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Home Exchange: Home Away from Home

By Fredrica Syren
It is no secret that we like to travel, as do many of our friends. Before we had children, we did a lot of traveling together — my husband and me — and we’d stay in hostels, B&Bs, and hotels. But since having children, traveling has presented itself as more of a challenge because we have to plan everything to a T, and staying in hotels is really no longer an option. When traveling with kids we need more space, and access to a kitchen is a plus. Of course we could rent a house, but that can become very expensive. The option we (as well as many of our friends with kids) have tried is home exchange. With home exchange, we simply trade our home with someone else through an agency such as Homeexchange.com

On this site, you create a profile with pictures of your home, and information about it and your family. You also add the number of people who will be traveling, and the date(s) and the place you wish to go. Once you have done that, you have the option to explore other people’s profiles, and if you like someone you can email them with an inquiry. We tend to zero-in on families so that toys and kids’ rooms will be available, making our stay there so much easier. I was surprised at how many offers we got each time and how many different countries were available for us to visit. Our friends and we have done this so many times, and neither our friends nor we ever have had a bad experience. To make it safe and easy, we write a contract between us that includes what to expect from each other, etc. We also add friends’ and family’s contact information in case we have any questions or need help while staying in the other family’s home. Sometimes our cars will be available for each other, too, and of course not having to rent a car saves a tremendous amount of money.

We really like home exchange because it opens the whole world for us travel. It also makes us comfortable, saves us money, and saves the planet. As well, it’s easier on our kids, and we get great insider information from the other family about local interests, and things to see and do.

About Green Mom

Fredrica Syren, the author and founder of Green-Mom.com, was born in Sweden. Her mother was a classically trained chef who introduced her to many eclectic flavors and skills at a young age. Her mom’s passion for the outdoors and gardening planted the seed for her own love of nature and healthy eating. She received a degree in journalism and has worked as a print, Internet and broadcasting journalist for many years with big businesses within Europe and the United States. After her mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer and she with pre-cancer, Fredrica changed her career to become a full time yoga teacher and activist. A longtime world traveler, foodie and career woman, she was exposed to many facets of life, but nothing inspired her more than becoming a mom. After her first-born, Fredrica began a food blog focusing on local, seasonal, organic & vegetarian dishes. Years of food blogging developed into the cookbook Yummy in My Tummy, Healthy Cooking for the Whole Family. Upon the arrival of her second child, Fredrica founded Green-Mom.com. Her vision was to establish a site providing insight about gardening, home and personal care, baby & child, and of course food & nutrition. Green-Mom.com hosts many talented writers shedding light on ways to incorporate eco-friendly and nutritious practices for busy families. She is an advocate for organic, local and sustainable businesses. Fredrica hopes to inspire social change through her lifestyle, passion and business. Fredrica lives with her husband James Harker-Syren and their three children in San Diego, CA.

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