Romance and Travel Not Just For Kate and Cameron — Residence Exchange Members Tell Their Real Life Versions of ‘The Holiday’
Hoboken, NJ (PRWEB) December 8, 2006
When movie goers sit down this Christmas season to watch Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz in “The Holiday,” they may possibly suspect that the tale of two lovelorn females who swap homes for the Christmas holiday — and in doing so, land themselves in romances with local men — is a sweet, but hollywood-crafted confection. But for members of Digsville.com, and a growing number of intrepid travelers, finding accurate love by way of residence swapping is the stuff of actual life.
Residence swapping? No, this is not a twist on wife swapping, or some other new fangled swingers club. Residence swapping (aka residence exchange) is an alternative to the conventional residence or hotel rental. Instead of paying rent, people use their own property and ‘swap’ their home with another family members in their desired destination. More than the last couple of years, it has developed a cult-like following among vacationers searching for some thing various in the way of comfort from the Holiday Inn mini bar.
“Fans of house swapping are searching for some thing more intimate, some thing that makes them really feel like they’re not a tourist, and property exchange does that. You are property, but in a completely new environment,” says Helen Bergstein, founder of The Digsville Home Exchange Club (http://www.digsville.com), 1 of a growing number of vacation web sites that cater to folks looking to trade room service tabs for a set of residence keys. “You really feel a lot more comfortable at residence, and on some level, that makes it easier to meet people.”
Enter Jen H., a 60-year-old former wellness psychologist who decided on a home exchange vacation to celebrate her retirement. She discovered a quaint couple with a villa in New Zealand and arranged to swap her townhouse apartment in Suffolk, UK for two weeks for the duration of the summer. Unknown to her, she landed within hours of Jack, a house builder who was there touring the nearby town for a construction project. They missed every other at the airport, but Jack was there to catch her when she stumbled on the observation platform at a neighborhood attraction the following day. Jen and Jack “fell’ for every single other on the spot, and this year, they are planning a house exchange vacation for two.
Another oft-sighted advantage to home swapping is the location. Hotels are most likely to be in segregated, commercial neighborhoods, and the chances of hooking up with locals is diminished by the geography. But a home or apartment is as close as you can get to the natives. Take Hagit, who traded her apartment in Tel Aviv for a NYC pad on Union
Square. Hagit didn’t have any plans for romance, but it was adore at initial sight when her neighbor, a handsome young lawyer by the name of Harold, stopped by to welcome her to the creating.
But property exchange is not just for retirees, and not just for those seeking to meet someone new. The younger set is taking to zip code swapping as a way to cut their travel budget while hanging on to the comforts of a full-fledged vacation property.
“I have a lovely one-bedroom in Manhattan, but the price of living in the city makes a real vacation prohibitive. When I looked into residence exchange, I realized that by utilizing what I already have, I could remove my hotel bill and nonetheless remain in a excellent neighborhood,” says Paula, a 28 year old graphic designer who has used Digsville.com more than the past two years to travel to such locations as far-flung as Barcelona and Tokyo.
For the founder of Digsville, the positive aspects of home swapping, romantic and otherwise, are no surprise. Mrs. Bergstein is herself a lifetime residence swapper, and after making use of other services for a number of years launched Digsville.com in 1999 following locating other services to be impersonal and restrictive.
“We wanted to produce something that had an intimacy with our customers which reflected the home swapping encounter.” To wit, members can connect one-on-one with each other using an internal e-mail program, and house listings are rated by former swap partners, a function that makes Digsville.com what Helen calls a full-fledged “community of assessment.”
“By permitting members to interact with each and every other from the start, men and women develop a rapport with their exchange partners” Helen says, “and that leads to further connections in their community. By the time you get to your new digs, you have a group of men and women ready to make friends with you.”
In some instances, more than pals.
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