Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Holiday Hitch

I listed our home on a vacation exchange website a few weeks ago. We want to go to Disneyland this summer and a home exchange could be an affordable and comfortable way to travel. Seeing as it worked out so nicely for Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet, I thought I’d give it a whirl.

Soon after paying the sign-your-life-away, never-get-a-refund membership fee, I contacted a family in California only a few miles from the dreamy theme park that my children cannot wait to visit. They own a modest home, want to travel this summer, and have Utah listed as one of their travel spots of choice, so the trade is ideal.

Our vacations plans are proceeding nicely except for one tiny detail. My inbox has been void of any response from the House Near Disneyland Family. When I didn’t hear anything for a day or two, I figured they don’t check their email on the weekends. After a few more days passed, I thought maybe they logon to their computer only once or twice a week. After almost a week of silence, I convinced myself they were out of town for Easter. But now? I am running out of excuses to comfort my fragile ego.

I have reread my listing description and searched my posted photos for any hints as to how I have frightened the House Near Disneyland Family into hiding. I avoided posting any pictures of S1 and S2’s bedroom and bathroom, made certain not to mention the dog, and gave no insight into how my house heats up like an oven despite central air, most of July, August and September, so I am at a loss.

As I tend to be gluten for punishment, I decided to research the site again for a home for trade. This time I was not too picky and searched all homes that listed Utah as one of their preferred destinations. There are just over 10,000 listings on this site. Guess how many of those people want to travel anywhere in Utah during anytime in the next three years? Twenty-eight.

Interestingly enough, a full quarter of those people live in Australia. They are probably David’s neighbors. It is not that I wouldn’t love to visit Down Under, but I could never afford all the plane tickets. And if I could afford to fly a family of seven to the land of kangaroos and Koala bears, I’d still be faced with the problem of no Disneyland theme park within driving distance.

And so it seems our summer vacation is going to be no holiday.


  1. Go Debbie! I'm rooting for you to have a good experience with this home trade thing.. Maybe I'll follow your lead if it works out well.

  2. Michelle,

    Thanks for the encouragement, but I think Grandma and Grandpa better get their guest room ready.

  3. this doesn't replace Disneyland in February does it??

  4. Kim-
    Of course not. There is not such thing as being too full for dessert or too tired of Disneyland.

  5. Deb, I've never been to Utah-you like New Brunswick? (next to the beaches?) I guess it doesn't compete with Australia's beaches, though :)

  6. G'day Eve, Michelle and Deborah,

    Okay, here goes, in no particular order .....

    Let S1 and S2 leave their rooms untidy.

    Arrange swap with Cameron Diaz or any other Hollywood celeb. Spend week in Hollywood. Woo-hoo!!

    Um, nothing compares with Aussie beaches.

    And yes, they are all my neighbours. Same street. I know them personally. We have barbecues every weekend.

    Come and spend your holiday with us. You'll love Australia, we've got great theme parks and wonderful weather on the Gold Coast, a two-hour flight away, but the nearest Disneyland is in, um, Hong Kong.

    Love ya work


  7. Eve,
    Once again, airfare for seven kills the deal. According to MapQuest, the drive is at least 44 hours and nearly 3000 miles. Hmmmm...a bit depressing, huh?

  8. David,

    S1 and S2 would be thrilled to have you in charge of the chore charts. If you decide the writing career is not for you, I think you'd have a future in vacation planning.

  9. Hi Deborah

    I'm so sorry to hear, after thinking you had a home exchange arranged, that the 'House Near Disneyland Family' have gone quiet. This doesn't happen very often but I know it is so disappointing when it does. As you've given the family some time to respond, you are right to start looking at other options. A suggestion - broaden your search for possible home swaps beyond those who specifically indicate an interest in an exchange to Utah. This is a good way to start a search for the people most likely to be interested in your offer but, if you don't search widely, you will miss the many people who are less specific about destinations they will consider (many will just say 'open to offers'). It takes some time to check through listings for possibles, and then contact many but don't give up on finding a suitable swap just yet. Also, if the agency you joined has a way of highlighting your offer (like a Last Minute Offers list), add your offer to this list too.

    For more information about home exchange I hope you will check out my blog:

  10. David,
    Australia sure sounds lovely!*sigh*

    Deb, I hear ya!

  11. Dear Deb,

    Tell S1 and S2 I am in charge of allocating chores this week and since it's holiday they can go into slob mode.

    BUT - tidy room, neat shoes, brushed teeth and everyday courtesy (especially to their sisters and their parents) are mandatory. Not negotiable!

    Dear Eve,

    It sure is. Beautiful country. Friendly people.

    Take care, all


    But the serious stuff starts

  12. David,
    Neat shoes? Are you serious? I just chuckle trying to picture S1 and S2 in neat shoes. Other than on Sundays I think it is darn near unheard of. Neat shoes. I love it!

  13. Debbie, that is so funny! I just watched that movie the other night and thought that was a great idea-the home swapping thing. Here's my idea: We'll vacation in your home and you can vacation in ours. What do ya think? lol (lots of love? laugh out loud? look I'm a loser?)

  14. Janna,
    I suppose your proposal is worth considering. Your house puts us easily only 10 hours and 15 minutes from Disneyland instead of 10 hours and 25 minutes. I'll keep it in mind as an option. Thanks!


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