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Home Exchange and Couch Surfing in Greece and the Greek islands: If you have seen the Hollywood movie The Holiday (2006, by Nancy Meyers), you will have already understood the concept of home exchange holidays. It is just about people who wish to swap houses with other people from around the world and travel in less costs than if they had to book a hotel room or a villa for their vacations.
People complete strangers to each other, except for the necessary communication just before the exchange, decide to swap their homes while on vacations. This is actually a unique way to travel and get to know the world, avoiding the costs of hotel accommodation and food, which can be much demanding, especially if you are traveling with your family or in a large group. To reduce costs more, some people actually exchange their cars, too.
Surely, the question that runs through your head right now would be: How safe is it to trust my house to someone else? Well, just think that the other party is probably having the same doubts. After all, it seems that this system works for many years now through special websites and million of people practice it every year. Exchangers get to know each other through photos and discussions and before the exchange they can sign a contract setting the details and obligations. This contract could well act as a legal document in case of a damage or maltreatment of the house.
Another kind of vacation, similar to home exchange holidays, is couch surfing. The mission of the couch surfing community is to get to know different fellows, travel around the world and contribute in culture contact. All these, plus free accommodation on someone else's couch or sofa bed. The host is responsible to offer you the couch for as many days as you agree and do nice things for you, like picking you up from the airport, cook you a meal, guide you in the town/ area or give directions. It would be like having a friend in a foreign town to host, guide and help you in anything you may need.
Over the last years, these two types of holidays seem to become popular in Greece and the Greek islands, too. Many Greeks have registered as couch surfers in various websites and houses in different Greek destinations have been uploaded on the Internet to swap with other houses in Greece or abroad. Frequently, these houses are second homes in the Greek islands or the countryside, offering tourists a nice option to get to know Greece in the lowest costs.
For more info, check the following international websites about home exchange and couch surfing: