It started with a phone call:
– Auntie, let’s go to Disney? Let´s call the other uncles and cousins out?
– Let’s go! We have to search a rented home, see if everyone can go…
– Okay, check if they can go. Let me see the house. I think I can get it for free.
“Have you heard of home exchange?” I have some points here, in case nobody wants to make a direct exchange with me…
And so began a chat in which I answered most of the questions about home swapping that I have responded to in this post. When you don´t know anything about it, these doubts are widespread.
But at that moment neither I, who was already experiencing my sixth exchange of houses, would have thought the idea would work so well!
I joined the GuestToGuest website and searched the homes in Orlando and the region, preferably closer to Disney, to facilitate our arrival at the primary destination of the trip. Since it was less than a month before the date, January 5th to 10th, 2018, in high season in the region, and I still had to search for bigger houses as filters, there were not so many options available.
Although, some of the houses I found were so beautiful! Would the owner of any of these homes have plans to go to Brazil? I saw that it was time to give the two possibilities to the owners of the houses, so I sent my requests for exchanges saying that my apartment in Vitoria, Brazil, would be open for them, but that I could also “pay” the transaction with Guest Points. It´s the virtual currency which enables indirect exchanges on the site (I’ll tell you more about this at the end of the post).
A European owner of a beautiful summer house in the area, needing points for short trips close to her home, agreed to an exchange with the points! And my uncles and cousins, who have lived in Florida for decades, have moved their worlds to spend that weekend together! Result: family reunited!!!
We arrived at the house, and we were amazed by everything: two huge rooms, each one with a living room and dining room, a table set, four super spacious suites, a games room with pool tables. We went with two babies, and we felt as if we were living a dream, there were two travel cribs in the closet!
Not to mention the best part, the enormous heated pool area, overlooking the lagoon and this sunset:
Oh, and can I confess something? With the parks very crowded, we chose to book Sunday just to eat and spend the rest of the day enjoying family moments in that dream house.
About exchanges using Guest Points (GP), from GuestToGuest: you can obtain the points by getting people into other non-reciprocal exchanges (when you only get people at your house, but you do not go to their house) or even paying for the points, without receiving anyone in your home. In that case, it would be like renting the person’s house, only that usually the value in points is much more in consideration than the rent would be on a regular rental site.
When you subscribe to the site, you already earn many GPs (Guest Points) that allow you to make a good exchange: my first exchange in Amsterdam (for 12 days in high season!) was using these points that the website gives.
It is an excellent tip for those who are afraid to change houses, to open doors: first, someone opens the doors for you, you pay nothing for it, you see that they are good houses from friendly people that are on the website and you take guts to open your doors. After that, it´s difficult to travel without thinking of changing houses! I say from experience!
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