Shelley Miller reveals her biggest secret, “With home exchanging you will never say, ‘I wish we could afford to travel.’ Instead you’ll ask, ‘Where should we go next?’.” We were so pleased when this up-and-coming author (Postcards From Home: Exchange the home, save the family) recently interviewed our founder, Nadege Conger, for some tips on Home Exchanging. Read the interview below ( click here to read it on Shelley’s blog):
Have you ever dreamed about traveling somewhere for several months to write, create, or simply think about things other than the mundane?
Perhaps even take a sabbatical from your job and your every day life? But who could afford such a luxury? You! I interviewed the founder of Sabbatical Homes and with her ideas you really can afford your dream.
Sabbatical Homes was founded in 2000 by Nadege Conger. Nadege (pronounced Nah-dezh) is married to a leadership professor, and from personal experience she realized there was a housing need for academics who are often required to take research trips and travel abroad.
Sabbatical Homes is devoted to serving the academic community worldwide and is the leading company for academic home exchange, home rental, house sitting and sharing opportunities.
Born in Champagne, France Nadege and her family have enjoy renting homes throughout the world for family vacations and business trips too. Travel has been, and continues to be, an important part of her family’s life. They reside in Southern California.
Sabbatical Homes.com currently offers:
- 500 exchanges listings in 32 countries
- 3739 rental listings in 59 countries
- 70 home sitting listings in 16 countries
- 140 home sharing listings in 16 countries (like finding a roommate)
Interview with Nadege Conger, Founder of SabbaticalHomes.com
1. How long is the average home exchange for SabbaticalHomes.com members?
There really is no average home exchange length with us. It can range from one month to one year and the dates usually coincide with the academic calendar. Summer months are more popular for shorter exchanges; while we see longer house swaps during the spring and fall semester months.
2. Are the majority of your members affiliated to the education profession?
SabbaticalHomes.com is a specialized housing service connecting academics, writers and artists across the globe. We focus on facilitating home exchanges and rentals for these professionals. They are naturally attracted to SabbaticalHomes.com and comprise the majority of our membership.
Auckland, New Zealand – This 3-bedroom/2-bath home is available for home exchange from SabbaticalHomes.com
3. Have you seen an increase in non-academics participating in longer home swaps or sabbaticals?
Our mission is to serve academics, however, anyone is welcome to use our service if they prefer to exchange with scholars, artists and writers. We have seen a lot of interest, across the board, in the home exchange feature. Sabbaticals, in general, have also enjoyed a growing universal appeal.
4. Swapping homes for six months, or more, seems exciting— yet daunting. What are your top 3 tips for a Home Exchanger before they depart?
After successfully finding a home exchange partner it’s important to align logistical matters.
- Verify insurance coverage with your agent – Confirm that your home insurance policy covers home exchanges. It’s possible that a Landlord’s Package Policy might be a better option. This is designed to cover physical harm to tenants as well as damages to your property. It’s worthwhile to look into this, especially if you plan to be away for a long time.
- Prepare to meet your day-to-day obligations remotely – Initiate “mail forwarding” or “hold mail” service. In the U.S., it’s as easy as visiting your local post office or www.USPS.gov. Set up online banking and bill paying, many banks offer this.
- Ensure open lines of communication – A. Give your itinerary and contact information to friends and family B. Create a “how-to” list for appliances, security systems, sprinklers, etc. for your exchange partner. Include a list of recommended shopping, eating, sightseeing, and emergency numbers.
5. Do your members typically meet their home exchange partners? SabbaticalHomes.com members have so much in common that they often become friends when they have the opportunity to meet. In addition, since most of our members work in the same circles, there’s a high probability there would be just a few degrees of separation between them.
When it’s impractical to meet a home exchange partner in person, we recommend using a service such as Skype to get to know each other. Prepare a list of relevant questions for your exchange situation. It’s important to be authentic with your potential home exchange partner.
Barcelona, Spain – How about a sabbatical in this 1-bedroom/1-bath? Sabbatical Homes can help you make it happen.
6. If someone goes on sabbatical to a foreign country should they inform their own country’s embassy?
Registering your trip information with your country’s embassy is an extra precaution that may allow them to better assist you if an emergency situation should occur. It’s usually not required, but an option left to the traveler’s own discretion.
7. Can you suggest a good “how to” book for someone arranging their first sabbatical?
“The Family Sabbatical Handbook” by Elisa Bernick is a resourceful book that includes detailed advice about sabbatical locations, travel, finances, packing and preparations, vaccinations and visas, foreign schools, medical care abroad, coping with homesickness and growing together as a family.
8. What inspires you to do what you do every day at SabbaticalHomes.com?
We have so much passion for the work academics do on behalf of society. It inspires us to facilitate their travel and housing needs through SabbaticalHomes.com. We’ve been proudly helping minds on the move since 2000, and happily continue that tradition.