This year my December holiday home exchange was through using a balloon. It was only three nights, so I struggled a bit over whether I wanted to “spend” a balloon on such a short stay. Balloons are usable on any length stay, and so obviously it’s a better value to spend balloons on longer trips. But at the same time, I don’t want to hoard my points/balloons, and I want people to stay in my home whenever it is empty even if I don’t have a plan for a reciprocal swap. This is the “earn and burn” mentality I’ve picked up from the points and miles community. Points that sit in an account have no value until they are used. So I convinced myself that spending a balloon was better than spending money (or points) on a hotel.

Back garden at our holiday home exchange

I get a lot of value out of staying in a home exchange when visiting family. The opportunity to cook myself a healthy breakfast and to relax in the evening in a comfortable living room, provide much needed balance to the fast paced eating-out and constant socializing of these visits.

This swap was with an artist and her husband. Her art covered the walls of the house, which was a fun enhancement to the atmosphere of their large and comfortable home. In a way we were learning about our host even when she wasn’t there. We did meet the couple for a few minutes when we arrived, to get the keys and an instructional tour.

Morning citrus picking

For me the best aspect of the home was the back garden which included many citrus trees of various types. Every day after breakfast I went for a walk through the garden to pick a few pieces of fruit to eat.

This home certainly wasn’t as fancy as last year’s holiday home swap, but it was more than enough for our needs. A large comfortable home with all the amenities and comforts we have in our own home. And in a neighborhood with some nice running trails and easy access to relatives. Yet another successful holiday home exchange.