
Two California friends had wonderful experiences with year-long exchanges related to their employment. In each case, there was a direct exchange of houses and cars. One exchanger was a teacher who replaced a Scot, who in turn came to Sacramento to inherit Dennis’ junior high class. The other fellow preached Sundays from the pulpit of an Anglican church in England, while his opposite number took the spiritual reins of a small Episcopal church in the foothills of Amador County. Apparently all went smoothly. Given their positions, the Americans (and, presumably, the Britons) were very responsible people, unlikely to trash anyone else’s house or car. “The Home Exchange Guide” suggests that the typical home exchanger tends to be of good character and prosperous—not the sort to cause trouble. Nonetheless, they guide lays out very comprehensively how to communicate clearly and build in safeguards that will make a felicitous exchange more likely. This seems a well-researched effort; methodical and thorough. The appendix includes information on many organizations facilitating such home exchanges.
--reviewed by Dan Clarke