Monday, October 24, 2011

Why would anyone bother....?
Why would anyone living in Paris or London want to come to humble little Brantford?   The anwer is  "you would be surprised how many!"   You would be surprised to see the list of people from world cities who would love to visit.  Since joining the home exchange network we've had enquiries from Paris, St. Petersburg, Helsinsky, Dehli, Istanbul, Amsterdam  and other exotic locations about a possible exchange with us in "humble little Brantford".  The point is that we have things to offer which others would love to experience.  The point is too that we, living in these humble little places,  tend to underestimate their appeal.  


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Affordable Travel

Imagine.... $20 a day to see the world!




That's what The Affordable Travel Club offers for only $20 a night, breakfast included!
The idea is that you join the club at about $60 a year and then select someone from the
membership list who is willing to host you.  The basic rate is $20 a night, breakfast is offered
and your host will spend at least an hour with you to help you get oriented. It is expected that
you will not overstay your welcome, the limit is usually 4 days, unless a more extensive stay
has been negotiated.  In most cases, people tend to more generous in their welcome with the
result that wonderful, lasting friendships develop.  Of course, you may get an email or phonecall  from someone who asks you to host a visit.  Friends of ours are presently on a wonderful vacation down-under who are enjoying the hospitality of friendly, welcoming Austrlians.   Can you think of a more wonderful, affordable way to travel and see the world?

Those Poor People at the Hilton.....

Recently, we spent four wonderful days in San FranciscoThe total cost of lodging for those 4 nights came to a mere $80 and that included our breakfast and a glass of wine in the evening before going to bed.  How is that possible?  It's the Affordable Travel Club that made it possible.
  Check it out by clicking on the link above.  Those poor people at the Hilton, spending maybe more than $300 a night, would never have the experience we had.  Our hosts were a wonderful couple who generously extended their hospitality to two Canucks from Brantford Ontario.  During the days of the cold war, it was a movement called "Citizen Diplomacy" that opened the doors to a frank exchange of people from the West and East in the belief that it is ordinary people meeting ordinary people that breaks down the barriers of misunderstanding between nations. Canada and the US have much in common.  But there is also a lot of ignorance and lack of understanding that keeps us  frozen in our stereotypes of each other.  Two couples sitting down for a glass of wine before retiring for the evening and enjoying a breakfast together the next morning has a way of opening up  the channels of understanding and enriching each other in ways that those poor people at the Hilton will never know.  

Friday, October 21, 2011

Dont' forget or ignore the medical insurance.....

I had a heart attack while hiking in the hills of the Basque country of France.  This was probably the best country in the world to have an attack -  We were lucky to be able to benefit from the best medical system in the world at a cost that would have necessitated a re-financing of our mortgage in the US.  The total cost of ambulance and 5 days in an intensive care unit came to a mere $15,000 Euros.  Fortunately,  I had the insurance and pre-condition statements to cover the total cost.  The moral of this message is:  Don't take a risk.  Declare all your pre-conditions, changes in drugs etc. as required by the insurance companies.  Even for a short stay, don't take a chance.  Affordable travel or home exchange gets kinds of meaningless when you have to foot as substantial  bill for medical expenses.  Several years ago, we ventured into the US for a one-day trip from Canada and had a car accident.  Luckily, there were no injuries for we had no medical travel insurance.  But what if we did have injuries and had ended up in a hospital?  It's just not worth it, at any age.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Home Exchanges don't have to be simultaneous. 

Recently we received an email from a couple in The Netherlands who wanted to do a home exchange.  Unfortunately, we had to tell them that we were in no position at the moment to consider a simultaneous exchange.  However, we suggested that they might wish to stay in our home while we are away on a trip to the Eastern provinces of Canada during the period they wished to visit.  This was with the understanding that at some future time we would avail ourselves of the opportunity to stay in their home in The Netherlands.  This would have to be at their convenience and at a time when they would expect to be away from their home.  They accepted the idea, giving us the assurance that this would work for them.   So next year they will be visiting Canada and staying in our home for a 3 week period, giving us the pleasure of looking forward to a time in the future, as yet undetermined,  when we will visit The Netherlands and stay in their home.

The point is: home exchanges do not have to be simultaneous.  We worked it out in our way and there may be other ways this could work, especially if you have a second cottage or a second home where you could stay.  The point is there are many different ways in which a home exchange can work to the benefit of both parties.