When I was a child, our family’s home exchange trips let me experience life in very different locations.

I’ve been to Spain four or five times, although only as a child. The last trip was to Barcelona when I was a teenager. Before that, our family went to the Canary Islands two or three times. My favorite trip to Spain took place in 1999 when I was seven years old.

In the previous story (see Travel Memory #19), I wrote about our family’s home exchange trips during my childhood. Our family would spend around two weeks at the house of another family while they vacationed at our home.

In total, we did five international home exchange trips in Europe.

In the palace Alhambra in Granada
The local family owned horses.

House Swapping between Spain and Finland

Our fourth home swap sent us to Guadix, a small town by the mountains of southern Spain. If I remember right, we stayed at the home of the city’s mayor and their family.

As we stayed in a local home, it was easy for us to experience life with the locals. Us children played and hung out with the local friends of our hosts’ children. We also took care of the family’s dog, a wonderful Golden Retriever named Kelly that I still remember fondly.

Me and Kelly

I think a home exchange is a great way to explore a new destination. For two weeks, we had a great base in the country. We could lay low if we wanted, but we could also make day trips to explore other cities and places. From Guadix, we made trips to places like Granada and the Tabernas Desert.

Home exchange also allows traveling on a budget. Swapping houses is cheaper than booking a hotel, and we could also store and prepare our own food if we wanted.

I haven’t done any home swapping as an adult, but I still love the concept. On my own travels, I’ve stayed with locals with Couchsurfing and other hospitality networks.

Somewhere in Spain