Mi Casa es Su Casa

We’re hotel hounds like most living breathing people this side of the globe, but if you’re a writer or a photographer (like many of us), unless we’re on assignment to write about a property, we simply don’t have the dough in these tight times to fork over for fancy retreats; which is why we’re fans of more rustic or off-the-beaten path adventures.

It’s not just Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet who escape their complicated lives by swapping houses and indulging in a new lifestyle. Americans everywhere are taking advantage of difficult times – unemployment, breakups, and graduation – to be part of a new community and experience unknown parts of the world.  The new trend is to exchange your home for a short period of time and do activities that you wouldn’t normally do. For those considering the idea, here are some tips:

What can I do?

Two popular activities are teaching English to children overseas and participating in short-term programs to learn another language. Ideas like applying for an internship, volunteering, traveling through wineries and enrolling in cultural classes such as dance, art or cooking, come to mind and a few great websites to start your search (aside from our own, of course) include:

www.goabroad.comwww.crossculturalsolutions.or and www.iiepassport.org

As we’re often looking into ways to swap our place without worrying about creeps running off with our stove, tables, chairs, pots and pans, here’s how.

How to swap my place?

Apart from the temporary home exchange section of Craig’s List (we’re weary), websites such as:

www.houseswap.com

www.homelink.org.uk

www.guardianhomeexchange.co.uk

www.homexchange.com

All offer reliable alternatives to finding the perfect “tenant.”  As always, watch for scams and questionable Web sites before accepting any offer.

What do I do with my belongings?

The best answer to this question is to find a mobile storage unit. In the US, Moishe’s Mobile offers an affordable and convenient moving and storage solution. For as little as $79, Moishe’s can have a mobile storage unit delivered outside your place. You pack the container at their own pace (there are no extra charges if you take longer than needed) and when ready one of Moishe’s professionals will come pick it up and take it to a secure storage facility. There are a variety of sizes of containers, and monthly storage rates start at $60.

Why should I do this?

The experience can lead to amazing surprises, and the knowledge gained during your adventure can benefit your job search.  Not convinced yet? I hear Jude Law and Cameron Diaz are doing it.

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