Worth its weight in gold
I would like to report comparisons between a home exchange and a B&B so that you can understand not just the savings but the comfort and convenience. I have to confess that we spent 2 weeks in a B&B in France but that is exactly what we did and for the following reason. Our trip was rather hurriedly arranged to coincide with the HomeLink Meeting in Paris. As it was very early in the season and still rather chilly in Europe we wanted to head for the South of France. Sadly there were no exchanges available at that time in that area but a German HomeLinker had a B&B just in the right place and for Mates rates via HomeLink. Right area and a pretty mediaeval village. As we parked our car outside Maison des Fleurs we thought how perfect it looked and indeed in many ways it was. We looked forward eagerly to 2 weeks of R&R and driving around the lovely Langudoc-Rousillon area. We have got so used to relying entirely on Home exchanging during the 20 odd years we have traveled to Europe and the UK and had quite forgotten the inconveniences that can occur when you do not have the luxury of being in a fully equipped home.
- Breakfast was extra. 15 euros per person per day. Not a problem as I had seen the little kitchenette in the pictures. 2 hotplates and fully equipped with plates, cutlery etc. No toaster, but we are in France and croissants from the local bakery sounded good.
- Yes, I know that you don’t usually have cooking facilities in a B&B but there was a kitchenette. No pots to be seen. When I asked I was told that cooking was not permitted. O.K. so we can have salads every day I thought. Eating out every day for 14 days in France was going to be very expensive. We were offered dinner by our hosts for 35 euros per person.
- I purchased a small pot from the local super market and did some creative ‘boiling’
- No herbs, spices salad dressings of course.
- No garden chairs to take on our outings
- No washing facilities
- No extra room if you have a partner who snores
- Very small rooms apart from the bathroom which was enormous
- No pick up or drop off at the airport.
- No possibility of a car exchange.
- This was a tiny apartment. The spacious house next door was kept for home exchanging but sadly they did not want to come to NZ.
- On the plus side we did get our room cleaned and tidied daily.
Cost for 2 weeks…..$NZ1713
Fast forward to England where we had a Home Exchange in a small village in the Cotswolds. Our nearest airport in France was Nimes and the nearest airport to our destination was Bedford which is a 2 hour drive from our home in the Cotswold. We knew we were going to like our exchange partners when they said “not a problem we will come and pick you up” We talked a lot during the 2 hours and got to know each other well. We were invited to a meal at the local pub that evening which was most welcome. Our exchange partners have 2 homes one of which is kept mainly for their dedication to Home Exchanging. This time our accommodation was……………
- A spacious fully equipped 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom home with a lovely garden.
- A laundry with clothes dryer
- A huge kitchen
- A yummy meal in the fridge
- “Help yourselves to anything in the pantry” We did and duly replaced what we had used.
- Use of a computer, maps, games, music, videos and suggestions of places to visit, use of car.
Cost for 2 weeks …………Nothing
Our next stop was probably even a better deal. 2 weeks in Central London in a spacious 2 bedroom apartment. No car, but who wants a car in London. The Tube was a 5 minute walk away and whats more two Oyster cards were provided for our use. Our host was obviously a gourmet cook and the spectacular kitchen and huge array of herbs and spices was so welcoming. This was a very special exchange and we were able to do some serious London study. This is the high rent area but……………………
Cost for 2 weeks…………Nothing
If you are contemplating travelling why wouldn’t you choose the ‘comfortable way’ after all it’s FREE usually saving us up to $20,000 for our 2 months plus stay.