“What are you doing for vacation?”


I feel a little put out when people ask me what I’m doing with my 3 month vacation. Um, what vacation are you talking about?

Does summer mean vacation for a university scientist? Heck yeah! Just not for 3 months.

It looks like vacation comes in second, only topped by the backlog of manuscripts, in voting so far.

Summer is when the most science gets done, but, come on, it’s glorious out and your schedule isn’t going to be more open than this. You’ve got to get away at some point.

I’m one of those vacationers, for a few weeks in July/August. I’m mentioning this because you might be interested in knowing how I arranged my vacation – it’s a home exchange.

If you live in a place that others might want to visit, then you should really think about signing onto a home exchange registry. The way this works, is that you arrange a swap so that others move into your house for a while, and you move into theirs. You can swap cars, too. (I haven’t seen this movie, but people have told me there’s one in which Kate Winslet falls in love with Jack Black, during some kind of home exchange.)

A couple years ago, we spent 2.5 weeks in Iceland, and this year, we’re spending almost three weeks in Paris. The only real cost of the vacation is getting there. No rental car, no housing expenses, a kitchen to cook in, a comfy house for an extended stay. The only challenge is that getting our abode ready for the exchange won’t be a minor tidy job. If you have questions about how home exchange works, put ’em in the comments and I can answer for everyone. I’m not a pro because I’ve only done it once so far, but it’s pretty straightforward.

Would I spend the kind of money needed for an apartment or hotel for an extended stay in a very nice place? Maybe, but it’d be painful. Nor would I want to impose on any friend for my family of three to camp out in their home for anything more than a short visit. The home exchange is the best way to go, a comfortable home away from home, with many conveniences, and you can’t beat the price. And someone to water your tomatoes while you’re gone.

When vacation time rolls around, it doesn’t help that I’m also hoping to submit a biggish grant with a deadline on the last day of this trip. But I’m committed to making this not a working vacation. In more than two months away. A lot has to happen before then.

So, off to the field! Things might be getting a little slow on the site, but I’ll check in periodically, at least a couple times per week if not more often.

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