5 Things To do With Kids on a Vacation Home Swap: How to Get Out and Explore a New City

Traveling with your children can be one of the most rewarding experiences, especially when you get a chance to discover a new city. When you use the Vacation Exchange Network for a housing swap, you have a chance to visit exciting destinations all over the world. There are museums, landmarks, activities, shows to see and more. When you arrive at your destination, what are some of the best ways to keep your children engaged and entertained while exploring your new city? Read on and see!

1. Have a Vacation Photo Scavenger Hunt

Before arriving at your destination, you can devise a photo scavenger hunt. Look up the local landmarks, wildlife, points of interest, and attractions to make a list of images to “capture” with your children. You can make a quick list with checkboxes, and have your children run around taking photographs on everything on the list. Not only is this a way to explore the new area on a home exchange, but you will also have a great record of some of your experiences. When you get home, you can save the photographs in a special photo album or scrapbook. This is a great activity for children ages 3 and up.


2. Take a Set of “Buddy Pictures” At Fun Locales

Here’s an activity that’s very popular online with both adults and children! Have your children pick a beloved toy to take along as you explore the sights of  your vacation destination. Take photographs of the toy in front of signs, plants, and other interesting spots. Your child will love finding new places for their toy to go, and dreaming up fun situations for the “animal” to engage in. You might pose your buddy in front of a historic castle, or posing with a local delicacy.  The only rule is have fun and get creative! Your children will love sharing the images with friends and family when they return from your vacation, plus this activity can make even “boring” places seem fun.

3. Play Brochure “Roulette”

Read over the brochures for your destination and choose a handful with options that you feel are child-friendly. Then let your child decide the day’s “mystery” activity or destination by putting each brochure in its own envelope and pick from the pile. You never know where you’re going to end up! This is a great way to see the city in a new way, and not stick to a strict itinerary. Save the brochures to put in a scrapbook later, along with photos from the destination(s).

4. Get a pass for the local transportation system.

One of the best ways to explore the real culture of the city is to use the local transportation system. If you can jump on a subway, trolley, bus, tram or even train, you can discover new sights, fascinating exhibits, great places to eat and more. Most transportation options are easy and affordable to use, so as you prepare for your house swap, see your best options for getting around.

5.   Make Your Own Audio “Tour”

Take along your smartphone or tablet when you explore the new city, and let your children discuss the “must see” elements of your vacation, favorite sights, fun places to go, and what your family did. Let your child tell you their own “history” of the place, using their imagination and their surroundings to weave fun stories. You can save all of your recordings on your device, then mix it into MP3 files to play back anytime you need a walk down memory lane. You could even share it with a family member who might also be going to the same destination.

Your vacations are what you make of them, and each destination offers a chance to learn, play and explore a new area. Children are naturally curious, and you can use the world as their playroom and make memories by indulging in some of these fun activities.


4 Hot International Choices This Spring for a House Swap Vacation

Welcome to the 2nd part of my post series for spring destinations for a vacation home exchange. In this post, I’ll be covering international options for your next house swap. Be sure to read my previous post for the United States destinations.


At The Vacation Exchange Network, we have multiple homes in Australia. Australia is a land of adventure, and offers options for fun for any traveler. When it comes to deciding on an Australian vacation, you should look for activities and places you want to explore. New South Wales is home to Sydney, a wonderland of history and culture, including the iconic SydneyOpera House. Sydney Harbor is one of the most beautiful in the world, and has several beaches to enjoy. If you’re looking for quiet, you can probably find it there. The government operatesSydney Ferries letting you enjoy the beauty of the surroundings on the water.


In Melbourne, Australia, you’ll find gorgeous gardens to explore and enjoy at the Royal Botanical Gardens. The Gardens are committed to conversation and educating visitors about the importance of plants. If it’s a beautiful day, spend it outside walking some of the prettiest gardens you’ve ever seen.  Are you an art lover? Don’t miss a chance to look through the collection at the National Gallery of Australia, which opened in 1861. The gallery features art not only from Australia, but also from around the world. Exhibits change, but recently the gallery featured Art Deco Fashion, Australian Impressionists, and more. The gallery is also free. Melbourne and Sydney are just a few spots in Australia when you can find exchange homes from The Vacation Exchange Network. Our full list of Australian homes is yours for the browsing!

United Kingdom

We have several UK homes available for a house exchange.  London, of course, is a popular vacation spot. There’s so much to do in London that you’d have to spend weeks enjoying everything it has to offer! Many love the Tower of London which features over 1000 years of history. You can see the Crown Jewels, explore the four floors of the White Tower, and even see old instruments of torture. Why read about history in a book when you can see it come alive? If you want to see great art and are on a budget, the British Museum is a free museum with multiple history and art exhibits. They offer several special kids and family programs as well. North Yorkshire is also open for the exploring. The Museum of Victorian Science features a private collection of scientific objects from the Victorian age and features several demonstrations. Perfect for a child interested in science, or even steampunk fans.


How to Take Amazing Photographs for a House Swap

You’ve heard the phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words” before, right? When making your vacation home available on the Vacation Exchange Network, pictures can go a long way toward convincing someone your home is a must-see. You’ve worked so hard on your home’s profile, explaining the benefits of the area, what the home offers, and more. The photo is the final “sell” to get someone to go from “Maybe I’ll stay here” to “I want to stay here!”

Why Take Great Pictures For a House Swap?

Before I explain how to take great photographs of your vacation home, let’s review a bit about the Vacation Exchange Network. Our network allows you to arrange stays in someone else’s home, even if they’re not interested in your home. We offer two types of exchanges: Direct Exchanges and Indirect Exchanges. A direct exchange occurs when you and a member swap a stay in each other’s homes. An indirect exchange means your home is used in an exchange, but you don’t stay in the requesting member’s home. When you allow another member to use your home, you receive an exchange credit, which you can use at a later time to stay in any other member’s vacation home. Now you can understand why having pictures that scream “Stay here!” can be so important when you’re a VEN member! For more information, please visit our website.

Think of taking pictures of your vacation home like “staging” your home to sell. You want to make it look appealing, but also help the interested party imagine themselves in your home.  The first picture of your home is free, so if you’re opting for just one picture, you want to make it count.