15 Ways to Have Fun on a Beach House Exchange with Kids 

Embarking on a beach vacation on your next house exchange? The beach offers swimming, and fun in sand, but if you’re in need of a few more ideas, we’ve got you covered. No matter what age your children are,we’ve got plenty of tips and tricks for you to make entertaining them a snap. After all, you’re on vacation too, right? You may find that some of our house exchange properties even have private beach access! Let’s see what you can do with your kids this summer at the beach!

Original image used under Creative Commons from Flickr user Lukema.

Original image used under Creative Commons from Flickr user Lukema.

1. Fly a kite. Kites are inexpensive, and it’s fairly easy to fly one.  Stop by a discount store and pick up a few colorful kites for fun.

2. Erect a beach tent. Not only will you have fun, but you’ll also be providing some good shade for the little ones. This is a good way to use an old sheet, and a few sticks to make a good place to play.

3. What trip to the beach is complete without building a sandcastle? Be sure to pack your bucket (stop by a dollar store before leaving to grab one), and start sculpting. You can decorate with shells, coral and all even food coloring for fun, colorful sand.

4. Do a nature walk. Take time to look up facts about the nature in the area, and make a checklist of things you can see. You can include options

5. Have a picture scavenger hunt. Take your camera or phone, and see if you can snap photos of any the sights and sounds of the beach. Your targets can include a hermit crab, a piece of driftwood, a pink sun hat, etc. Make a list of 10-12 things and get hunting!

6. Get out on the water. Many properties that are located near a beach for house exchange are not far from kayak, paddleboat, and other watercraft rentals.

7. Have a water fight. Grab your water guns and some water balloons, and chase each other down the beach (just be aware of other visitors!), seeing who can splash who first.

8. Make a sand volcano. It looks messy but it’s really just a lot of sand and water, but it’s big fun. Pile the sand into a mountain, carve out the crater where the water (lava) will erupt and start dropping buckets of water into it to see the way the lava flows down the sides of the mountain. Little kids can do this over and over with fascination.

9. Play musical towels. It’s like musical chairs but with towels, and is the perfect game for more than two kids. You can play the music on your smartphone then turn it on and off to start the race to towels.

10.  Turn a towel into a checkerboard and use shells for pieces. You can use a ratty old towel or one from the discount store to be your board by just coloring on it with a Sharpie. Be sure to use a ruler to get the lines sharp!

11. Collect shells. Start collecting shells and sand in small jars to make memory jars later. You can also keep your treasures in a Ziploc baggie.

12. Have a treasure hunt. This one can get kids playing for quite a long time. Try hiding a small box in the sand with small prizes, such as a card game or keychain, inside. Then make a “treasure map” with a few clues, and let the kids start the hunt.

13. Visit the Boardwalk. Most beaches have a Boardwalk area with a fun souvenir stores, dive shops, etc. You can browse and maybe even snag a piece of salt taffy.

14. Boogie board race. Kids 5 and up love boogie boarding, and why not turn their fun into a race? You can see who can get to the shoreline first.

15. Go beach bowling. Take one beach bowl, a bucket, and some sand, and what can you do? Beach bowl! It’s easy to make the pins and kids will have fun trying to knock them down.

What are your favorite activities on the beach?

At The Vacation Exchange, we know vacations and offer a wide network of house exchange properties. Our network lets you join for the first year for free, and leverage your vacation house for a stay in anyone else’s in the network! So you can own a house in Portland, Oregon, and leverage it for a stay in Destin, Florida, even if the homeowner doesn’t stay in your home! Contact us for more information, and find out how you can travel the word.





How to Use Social Media to Have a Great Vacation

Did you know that social media is one of the best ways to plan and enjoy your vacation? Seriously! Social media has become a travel agent and advisor, and if you know where to look, you can have an amazing vacation using your favorite social media networks.

As a premium vacation house exchange company for properties located throughout the world, we at The Vacation Exchange are no strangers to how much people love to plan their vacations!


If you haven’t decided where you’d like to vacation, you can spend hours going through some of the best Pinterest travel planning boards online. There’s boards for plenty of places like beaches, deserts, theme parks, and much more. You can get started by looking at pins under “vacation ideas” on Pinterest. Read More


5 Things To Know About Home Swapping with Pets

Just in time for National Love Your Pet Day, we’re talking pets!

Our pets are like family to us, and it makes sense that we bring them on vacation sometimes. If you’re embarking to a location by house swapping, there are a few things you need to consider before bringing Fido or Fluffy with you.

Photo used under Creative Commons from Flickr user boblinsdell

Photo used under Creative Commons from Flickr user boblinsdell

Make Sure Pets Are Allowed

First things first, make sure you’re actually permitted to bring your pet to the house exchange property. If you’re participating in an exchange with a member of The Vacation Exchange Network, then you want to make sure you have chosen a property that welcomes pets. Many of the members will state “well-behaved pets welcome,” however, if the listing doesn’t state this, please check if pets are allowed. It will ensure both you and the vacation home owner have a great house swapping experience.

Be Prepared

Once you’ve decided to bring Fido or Fluffy with you for your vacation home swapping, you need to make a few preparations. You should make sure you have plenty of food on hand, plus you might want to bring comfort items, such as your pet’s blanket or toys. If you have a cat, a Feliway or other natural diffusers can make your pet more calm in an unfamiliar place. When it comes to food, consider bringing enough food to last your entire trip, plus enough for one more day. If your pet eats food that is prescription, doubling is up smart, just in case of an emergency during your travels. With cats, never forget litter or litter boxes!

Consider the Water

Vets say that a different type of water can make your pet sick to their stomach, so you may consider bottling your tapwater for your pet to drink while on vacation during a house exchange. If you’re going out of the country or to a new state, you may find that the water taste differently. If you notice it, your pet will too!

Remember ID

We don’t like to think the worst, but what if your pet were somehow lost while you were traveling or on a house exchange? You should make sure your pet is well-identified, with a collar with your name, cell phone number, and maybe even email. If you adopted your pet from an animal shelter, it may be microchipped, so check with your vet. A microchipped animal can be scanned at nearly at vet, animal hospital or shelter. You may also want to bring a copy of your pet’s records in case they need to visit a vet while the two of you are home swapping. A recent picture on your smartphone is always recommended as well. Some pet owners even make a “pet passport,” which is a journal to hold all of their pet’s information for travel.

Follow the Rules When House Swapping with a Pet

On a house exchange, you should ask the homeowner if there’s any guidelines for pets. Do they not want pets in a certain area of the home? Are pets allowed on the furniture?  Home swapping with pets is easy when you respect the rules of the homeowner.

Are you ready to learn more about house exchange, with or without a pet? The Vacation Exchange Network is full of vacation home owners who love home swapping with people just like you! Find a new destination for you and your furry friend today at our websitePlease visit The Vacation Exchange Network’s site to join our home swap network, to learn more about how home exchanges work, or see all of our properties at great destinations all over the world. You can also follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook!


15 Items Most People Forget on Vacation

Embarking on a vacation is often a fun experience, but planning your vacation can take a lot of work. With The Vacation Exchange, your needs for accommodation are met when you participate in a home swap, leveraging your home for a stay in another’s home – whether it’s at the same time or not. However, once you’ve decided where you’re going to stay then comes the part of packing, which is a task in itself. It helps to make a packing list, but sometimes you just forget something, and only remember when you need it! Save yourself the trouble of having to make unnecessary purchases by adding these items

1. Chargers – We’re all guilty of forgetting a phone or tablet charger at some point on vacation. Either it was plugged in, and you didn’t remember to take the charger, or you simply forgot to pack it all together. When you need to get a charger, it involves going to a store. If you’re participating in a holiday exchange on vacation, you may pay $12-20 per charger you purchase in an airport, convenience store or drugstore. Save yourself the money, and pack your charger.  A good way to keep it from getting tangled in your luggage or purse is to keep it in a hard sunglasses case.

2. Ponchos – Rain happens, and when it occurs on vacation, we don’t want our clothes to get soaked, especially if we’re outside on an adventure.  Last time I went to a theme park, it poured and I was considering shelling out $12.oo for a bright yellow Disney poncho. Save yourself the trouble, and head to the local discount center, look on Ebay, or visit a dollar store to get ponchos for everyone in the family. They’re often packaged in their own resealable bags and don’t take up much room. You’ll appreciate not having to spend $12.00 and up for your child next rainstorm – keep this in mind for a home exchange in Florida, which is known for its random patches of rain.

Photo used under Creative Commons from Flickr user hansel5569

Photo used under Creative Commons from Flickr user hansel5569

3. Umbrellas – On the topic of rain, how many times have you forgotten an umbrella on vacation? The forecasts for your vacation while on a holiday exchange can change from day to day, and you don’t want to get caught in a storm without an umbrella. You’ll soon find that if you’re in a popular vacation spot that items like umbrellas can cost around $10 and up, and who wants to pay that? Buy a small “mini” size umbrella, pack it in your bags, and you’ll be prepared.

4. Bandages and First Aid Needs – Have you ever cut yourself on vacation? Trying to find a band-aid in a public place is sometimes a hassle. You should pack a simple first aid kit to have in case of a minor cut, scrape, or bruise. Having several sizes of bandages is a good start, then consider aloe for sunburn and burns. When you need a first aid kit, why waste time scrambling to find one when you can tote along your own? If you want to save space in your suitcase or purse, try packing the bandages, aloe, and anything else in an Altoids tin. Many blogs online recommend including alcohol wipes, q-tips, a couple of a strips of waterproof tape, and cotton balls.

5. Bathing Suits – Sometimes we think that we won’t have time to swim on vacation, because we have too much planned during the home swap vacation, and then the water looks so inviting that we just have to jump in. Only what if you didn’t bring a bathing suit? Well, you can purchase a fairly unattractive one at the local WalMart if you’re lucky, or you can just go out in a t-shirt or shorts. Sometimes in all of the flurry of packing, we simply forget the bathing suit altogether. Don’t forget the bathing suit for! Roll it inside one of your shoes right away so you know it’s packed. Try packing a beach towel too, in case there aren’t any at your accommodations.

6.Over-the-Counter Medicine -Having a headache on a vacation is no fun. You can be on the best holiday exchange ever and if you need to grab a bit of Aleve or aspirin, it may entail driving to the drugstore. I can’t count how many times a flight or jet lag gave me a headache, and I ended up having to pay for $3.99 for a tiny pack of aspirin at the gas station. If you don’t want to take a full bottle of medicine, grab a trial size bottle from your local Target or drugstore.

7. Makeup and Other Beauty Products – We ladies want to look good on vacation, don’t we? What happens if you forget your mascara or even your powder? You might want to buy a replacement, but some cosmetics cost big bucks even at home. Be sure you take care to pack your make up bag. Also important? Makeup removal wipes or creams. You can buy them in a small size that’s perfect for travel, but if you have to buy a jar of say, Noxema, at the local store, you might be stuck with a cumbersome thing to jam into your suitcase later.

8. Socks – We can never pack enough socks! Roll them up and put them into your shoes, even if you plan on wearing sandals the entire trip. Tennis shoes and socks are a must for vacations, especially if it rains. Be sure to pack enough socks at least a pair for each day of your vacation, plus one more pair!

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