We’ve had the top home swap cities in the United States and Canada, as well as those most desirable cities in Europe, and now it’s time for Latin America to stand in the spotlight. Stretching from Mexico all the way down to the southern-most tip of South America, the countries of Latin America all have one thing in common: their language. Mainly it’s either Spanish or Portuguese spoken here, with some French-speaking countries as well, but the point is that they’re derived from Latin and hence the name, Latin America.

Anyway, enough of the geography lesson for now, as we’re here to talk about home swapping! MyTwinPlace currently has homes listed in some of the most popular Latin American countries and cities, so read on to find out where you could be spending your next home exchange vacation.

Mexico
Mexico is still a highly desirable vacation destination. The great thing about this Central American country is its diversity: there’s the capital, Mexico City, which is a sprawling metropolis. It’s one of the largest cities in the world yet it’s still scenic. Set at an elevation of around 2,240 metres Mexico City is within the mountains. Choosing a home swap in Mexico City you can enjoy the endless culture, heritage, entertainment, and nightlife that this city has to offer.

In contrast you can home exchange in Mexico’s coastal regions too. Cities and resort towns like Puerto Vallarta, Play del Carmen, Cabo San Lucas, and Cancun, all offer an introduction to the great culture of Mexico, merged with beautiful sandy beaches, warm weather, entertainment and nightlife.

 

Nuevo Vallarta Mexico

 

Brazil
It’s a similar story in Brazil where large coastal cities dominate the market for home swapping. Rio de Janeiro is both a huge city and a coastal gem, and with all the many things you can see and do here it’s no surprise that home exchange in Rio is gaining popularity. From the Sugarloaf Mountain to the Christ the Redeemer Statue, Rio de Janeiro has some fabulous landmarks and scenery, and when you’re done seeing the sights you can relax on one of the world’s best known beaches, Copacabana! Demand for home swaps in Brazil is especially high during ‘Carnival’ season, so get your exchange requests in early if you’d like to visit then, or if you own an apartment in Rio, use the Carnival as an excuse to swap your home with another, anywhere in the world.

And if you thought Rio de Janeiro was large and busy, try Sao Paulo. It’s the largest city in Brazil, and the largest in the entire Southern Hemisphere. It’s known for its culture and museums, for the Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix, beautiful landmarks and parks, and a rocking nightlife!

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Argentina
In Argentina, the capital and largest city is also its’ most popular – Buenos Aires. It’s a fun and vibrant city with a great mixture of historic and modern architecture. Buenos Aires has an air of grandeur, but it’s by no means an old-fashioned city – there’s plenty of youthfulness about it too, such as the Puerto Madera neighbourhood with its great nightlife and restaurant scene. Buenos Aires is definitely a city for your bucket list, and if you do a home exchange you can stay here for free!

 

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Venezuela
Caracas is the top home swap city in Venezuela. It’s the capital and largest city of the country and it’s located just a little inland from the coast, separated from the Caribbean Sea by the beautiful Cerro El Avila mountain range. Even so, its proximity to the Caribbean means you can combine city sightseeing with days on the beach when you home swap in Caracas.

 

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Uruguay
The compact country of Uruguay is the second smallest (after Suriname) in South America, so it’s relatively easy to get to see most of the country’s highlights in a week or two. Staying in a home exchange in the capital city, Montevideo, puts you on the southern coast where there are some beaches to enjoy, but it’s the monuments, museums, parks, and historic architecture of the old town that are the main appeal here.

 

Casa_La_Barra_

 

Colombia
Colombia is the northernmost country in South America and it benefits from coastlines on both the Caribbean, and the Pacific Ocean. Needless to say there are many coastal towns and cities where you can relax on the beaches including Barranquilla which is famous for its ‘Carnaval’. Cali is also a popular city, though it is inland, and is famous for its salsa music and nightlife if you’re craving a partying vacation! The there’s the capital, Bogota. It’s the largest city in Colombia and has become known as the Athens of South America thanks to its grand libraries and universities, and for tourists there’s everything from culture, to cuisine, monuments, architecture, shopping and nightlife.

 

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Home Exchange in Latin America
So there’s a quick overview of Latin America’s top home exchange destinations. If one of these vibrant cities has caught your attention, why not sign up for free at MyTwinPlace and let our members know where you’d like to go for your next vacation?!

If you’re reading this and you own a home in any one of the popular cities, remember, your place will be in high demand. Consider listing your home for exchange and you could be swapping for free accommodation anywhere in the world!

Elsa and Manuel have a lovely apartment in Menorca. In June they tried the exchange experience for the first time with Jean-Noel and Anne-Marie’s house in Madrid… and loved it!

We spoke to Elsa to tell us a bit more about their journey and their experience in the world of home exchange.

Menorca

What was it that drove you to try it and to go through with your first MyTwinPlace exchange?

I got a call from MyTwinPlace telling me about your services. I wasn’t asked to do anything to make my page on MyTwinPlace… everything was done by you! When I closed the first exchange I was struck by the pictures and features of the house that I wanted swap with, and above all, the size of it (330 m2), the pool and the garden.

What were your fears and reservations about trying a home exchange?

My main fear was that it was a scam, one of many circulating on the Internet. But exchanging messages with Marie cleared up all my doubts.

Define your experience in one phrase

Brilliant!

Madrid

Any anecdotes or funny moments that you remember?

The owner had left a few glass sweet bowls filled with marshmellows in the living room. I took one and I couldn’t stop. Every time we went into Madrid, I looked for  identical ones to replace them, but couldn’t find them. Eventually, I bought some that were they were the most like them and filled up the bowls again. I still feel guilty for being so greedy.

Would you recommend the experience to your friends?

Yes, I have done.

What’s the best thing about house swapping?

The best part of home exchange is the comfort and savings.

If, like Elsa, you want to try the world of home exchange, go to MyTwinPlace and check out the number of possibilities of travelling around the world… in total comfort and saving the accommodation costs. Happy swapping!

The most “difficult” time of the exchange is when you are about to permanently close: you have chosen the perfect destination, you’ve found your ‘twin’ home, and the other family seems lovely. So why do doubts come up?

Don’t worry, it’s normal, especially the first time. These are the three most important issues you need to be aware of regarding your forthcoming exchange at the time of closing the agreement. Thus, everything will be decided and discussed, and you can sleep peacefully!

1. Personally know your exchange partner

Personally know your exchange partner

– What do they do, likes and dislikes?

– Who is their family, do they have a pet?

– Have they ever exchanged, how was the experience?

– Share Facebook and LinkedIn.

2. Learn all about the house

Learn all about the house

– Can you send me more pictures? (if something is not clear to you)

– Do you have pool, gym or other services?

– Is there anything important I need to know about the functioning of the house? (care of the pool, garden, etc.).

3. Find out about the amenities and activities near the house

Find out about the amenities and activities near the house

– How far it is located from the city centre or the beach (for example)?

– How well is it connected by public transport?

– Do they have a car, bike or other means of transport? What will we have at our disposal?

– What activities and services are nearby?

Don’t forget to explain the same thing about your house and your family. As mentioned above, you should leave a book or a notebook with all the explanations regarding your home. Happy swapping!

Holidays are the perfect time to unwind and relax. For those who have a pet, it also means spending more time with our beloved animal friends.

If you’re thinking of travelling with your pet, we advise you to carefully read these tips in order to get well organized and avoid any surprises.

1. Be sure to check the health status of the animal

Be sure to check the health status of the animal

Before you travel it’s essential to update all your pet’s vaccines. Your pet must also be protected against external parasites like fleas and ticks. If you go abroad, find out in advance what permits are necessary to enter the country with pets.

2. Means of transport

If you travel by car, train, bus, boat or plane, do your homework on the travel policy that each mode of transport implements, as they are often very different. Normally the most common and comfortable transport is the car, where your pet will have to go into a travel cage or a dedicated space, separate from the driver.

3. Bring their toys

Bring their toys

So that your pet will be more comfortable and not feel lost while travelling, take their toys and all their things along with you.

3. Keep your pet calm throughout the trip

The journey can be stressful for an animal: it doesn’t know where it’s being taken and can find it difficult to put up with being quiet and stuck in the same place for a long time. For this reason, it’s important to try to keep your pet calm throughout the whole trip, with good protection, care and attention.

4. Take rest breaks

Take rest breaks

If the journey is very long, it’s advisable to stop approximatively every one or two hours for your pet to drink, relieve themselves and walk around. Remember never to leave your animal alone in the car, especially in summer.

At MyTwinPlace many owners allow pets into their home, so there will be no problem when you bring your best friend with you on holiday. Find your perfect home!

We know that the dog is man’s best friend, so it’s natural to want to take your pet with you on holiday.

Sometimes it can be hard to find a beach where pets are welcome. It is, however, becoming increasingly common for local councils allow the use of certain areas of the beach with animals.

We’ve selected nine dog-friendly beaches where you can enjoy the sea with your pet.

Arroyo Burro Beach, Santa Barbara, USA

Arroyo Burro Beach, Santa Barbara, USA

West Wittering Beach, Chichester, England

West Wittering Beach, Chichester, England Wittering

San Felíu de Guixols, Cataluña, Spain

San Felíu de Guixols, Cataluña, Spain

Playa de Bocabarranco, Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain

Playa de Bocabarranco, Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain

Bagni Capo Mele, Andora, Italy

Bagni Capo Mele, Andora, Italy

Cagnes-sur-Mer, France

Cagnes-sur-Mer, France

Tallow Beach, Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia

Tallow Beach, Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia

Ballyholme Beach, Bangor, Ireland

Ballyholme Beach, Bangor, Ireland

Karavostasi Beach, Folegandros, Greece

Karavostasi Beach, Folegandros, Greece

Search MyTwinPlace for a house exchange for your next holiday where your dog is welcome… and get travelling!

PhotosDamianMarkSilviagcZatapundiJodyFredrikJonnyStuart CrawfordDonny

If your pet is a real member of the family, why give up their company over the holidays? In the MyTwinPlace community there are many animal lovers who own pets. Many even exchange their homes with pets, or leave everything ready for the new animal guests. Take this opportunity to remember that having a pet needn’t be a deterrent to travel, especially if you exchange houses.

Here’s a selection of the best houses where you can stay with your four-legged friend, or where you’ll miss them whilst in the good company of another pet.

Salt Spring Island, Canada

Canada

Wonderful cottage on the banks of Lake Weston. You can venture out on the lake with canoes that the owners leave at your disposal… plus their beloved dog.

San Carlos, Costa Rica

Costa Rica

If you miss your pet, this mansion in the middle of the Costa Rican jungle offers you horses which you can take out and explore the beautiful surroundings.

Bucine, Italy

Italy

A very fun plan: play in this beautiful Tuscan garden with Stella, the German Shepherd belonging to this Italian couple… any takers?

Deadwood, USA

USA

A house with spectacular views and… an adorable dog.

Barcelona, Spain

Spain

You can take your feline pets with you to this apartment, the siamese kitten in the house will certainly be happy for friends to play with.

Galveston, USA

USA

From this house you can hear the sound of the waves… and the purring of cats!

Brooklyn,USA

USA

A design loft in the trendiest neighbourhood in Brooklyn, New York. The owners take care of your pet while you have fun with their little kitten.

Notre-Dame-de-Sanilhac, France

France

Relax in the French countryside in good company where the dog, Flavio, is looking forward to meeting you.

How does this selection seem? Check availability at MyTwinPlace and prepare your next trip… because now you have no reason not to!

The Kafer family, from Berlin, comprised of Katie, Sebastian and their two young children, are defined as ‘swapping addicts’. We talked to them to discover the secret of their passion for home exchanges.

1. Why do you define yourselves as a family that’s addicted to swapping?

Because we are! Katie and I have been exchanging our house in Prenzlauer Berg (Berlin) for over 6 years. How time flies! We started out of curiosity to see how it worked and we haven’t stopped since. Exchanging is our philosophy of life and travel, sharing what we have in order to see new places.

2. What are the benefits over a hotel?

Thousands, I wouldn’t know where to start! Saving money is clearly the most direct benefit, but for us the best thing for sure about exchanging is being able to have a lot of space and facilities available for our children. We are real home-bodies, we like touring new cities and walking around all day, but at night we like to stay at home, cooking or watching a movie together. This is what we value most about the exchange.

The Kafer family

3. Are your children aware that they are in another family’s home?

They are still too young to appreciate it, but what is clear is that they enjoy it to the fullest. You also have to consider that they are the first generation that hasn’t experienced the hotel fuss. They think of their holiday in this way; more space, quiet, new toys, nice people and relaxed parents… what luck, eh?.

4. The best and the worst places to travel to?

The truth is there isn’t really a best or worst destination; it depends on the moment and the willingness of each person. Now we have two small children it’s more difficult to go very far, but within a few years the Kafer family will be going around the world!

5. Any advice for families with children?

A tip for everyone, and especially for families with small children: house swap when you go on holiday! Having a family doesn’t mean giving up travelling, quite the opposite. By exchanging homes you can save money, have a whole house at your disposal and meet lots of wonderful people who are looking for the same as you. Enjoy the trip!

Have you ever swapped your house with MyTwinPlace? Are you passionate about exchanging? If you want to share your story, write to: stories@mytwinplace.com

Exchanging the car along with the home is much more common than it seems. Many members of our community are putting their vehicles at the disposal of the guests who they exchanging their homes with.

In “We also have” ads section at MyTwinPlace, you can see how many swappers indicate that in addition to their home, they are also sharing their car, bikes or even a baby’s cot.

Can I swap my car?

When you’re looking for a house to exchange, check whether you are able to use their car what model it is and in what condition it’s in. If you plan to leave yours available to your host, it is very important to ensure that the vehicle is in perfect condition and with a full tank of petrol. Another important thing is not to forget to confirm that your car insurance covers any damage that may happen if others use it.

If you decide to leave the car at home and don’t mind lending it to your prospective guests, we suggest that you take a picture and upload it to your ad at MyTwinPlace to make it even more complete and receive many more requests.

France has a large number of cities that bring French style and beauty together, but don’t forget that the country also boasts innumerable charming rural towns and villages that sometimes hide real treasures.

The “Les Plus Beaux Villages de France association is responsible for finding these small rural places, which, quite simply, must be visited at least once in a lifetime. Currently, there are 156 places from all over the country listed.

We’ve selected some little treasures from the list… see what you think!

Najac, Mid-Pyrenees

Najac

This beautiful medieval town has an XII century castle and very lush vegetation. Photo | Daniel Escudero

Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, Mid-Pyrenees

Saint-Cirq-Lapopie

Saint-Cirq-Lapopie retains its original medieval appearance, with its gates and sentry boxes, cobbled streets and steep rooftops. Photo | Michel Carlué

Ars-en-Ré, Île-de-Ré, Poitou-Charentes

Ars-en-Ré

The village of Ars-en-Ré has lots of coastal charm and hasn’t lost its character over the years. Photo | Lorie Léger

Yvoire, Haute-Savoie

Yvoire

A medieval village located on the French shore of Lake Geneva, a wonderful place just minutes from Switzerland by boat. Photo | Patrick Nouhailler

Riquewihr, Alsace

Riquewihr

A lovely rural village, with many historic XV-XVIII century buildings, and over 40 monuments. Photo | ccdoh1

Piana, Corsica

Piana

Piana is a landscape of an extraordinary nature, overlooking the Gulf of Porto and declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco. Photo | cercamon

Vezelay, Burgundy

Vézelay

The centre of Christianity since the Middle Ages, Vezelay is also a meeting point for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago. Photo | Gérard CORRET

La Roque-sur-Cèze, Languedoc-Rousillon

La Roque-sur-Cèze

This charming village perched on a hill in the heart of Provence du Gard. Photo | Michael

Gordes, Provence

Gordes

A gorgeous mountain village and the perfect starting point for many excursions and visits to the area. Photo | Salva Barbera

Montpeyroux, Auvergne

Montpeyroux

Beautiful stone houses and a medieval tower are some of the delights offered by this charming rural village. Photo | Copeau

If you want to see another side of France, something more traditional and rural, check MyTwinPlace for where to stay and don’t hang about: these wonderful villages are waiting for you!

If you are about to travel to French territory, read these tips carefully, they could come in handy while getting used to the culture of this amazing country, and help you avoid any ‘surprises’ during your stay!

1. Your meal is always accompanied with bread

Baguette

The culture of bread is very popular in France and the most consumed variety is definitely the baguette. Photo | Peter Dutton

2. Try the thousands of French cheeses

Cheese

You certainly will not have time to try all the cheeses that this country offers, but we recommend you at least try each cheese that crosses your path! Photo | Rog01

 3. Have a glass of champagne

Champagne

Now that you’re in France, don’t deprive yourself of an appetizer with this sparkling wine that originates from and is produced in the northern region of the country. Photo | Sergey Melkonov

4. Go to a musical

Musical

France has a very lively and active cultural life. Set aside one night to take in some theatre shows in the city while you’re on holiday. Photo | paula soler-moya

5. Learn how to present yourself

How to present yourself

When you meet someone for the first time, you will usually be given a handshake. Later, in a friendly context and when you know each other, usually 3 kisses on the cheeks are given. Photo | philippe leroyer

6. Try the incredible croissants and macaroons

Macaroons

You can’t come back from France without having had their delicious croissants for breakfast. If you are especially sweet toothed, try the macaroons, a type of traditional cookie that you are bound to love. Photo | Benjamin Golub

Follow these tips to enjoy France as a true Frenchman. Got any more suggestions? Check on MyTwinPlace for a place to stay. Bon voyaje!