An Update from The Vacation Exchange Network’s New North Bimini Ad Agency

We at The Vacation Exchange Network have always believed that our uniqueness speaks for itself.  But thanks to one of our members, it no longer has to….

When Berne and Sam Webb were on a home exchange vacation in the Bahamas, a conversation with a few couples from Miami, Florida quickly turned into a lively presentation about the benefits of The Vacation Exchange Network, complete with a hands-on demonstration!

The Webbs have been Vacation Exchange Network members for a few years.  Last year, they traveled to Sanibel Island, Florida on a non-mutual house swap.  Berne tells me the Sanibel home was beautiful.  Located a few blocks from the beach, it also had a pool in the backyard.  Perfect for an afternoon swim or as a backdrop to evening cocktails.

North Bimini Island in the Bahamas was the Webbs’ vacation destination this year.  This home exchange was mutual and non-simultaneous; the owners of the home in Bimini plan to travel to the Webbs’ home in Cape Cod, Massachusetts at a different time — when the weather in Cape Cod is at its best.

So, how did we convince Berne to serve as our remote marketer?

No convincing was necessary.  Sitting in a North Bimini Island cafe, Berne and Sam struck up a conversation with a few couples sitting at a nearby table.  “What brings you to the Bahamas?” they asked each other.  Berne’s response that she was on a home exchange sparked wide eyes from the other couples, so Berne went on to provide them with a lively description of home swapping with The Vacation Exchange Network.  With her fellow cafe goers’ interest piqued, Berne opened up her laptop, fortunately remembering  her PIN, and took her captive audience on a tour of the Vacation Exchange website.  The other couples were laughing and clapping along with Berne’s enthusiasm.  Apparently, she didn’t even need the white board and film projector we offered to send her!

One of the Miami couples was particularly interested in traveling to Italy, so Berne showed them The Vacation Exchange Network’s homes in Terracina, Rome, and Teramo.

Teramo Italy Vacation Home Exchange

Berne tells me that she raved about the travel opportunities afforded by vacation home exchanges.  Since the Webbs’ children are grown, their travels no longer need to be tied to school vacations.  Like our other members, the Webbs enjoy the freedom and flexibility afforded by the non-mutual and non-simultaneous home exchanges that are the hallmark of The Vacation Exchange Network.  The Webbs can travel when and where they’d like to travel, without the necessity of finding someone else who wants to use their home at the same time.

While hiring a public relations firm to do publicity about The Vacation Exchange Network might get us a few lines in some travel magazines and allow us to garner invitations to a few fancy cocktail parties, having members like the Webbs is much more rewarding.  Our thanks to the Webbs,  and to all of our other members, who speak so graciously about our service.

Please visit The Vacation Exchange Network’s site to join our home swap network, to learn more about how home exchanges work, or to refer a friend to The Vacation Exchange Network.

Have you had an opportunity to tell someone about The Vacation Exchange Network or about your home exchange vacation?  We’d love to hear about it.  Use the comment box below orcontact us via email.  We look forward to hearing from you!


A Vacation in St. Augustine, Florida Has Much to Offer Golfers (and Anyone Who Eats)!

Our spotlight on St. Augustine, Florida continues this week with golf and restaurant reviews by our members. Take a look at last week’s Vacation Exchange Network Blog for posts aboutsights to see and things to do in St. Augustine and vacation homes available for swap in St. Augustine.

Golf and Restaurant Reviews by The Vacation Exchange Network Members

Our members’ St. Augustine golf course picks:

St. Johns Golf & Country Club is located between St. Augustine and Jacksonville, Florida and offers extraordinary golf. The 18-hole Clyde Johnston-designed course has the right challenges for novice and avid golfers alike. A great place to hone your skills, St. Johns is known for its consistent quality of service and conditions, being nationally ranked for customer satisfaction and loyalty by the National Golf Foundation, and host to the PGA TOUR Qualifying School in 2004, 2006, 2007, and 2008.

Cimarrone Golf in Jacksonville should not be missed. Cimarrone’s manicured course conditions and challenging design provides a fun, player-friendly experience for golfers of all abilities.

King & Bear Golf Course in World Golf Village is named for its co-designers, World Golf Hall of Fame members Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. Wide fairways, top-notch conditioning. Not to be missed!

These restaurants have gotten rave reviews by our members:

O.C. White’s Restaurant: If sightseeing downtown, O.C. Whites is a good choice for lunch or dinner. Offering fresh local seafood, it is located in a historic building. Music in the patio area in the evening creates a fun atmosphere to spend part of an evening.

Pusser’s Bar and Grill in Ponte Vedra Beach (a short drive north of St. Augustine) is a great spot. Try the fish and chips. You won’t be sorry.

Ocean 60 (in Atlantic Beach) is a trendy spot with great food. You’d think you were in SOHO in New York City. Be sure and make a reservation because it’s a very popular spot. Located in a very cute little area that’s perfect for taking a walk after dinner.

Benito’s: There were so many good restaurants in the area, but for wonderful Italian food, don’t miss Benito’s. Located in Vilano Beach (a section of St. Augustine), the food at this very unassuming spot is terrific. On top of wonderful food, the prices are very reasonable. Over a two week period, we ate here four times.

Columbia Restaurant: This Spanish restaurant on St. George Street serves wonderful food with atmosphere. Indoor patio is stunning. Don’t miss the Scallops Casimiro.

Aunt Kate’s is a casual spot with great food and reasonable prices. The fried shrimp is terrific.

Salt Water Cowboy’s is not fancy but has a pleasant atmosphere; good food with a southern flair and good value. For those with a daring streak, try the fried alligator. Of course, be sure and try the fried chicken.

The Vacation Exchange Network is always looking for restaurant, golf, attraction, and destination reviews. Please share yours in the comments section below, or if you are a member, please email us with your reviews.

The Vacation Exchange Network

Unmatched in the home exchange industry, The Vacation Exchange Network is the vacation home owner’s first stop in vacation planning. Swap a stay in your vacation home for a stay anywhere in the United States or around the world, without the necessity of having to find someone who wants to use your home. Please visit The Vacation Exchange Network’s main site for more information about how home swaps work or to become a member and start planning your next home exchange vacation!


Escape the Cold in Sunny Locales

This winter has been especially brutal for many states, and it’s no wonder our minds have turned to sunny temperatures!  There are a number of warm and sunny spots in our house exchange network, so you can find a little refuge from the cold. We have home swap options in Florida, California, and more. Let’s take a look at some beautiful and warm places to escape the harsh winter in the upcoming months.


Panama City Beach, Florida - TimothyJ (Flickr)

We have a number of exchange homes available in the Sunshine State. From Destin to Anna Marie Island, the beautiful shores of Florida are waiting to be explored! Florida is home to some amazing beaches and fun vacation spots.

Anna Marie Island

Named as one of the Top 10 Beaches for Families by Parent Magazine, Anna Marie Island offers family activities like miniature golf, sailing, paddleboard and more. If you’re interested a house swap, our directory features a number of homes for the area.

Panama City Beach

Gorgeous white sands and pretty water make this spot a favorite for many vacationers. Besides miles of beach to explore, there’s a waterpark, bumper boats, a crazy maze and other activities for families or couples. You’ll find several properties for Panama City Beach in our member directory; some even overlook the water.


Besides the beautiful beaches, you’ll find a great outlet mall at Destin.  This spot on the Emerald Coast is a favorite for many and if you’ve never experienced it, maybe it’s time to consider a vacation home exchange in Destin.   We have 20 properties available in Destin, and many are available year round. Check out our list to see more.


The Golden State awaits for you to visit it! There are so many popular tourist destinations in the state, because it has something for everyone. Sun, sand, surf, shopping and more. Our California exchange homes offer you a chance to explore all that the state has to offer.

San Francisco, California - Jeff Gunn (Flickr)

San Francisco

You can ride the world-famous cable cars or explore a number of interesting museums, including the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco. Two hours from San Francisco, you’ll find the Monterey Bay Aquarium, where you’ll see colorful sea creatures, otters and more. Alcatraz and The Asian Art Museum are also interesting spots to visit in the city. House swapping for San Francisco is available, and you can see the properties we have now.

Long Beach

A decommissioned submarine, the Long Beach Museum of Art, and a vibrant downtown are just a few reasons you might visit Long Beach. You’ll also find great outdoor areas, such as the El Dorado Nature Center. You’ll find a few Long Beach house exchange properties in the directory.

Palm Springs

Palm Springs has long been a favorite destination for all ages. If you’re a history buff, it’s a must, thanks to the Palm Springs Air Museum, which features several exhibits of WWII planes.  There’s also a “folly” theater, canyons to explore, botanical gardens and other points of interest.  You can browse our Palm Beach vacation home exchange properties to see if you’re interested in this city.

These are just a few of our properties in sunny locales! As the ice and snow continue, what better time to explore a new sunny region? If sun isn’t on your mind, don’t worry, our other properties can meet any need. As the internet’s # 1 vacation home exchange network, you can find thousands of properties on our website in the United States or overseas, including Aruba, Peru, United Kingdom and more!


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.