Your place or mine?

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The first time I heard about Home swapping or Home exchange was via the Hollywood flick ‘The Holiday’ starring Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz, the story about two lovelorn women from opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean, who arrange a home exchange to escape heartbreak during the Christmas and holiday season.

What a brilliant idea this was!

Swapping homes could be the perfect way to expand your horizons and holiday for free in exotic locations.

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Jetting off and arriving at your own ‘home away from home’ is an appealing thought. But since most of us can’t afford a foreign holiday home, the trend for house swapping, where holidaymakers move into one another’s homes – saving the expense of paying for commercial accommodation – is becoming increasingly popular. Home exchanges make an ideal base for one-day or weekend excursions.

People who have gone in for home swapping have made good friends along the way. You get to live as they live, shop where they shop since the exchange partner will often leave insider information about the area. What’s so fabulous about home swapping is it’s not just a holiday, it’s a lifestyle. And you get the most out of an intercultural experience.

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But home swapping is not everyone’s cup of tea. Some folks love to swap and do it several times a year because it allows them to experience new places without paying for hotels, restaurants or, in many cases, transportation (the use of the family car is included in many home exchanges). However, some travellers are turned off by having to cook and clean on their vacation, while others feel uneasy about having strangers living in their own homes.

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However there’s more than one way to do a home swap:

  • You can stay in your exchange-partner’s home while they stay in yours (a “simultaneous exchange”).
  • You can stay at a home-swapper’s second home or vacation home (a “non-simultaneous exchange”).
  • Or you can stay as a guest in a home-swapper’s abode while they’re also in the house (a “hospitality exchange”).

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There are various home-exchange sites online that cater to different types of exchanges. Usually with the companies listed on a home exchange program  buying a membership is mandatory.

A lot of footwork is necessary. Both the owner and the holiday maker have to do their homework well before getting into such agreement. Check references, find them on social media or /and ask your home-exchange company for more information about prospective home exchange partners.

Home swapping is more or less a safe way to arrange a stay, with none or few cases of reported theft or vandalism. In the end, when it’s a simultaneous exchange, mutual trust is fundamental.

Here’s some pointers on how home swapping works.

  • By joining a reputable company via an annual membership. You’ll be able to list your property on their website and make contact with other owners to arrange your exchange.
  • Most house-swap firms don’t visit properties, so it’s imperative to study photos carefully, and look at feedback and definitely ask the owner questions.
  • Most of the companies have a guest points system where you earn guest points when you host and spend guest points when you stay as a guest.

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For many travellers, a home exchange /home swapping is an economical, comfortable and fascinating way to vacation far from home. The possibilities for home exchanges could be endless.

Madhavi

 

 

 

OS: Daily Mail UK /  PC:Shespeaks;Readers Digest;Hitster;Froodee;TripSavvy;

Continue reading “Your place or mine?”

Celebrating Life’s Milestones.

SPECIAL

Celebrating life’s momentous occasion is turning into a niche travel market. More and more people are planning vacations around ‘milestone’ events and tour operators and suppliers are working to make the most of this niche.

Life is full of events that mark milestones. And travelling is considered therapeutic. From a birthday, anniversary, graduation or retirement to a new job, impending marriage or even divorce — each is considered a rite of passage to be acknowledged and celebrated. Friends and families want to travel together to create memories that will last a lifetime.

Travel-Cards

Think about it.

Maybe someone just finished a successful chemotherapy session. Or someone just retired after living a exceptionally rough life, or maybe the only child has gone off to college, or maybe just got out of a extremely tough marriage.

How we choose to mark these life-changing events is shifting.

People are looking at more exciting options to make it memorable. An African safari, mountain climbing -because mountain climbing is often used as a metaphor for life, trekking, skydiving , are becoming a popular choices for celebrating milestone events.

Skydiving

A growing number of people are choosing to honor a milestone event not only with a meaningful travel experience but also with one that includes a sense of accomplishment.

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Italy, London, Paris, Egypt New Zealand, Iceland and Ireland are some of the prime options for milestone travel. The more exotic the destination, the more exciting and lucrative the holiday becomes. It’s not just about going to a destination, wining and dining anymore. More and more people want something new and different like villa vacations, or a private sailboat cruise. Randomness and quirkiness are what people look for.

The trend has also extended to babymoons.

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Usually a 50th birthday or anniversary is a big one and a lot of people celebrate more advanced birthdays such as  grandma turning 80 and the whole family wants to be part of the celebration.

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When people get together and travel they want to be transported, leaving behind their daily worries and responsibilities but taking with them their cherished friends and supporters.

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Cooking classes, wine tastings, Art exploration, Music appreciation, Wildlife Safari or cultural exchange, the options are unlimited. ‘Let’s do it different’ is the buzzword here. The more diverse the experience, the more people desire it.

The world is your oyster . The destination you choose will be the one your heart chooses for you. Epic journeys and travelling on iconic trains across entire continents such as Europe, Asia and Americas is just so fascinating . Just go with the flow and have an awesome time, unwinding and celebrating with the people who matter.

Caviar in the Surf
Cruise liners –like seabourn offer One favorite perk, “Caviar in the Surf,” features waiters wading into the water with glasses of Nicolas Feuillatte champagne and Black Russian Caviar for guests.

Special life milestones represent continuity and growth, the unbroken threads that shape a person’s life.  They are a sign of triumph over adversity, of strength, and of hope, particularly in the later years when they represent decades of experience.

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The importance of celebrating life is reflected in physical and mental health, community and family relationships and a healthy self-concept. Each of which is essential to an optimal quality of life.

 

 

Madhavi 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

PC: Tripadvisor;My Awesome Adventure; Geeo;Passion Passport;Travel4u; Cruise Critic; Gateway sailing club; Groupon ; Blingbird.co.

‘Mancation’

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Chances are most of you having seen the Bollywood flick ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ -you’d agree with me that it gave us some major travel goals. The Mancation of three friends was the ultimate vacay every man ever dreamt of having.

Or the Hollywood flick ‘The Hangover’ – a blowout Sin City trip which had many a bachelor planning a similar bash with his groomsmen.

Enough of the woman traveller blog posts. Let me give the men their due here with a post on Mancations .

Well what can I say ; sometimes dudes just want to be with themselves. And mancations provide the perfect opportunity for men to get together and bond with guys from work or old friends from college. It could be a father son vacation, a bachelor party, or even a millennial man wanting to trade tips and learn skills from his older counterparts.

Whatever the reason ‘Mancation’ one of the latest buzzwords in the travel industry, is a spin-off on the girlfriends’ getaway marketing phenomenon.

Golf

Although golf outings, sports events and fishing trips are the mainstays of male bonding, high-velocity adventures, spa treatments or just laid back chilling vacays is a fun way for men to disconnect and “allow guys to be guys.”

 

And when you talk about guy trips there is one top most destination that has the power to drive all the guys moony. Yup you guessed it right –Thailand. I don’t think I need to say anything more here.

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Rio de Janeiro– With awesome beach neighborhoods like Ipanema, Copacabana, and Leblon, Rio de Janeiro is a single guy’s paradise and is known around the world for its sexy atmosphere, Dubbed the party capital of Brazil and the site of the annual Carnival celebration, and with beach sports like soccer and volleyball, Rio has everything a single guy could ask for.

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Ibiza-With some awesome nightclubs, Ibiza’s nightlife scene is second to none. Situated in the Mediterranean Sea about 50 miles off of Valencia, Spain, Ibiza is a one of the best destinations for a mancation.

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Miami-World renowned for its nightlife, Miami has it all for the single male traveler: beaches, food, culture, and beautiful people.

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Las Vegas-The home of many bachelor parties, Las Vegas is well known for its active nightlife and casinos. Upscale hotels and home to some of the world’s finest restaurants makes Las Vegas a great destination for the single male traveler.

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Cancun-Cancun is the party capital of the eastern part of Mexico and with good reason. Cancun sees millions of visitors on an annual basis who visit the city with the sole purpose of having fun. With mega clubs and some of Mexico’s most pristine beaches, Cancun is a fun destination for any single man.

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Barcelona-Spain’s city that never sleeps is filled with a youthful and energetic vibe that is hard to beat. The nightlife areas of Barcelona around the plazas or squares of the city have the highest concentration of bars in the city.

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Have a wild night of music at Sunburn, getting the party mode on, and swimming in the sea of blood pumping music and vibe, Goa has always been a perennial favourite of the boys

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If women can have their ladies only – getaway, men should be able to do the same. Biking trips, Pub hopping, Brewery tours, Bungee jumping, White water River rafting, Sky diving, Golfing, there are unlimited options for the men out there. They can do whatever pleases them.

 

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But hey, who am I to give any advice. If your man is not too keen on taking off with his buddies maybe you should do this –give them a couple of chilled beers, a lounge chair and leave them aloneThat should be their ultimate “mancation”

 

🙂
madhavi
PC: Trip Advisor; Pinterest; Timeout; Liveinstyle; Frio canon.

How Hotels can be an Absolute Game Changer When Traveling with Children

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Image :Legoland Hotel,Malaysia

Here’s the thing about children: They’re completely unpredictable. Situations constantly come up that are totally out of your control and when those situations happen far from home they threaten to ruin your hard-earned vacation.

Too much moving around on tours can literally make them cranky and fussy.

When I travelled with my young children I remember carrying a whole lot of paraphernalia to keep them occupied for the “in between times” of touring and other planned activities as the amenities for them at  hotels used to be relegated to cookies , uninspired children’s menus and maybe a colouring book or two.

Thankfully, young globetrotters today have much more to look forward to: luxury chains are now plying on them with perks like cooking classes with famous chefs, bird-watching expeditions, and other activities and creative gifts beyond the standard run of the mill -stuffed teddy bears.

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Image :Legoland Hotel, Malaysia

All this pampering by posh properties, other than  the full fledged resorts, are putting oomph in keeping this picky clientele entertained.

But having said that here what Hotels can do to go out of their way to accommodate and please the juniors and their parents by offering clever and meaningful amenities.

  • Providing kids with child-sized robes and slippers, and gifts throughout their visit like coloring books, Frisbees etc.
  • Parents with babies, should be able to and borrow strollers, diapers and wipes.
  • A collection of creative experiences inspired by the destination such as kid-friendly tour of the city’s museums complete with a treasure hunt
  • Elaborate arrangements such as children under five get to eat for free at the on-site restaurants.
  • Family-friendly movies in its theater room, popcorn machines and candy treats machine
  • Toddlers play area and activities for young children such as kite making, shell collecting, and painting.

When you’re taking a vacation with your family, you want it to be just that — a vacation!

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Image:Kids clubroom Four Seasons,Chicago

Before you leave make sure you have looked at a hotel that has a variety amenities suited for family travel.

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Image: Centara Karon Resort, Phuket

Resorts that offer golf-cart access to the beach, and other numerous family-friendly amenities such as kid pool, playground, on-site indoor and outdoor games, walking paths, mini golf, etc can help you enjoy the holiday for both you and your entire family.

Can you think of any other suggestion/ activities/ freebies that hotels can offer to our young voyagers? Do share in the comments section.

Madhavi

 

PC: Google Images