Who are we ?
Carine & Vincent
French, married since 1986, we were both involved in culture fields : Vincent worked for the ministery of culture on heritage (lighting historical monuments), I was a free lance journalist for 35 years. Main topics ? town planning and architecture.
We both love to travel. We've exchanged homes the first time in 1988, after I wrote an article on that topic for an economic magazine. That way of traveling was not yet fashionable (Internet did not exist).
We have made 40 swaps since, mostly in northern and southern Europe. We've visited Belgium, England, Scotland, Ireland, Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Norway,Greece, Italy, Spain, and also Northern America (USA, Canada) living in all sort of flats and big homes.
We have experienced short exchanges (long week-ends, Xmas or Easter), longer ones overseas (up to one month) during summer holidays. We are used to take care of our hosts' belongings.
We lived in " le Marais", Paris historical center, when we worked, we owned a second home in Touraine (center of France, Loire valley) which helped us to organize non simultaneous exchanges. We have moved to Provence in 2006.
As we don't work anymore, we try to travel as often as possible. Italy and Spain are three hours drive only from where we live. And Marseille-Provence international airport is only 90 km distant from home.
Home swaps make travels more economic for sure, give opportunity to live in
bigger homes than hotels rooms or B&B. But if we like this way of travelling, the main reason is not (only) economic : we do prefer to live like the locals, doing our shopping, living in non touristic places, sometimes far from museums and "places of interest" recommanded by so many guides, even in remote locations.
Trust is important. We were used for so long to give our keys to perfect strangers that it became very easy to behave with petsitters the same way.
If exchanges of homes rely on reciprocity, the "deal" between pet owners and pet sitters is also equal : I offer my service in caring for your home and pets, and you are
giving me a place to stay and an opportunity to discover a new country.