Life is full of the unexpected. So is travel, which is why we love it. 

But sometimes things can go wrong. Be prepared for the uninvited “what-ifs” with a Tour Protection Plan.

5 Reasons You Need a Trip Protection Plan

1. You’ve invested a significant expense in your trip. If you have to cancel, you’ll lose that money.

Cancelling a trip is disappointing enough. You don’t want to lose your entire trip investment on top of it. The Trip Cancellation benefit covers you in case you or a family member becomes ill or seriously injured before your trip, or if there’s a death in the family. You can also be covered in the event of natural disaster or bad weather impacting your home or destination, or if your travel supplier (such as an airline) goes bankrupt or on strike.

Need a more encompassing “Peace of Mind” full coverage option, and don’t want to be bound by the reasons outlined in the policy? Upgrade your plan with the Cancel For Any Reason option and you can literally cancel your trip for any reason at all!  This option requires being purchased within a 14-day window period from the date of your vacation deposit or booked ThirdHome Exchange Stay.

2. Once you’ve departed on your trip, plans can still go wrong.

Unfortunately, baggage loss or damage is not uncommon nowadays; neither are travel delays or trip interruptions. Travel insurance plans offer coverage for these scenarios.  Feel more at ease packing up to leave your loved ones and your home behind, knowing that if something happens, you have coverage and help to get you back home.

3. You need coverage in case you get sick or injured while away from home.

Did you know most health insurance plans provide little to no coverage outside the U.S.? Medicare provides none. And within the U.S., many plans provide limited coverage out of your region. If you get sick or injured on your trip, access to medical coverage is important. Many people mistakenly believe medical care outside the U.S. is free or very cheap. This is not the case, particularly for visitors to other countries. In fact, many travelers have been shocked at the cost of care abroad.

4.  The Tour Protection Plan gives you access to 24/7 assistance no matter where you are in the world.

Let’s say your passport was lost or stolen in at the airport. Or your prescription medications were left behind at home. Or you twisted your ankle on an excursion and need to find a doctor. Who do you call or where do you go for help? Your plan comes with access to 24/7 Travel Assistance services, available at any time, from anywhere in the world. If at any point you have any question during your trip or need assistance with ANYTHING, you can call the numbers provided and get assistance from someone in your native language. 

5. It’s a small price to pay to gain peace of mind.

We hope your trip goes completely smoothly. But think of the investment you made in your trip. Would you be comfortable losing it all you have paid in the event of a cancellation? And perhaps more importantly, think of the huge expense you could face if you become sick or injured while traveling and need medical care or an evacuation. Covering yourself for the risks will make your trip all the more enjoyable and relaxing.  And that’s the whole point, right?

Between quiet fishing villages, beautiful beaches, and famous stone architecture, there’s no shortage of excursions and activities for everyone to enjoy in Brač!

Croatia’s Island of Brač might not be all over social media or even where your favorite celebrity is jetting off on holiday, but that’s what makes it so special. A hidden gem spared from the large crowds and tour groups that dominate many other islands off the Dalmatian coast. However, this luxurious and serene destination won’t stay a secret for long, as it’s making its debut in the Paramount+ original series Millionaire Holiday Home Swap! In honor of the series, we’ve put together a guide to the Island of Brač for your next trip to Croatia!

Explore history in the heart of Brač

Supetar, the island’s largest town and official center, is the perfect springboard for any visit to Brač, as it’s steeped in history and charm. Take the time to ramble along the stone alleyways full of shops, restaurants, and cafes in the early morning to beat the heat. Then, spend an afternoon exploring the Supetar cemetery—which is far from an ordinary graveyard. Full of ancient architecture and tombstones created by one of Croatia’s greatest sculptors, one could spend hours wandering through this cemetery’s extravagant mausoleums.

See stone masonry in Selca

Selca is a quaint village located on the hills of Pliša on the island’s east side. We catch a glimpse of its beauty in Episode 6 of Millionaire Holiday Home Swap at the Maison Mala waterfront villa. The village is home to numerous historical sites and is known for its monuments dedicated to important historical figures. As a matter of fact, Selca boasts the most number of monuments per capita, so you can wander within the city in search of one of the many memorials. Be sure to notice the similarities between each building as they are all made from Brač white stone—the most famous stones evident throughout Croatia’s architecture. The incredible masonry gives the town a distinctive charm!

Visit the island’s award-winning beach

Did you know one of the top beaches in the world lies just off the southern coast of Brač? Zlatni Rat—also known as the Golden Cape or Golden Horn—ranks 12th on Big 7 Travel’s list of Top 50 Beaches in the World and is a must-see for anyone visiting the island. Located near the town of Bol, this pebble beach is constantly changing shape due to ever-changing wind and sea currents. In addition to its peculiar shape, Zlatni Rat is also surrounded by eye-catching waters that turn from bright turquoise to dark blue in just 10 to 20 meters. Lifeguards watch over its crystalline waters, making Zlatni Rat the ideal place to enjoy kitesurfing and other water sports.

Zlatni Rat Beach on the Island of Brač

Adventure among the Adriatic

If you have a particular taste for adventure and staying active, a hike up Vidova Gora is a once-in-a-lifetime chance. The highest point of the Adriatic, this peak will be your backdrop should you choose to lounge on Zlatni Rat. If you’re looking to venture even further out, excursions to nearby islands are a great way to squeeze the most out of your time in this pearl of the Adriatic. Take a ferry to Split, explore the ancient ruins, monasteries, and churches and sit down at a local restaurant for some of the freshest seafood you’ll ever taste at the end of a day of adventure.

Vidova Gora on the Island of Brač

Discover what it’s like to holiday in Croatia by watching Millionaire Holiday Home Swap, now streaming exclusively on Paramount+ in the UK and Ireland.

Paramount+ includes a mountain of quality entertainment for everyone to enjoy. UK-based readers can subscribe here: https://www.paramountplus.com/gb/

Paramount+ costs just £6.99/month or £69.90/year in the UK (€7.99 per month or €79.90 per year in Ireland) with a free 7-day trial available to everyone. 

Sky Cinema subscribers get the bonus of Paramount+ included at no extra cost.

We sit down with Giles Adams, Director of Strategy and Operations with ThirdHome, and learn how Millionaire Holiday Home Swap came to light.

Giles Adam outside Turin Castle in Millionaire Holiday Home Swap
Giles Adams, head of Strategy and Operations for ThirdHome, outside Turin Castle in Scotland

How did ThirdHome become the star of Millionaire Holiday Home Swap

In March 2019, we met Plum Pictures, who have been producing innovative programming for major networks in the UK and US since 2007. After a few meetings, they asked if we would be open to them creating a show they would pitch to UK TV channels, streaming services, and content creators.  

How did you decide on the format of Millionaire Holiday Home Swap?

Initially, we were thinking of taking our successful Best Job on the Planet contest and creating a TV series from it (think Amazing Race meets The Apprentice). At the same time, we were exploring a behind-the-scenes docuseries that gave viewers a peek behind the curtain to see some of the incredible homes we have in the Club and to meet the members simultaneously. This format felt more authentic and a truer reflection of who we are as a Club. In late 2019, Plum Pictures created a taster video that they would use to pitch to content creators.

How would you describe the show?

Millionaire Holiday Home Swap is a 6-part series where the viewer goes inside the homes and holidays of ThirdHome members, including behind-the-scenes shots as hosts prepare for guest arrivals, backstories of the homes themselves, and some of the distinguished homeowners. You’ll also get to meet ThirdHome’s Founder and CEO, Wade Shealy, and hear how ThirdHome started and has evolved over the years. In conjunction with showcasing some of the members’ incredible stays, you will also get a peek into the daily workings of ThirdHome, especially the European team in Spain. The series is beautifully shot and produced. It’s a great representation of the Club, the homes, and the experiences that members offer each other.

THIRDHOME employees outside office in Marbella, Spain
The ThirdHome team outside their office in Marbella, Spain

How did the deal with Paramount+ UK come about?

While several channels and streaming services were interested in making the show, ThirdHome and Plum Pictures felt that Paramount+ was the best home for it. They were keen on the angle, style, and format that ThirdHome and Plum Pictures had suggested.

Paramount+ was introduced to the UK market this summer, and it is a great honour for ThirdHome that Millionaire Holiday Home Swap is a part of the inaugural fall original UK content lineup.

How did you decide which homes and members to feature in Millionaire Holiday Home Swap?

We wanted to showcase a mix of properties that reflected the diverse range of homes in the Club. Not only did we want to highlight the international flavour of ThirdHome by featuring far-flung locations, but also show the different types of experiences that we offer, such as skiing, safari, beach holidays, and cultural stays.

We were also looking to balance a blend of property showcases, member trips, and behind-the-scenes goings-on with our team that put all these stays together. Within the trips, we also wanted to show how members use the Club, from a couple traveling together to large multi-generational family reunions.

We know we have some great and varied members in the Club, and as such, we wanted to try and include as many of them as possible if they wanted to participate.

Trail's End luxury villa in Whistler, Canada
From left to right: ThirdHome member Diana M. and partner in Italy, Can Oso villa in Spain, Louise Cottar owner of Cottars Mara Private Homestead in Kenya, Trail’s End villa in Canada

How did the pandemic affect the show?

The world shut down just as Plum Pictures was beginning to pitch the concept. Therefore, as most productions were put on hold in 2020, the conversations about putting the show together started back up again in 2021.

When did shooting start?

It has been a fast and furious six-month roller coaster. In early 2022 we signed the agreement with Plum Pictures. Filming began in February and ran through to the end of July. The window was very tight for a series of this length with so many locations, members, countries, and variables.

Internally, we agreed on a list of members and properties to approach, and much of Q1 was spent contacting these members and asking them whether they would be interested in participating. Thankfully, many members we wanted in the show were interested.

Editing started in March, and the show will launch on Paramount+ in the UK and Ireland for the first time on September 25th. It’s being delivered as a six-part box set allowing viewers to watch the whole series whenever they want, which is great news.

What challenges did you face with such a short production timeline?

The February to June shooting time frame was quite challenging, given that many of our European properties do not necessarily look their best during the winter months. As a result, we decided to shift most of the European shoots to the end of that window during spring and early summer and focus the early part of the schedule on winter, sun, and skiing destinations.

Stream Millionaire Holiday Home Swap on Paramount+ UK & Ireland starting September 25th.

Paramount+ includes a mountain of quality entertainment for everyone to enjoy. UK-based readers can subscribe here: https://www.paramountplus.com/gb/.

Paramount+ costs just £6.99/month or £69.90/year in the UK (€7.99 per month or €79.90 per year in Ireland) with a free 7-day trial available to everyone.

Sky Cinema subscribers get the bonus of Paramount+ included at no extra cost.

Interested in learning how you can swap your Millionaire Holiday Home? Click here to learn more.

Who is ThirdHome?

Have you ever thought about swapping your millionaire holiday home? ThirdHome is a home exchange club exclusively for owners of million-dollar second homes. By offering a few weeks of unused time in their second home, members, in turn, enjoy access to over 14,000 homes, plus yachts and luxury resorts, worldwide. The basic qualifications are as follows:

How Does a Millionaire Holiday Home Swap Work?

In his own words, Wade Shealy, founder, and CEO, shares more about how ThirdHome facilitates millionaire holiday home swaps.

What makes ThirdHome unique is that to swap a stay in other millionaires’ homes in the Club, you have to own a high-end second home. By offering available weeks in their holiday home, members receive travel credits to stay in other members’ homes rent-free. In addition, prospective members are vetted to ensure that their home meets ThirdHome’s luxury standards: Well-appointed with quality furnishings and amenities, desirable location, and a minimum home value of $1 million. Once approved, you have access to our portfolio of homes. 

There is also a robust protection plan with an award-winning risk-management partner, with up to $5M in coverage in the rare event something happens. 

Where Can You Travel?

ThirdHome’s portfolio of exchange homes is unique and expansive. With over 1,700 destinations to visit, you never have to stay in the same place twice. Members not only have access to private homes, villas, and estates but also private islands and yachts. Forbes recently shared an article on the top 50 places to travel in the world, and membership in this luxury travel club could get you to just about all of them. Maybe you’re looking for an Italian villa that sleeps 16 for your family reunion, or perhaps something more intimate like a staffed luxury sailing catamaran in Guadeloupe for you and your partner.

Get started on your home exchange adventure with ThirdHome here.

In celebration of turning 70, Larry is hitting all seven continents with the help of ThirdHome.

As Larry travels the globe with ThirdHome, he’ll be blogging about his experiences as he navigates the post-pandemic world. His planning began in 2019 with ThirdHome Director of Adventures, Liz Bates, who has assisted him in pivoting to satisfy his travel cravings when COVID-19 restrictions have not allowed him to visit a destination. Keep reading to learn more about Larry’s most recent travel experiences.

Next Stop: Amsterdam

What’s not to like about a country that birthed Vincent Van Gogh, Heineken beer, those cute wooden shoes and coffee shops that sell marijuana alongside their java?  And how about all those bikes in Amsterdam?  800,000 Amsterdammers (yes, that’s a real word) own 880,000 bikes and dominate the city streets.  Autos beware, this is a city bent on travel on 2 wheels, not four.  The Dutch go to work on bikes, take their kids to school on bikes, go on dates on bikes and stay incredibly fit on bikes.  This is an indicator of a very egalitarian society where young and old, men and women and rich and poor travel side by side across the city.  Noom and Weight Watchers are advised to stay clear of the Dutch market.  These folks don’t need you.

My three days exploring this glorious city led to more steps per day than the prior 3 weeks of my Virginia life.  Amsterdam continually ranks as one of the most walkable cities on the planet and the Amsterdam-Centrum or city center can be reached from all sides of the city on foot.   Tired of walking?   Rent a bike, or better yet, take a city tour by boat and explore the Amsterdam canals and bridges while learning about Amsterdam’s history.  

You want great museums and attractions? 

As a final note, while in Amsterdam, I learned to love fresh herring, a local favorite fish served with pickles and onions.  My father would have been proud as he was a herring lover his entire life. 

Next Stop: Bruges

Second stop, Bruges, Belgium for a stay in one of the coolest Third Homes on the website.  This amazing apartment in the heart of Bruges features a 16th century tower that provide a 360-degree vantage point of the city.  On a clear day one can see the towering windmills on the coast as well as dozens of church spires scattered throughout Bruges. 

Bruges is a city to fall in love with.  It is a medieval Unesco site and a living museum that leads one to believe they are walking through a modern-day fairy tale.  At the heart of the city are the Markt and Burg squares and a 13th century belfry with 366 winding and narrow steps made from stone, wood and marble that one can climb (and I did) to view the whole city and surrounding countryside.  Each Wednesday the square features a “don’t miss it” market with fresh fruits, vegetables and delicacies from across the region.  Warm weather features al fresco dining in dozens of outdoor cafes. 

What makes Bruges such a spectacular and memorable site?  How about this:

  1. There are more than 80 bridges in Bruges and canal tours operate all day to cruise the city.  At night the bridges and surrounding historic buildings are lit up and produce some of the most memorable reflection photo opportunities anywhere. 
  2. You have to love a city that features one museum dedicated to the French Fry and another museum dedicated to the history of chocolate and cocoa.  Only in Bruges can one witness singing and dancing taters.
  3. Speaking of chocolate, over 50 chocolatiers (chocolate shops) dot the streets of Bruges.  Each shop offers different versions of quality cocoa ranging from melt in your mouth white and dark chocolate truffles to caramel and marzipan infused cocoa treats.  For true chocoholics tours operate daily to visit several of the top stores.
  4. Once a week locals gather beneath the belfry for a concert of church bells from above.  Since I have a high level of ignorance identifying classical music hits, and I was clearly in over my head, I asked my fellow concert mate what was playing and was told it was a Bach fugue.
  5. The waffles in Bruges, especially at Chez Albert’s, are absolutely the most scrumptious delicacy in the whole city.  How about choosing between chocolate, fresh strawberries, whipped cream or caramel toppings.  Diet be gone!  These are simply too difficult to pass by. 
  6. A bicycle tour into the countryside is a must do.  Windmills and pastoral scenes along the river as well as the rare Belgian Blue cows await tourists who are so inclined to explore the nearby town of Damme.
  7. Belgian beer dates back to the Middle Ages and the Belgian Brewers guild was recognized in 1385.  The Belgian breweries bring over 2,000 original beers to market.  My favorite?  Brugse Zot Blonde.

MEET LARRY

World Traveler, Philanthropist, Friend, & ThirdHome Member

When it comes to the average cost of a vacation, you can expect to spend about 26% of your total travel expenses on lodging costs. If you want to have more money to spend on your vacation and other activities while traveling, you may want to consider doing a home swap to cover your accommodations. 

If you decide that home swapping is the best choice for your next vacation, it is important that you learn how to do it the right way. Do you want to learn more about the do’s and don’ts of doing a house swap? 

Keep reading this guide for everything you need to know about a home swap vacation and how you can make the most of it. 

Do: Find a Reliable Platform

One of the most important things you should do before doing a house swap is find a reliable platform and company to work with. There are many house swap companies you can work with, each with different homes available. 

However, some companies may be more reputable and reliable than others. If you are going to be in a stranger’s home or if they will be in yours, you want to be sure that the users and the properties have been vetted. 

ThirdHome prioritizes safe home exchanges and provides access to over 14,000 homes. We are the largest and most trusted network of luxury home exchanges, so you can feel confident that you and your home will be safe during your travels! 

Do: Discuss Details With a Potential Host

It is also important that you discuss the details of your stay with your potential host before you go on your vacation. You can expect to talk with the host in detail to learn more about each other’s properties, your expectations for each other, and more. 

You may also want to share your travel itinerary. For example, if you are arriving late at night or early in the morning, you will want to know exactly how to get into the house so you can get settled as quickly as possible. 

Do: Clean Up

The last thing you need to do when you are home swapping is clean up. If you are staying in someone else’s home, the last thing you want is to get there and find a filthy living space. Because of this, you should always leave your home in pristine condition for your arriving guest. 

There are many things you can do to prepare your home for guests. Make sure you deep clean your entire home and include new bedding and towels so that your guests will feel comfortable and at home. 

When you leave your host’s home, you should also leave it in good condition. Make sure you don’t damage any of their belongings and you leave it as good as when you found it. 

Don’t: Be Dishonest or Unrealistic

When you are house swapping, the worst thing you can do is be dishonest or set unrealistic expectations of your property. 

While you may be tempted to do whatever you can to attract interest in your property, you should not give false information about your space.

For example, people that live in a high-end area of a popular tourist destination will probably not have any trouble renting their house. However, if you live in a scary area of town in a low-quality studio apartment, you won’t get as many rentals. 

While you can highlight the benefits of your property, you need to be honest when describing your property. This includes the quirks and drawbacks of your property as well. 

Don’t: Forget the Quirks

When you live in your home for a long time, you will find that there are some quirks that you need to get used to. For example, it may be difficult to turn on the shower or to adjust the temperature settings in your home. 

Or, there may be neighborhood rules that your guests will need to follow while they are staying on your property. 

To make sure your guests have a good experience in your home, you should not forget to include information about these quirks before you leave. You may want to create a document with any details that your guests may need while they are staying in your house. 

This could include your WiFi password, your door code, and more. This way, they will not have to reach out to you personally with their questions while you are traveling. 

Don’t: Forget to Check Your Insurance

Finally, it is essential that you don’t forget to check your insurance. This is especially important if you and your hosts are swapping other things, like vehicles, while you are traveling. 

In these cases, you will need to add their information to your insurance policy. Otherwise, damage to your property may not be covered if it happens while you are away. 

Having your insurance sorted out will give you peace of mind that your home and your belongings will be protected when someone else is staying in your home. 

Interested in a Home Swap? Get Help Planning a House Swap Vacation Today

When you live in a popular destination, doing a home swap is an easy way you can travel to new destinations without spending a fortune. By learning more about the do’s and don’ts of house swapping, you can be prepared for your upcoming trip and avoid unpleasant surprises. 

If you want to plan a home swap vacation, ThirdHome can help! We make it possible to enjoy luxury accommodations in 100 countries with our home exchange platform. 

Visit our website to sign up for our home exchange program!

ThirdHome’s private exchange club offers luxury second homeowners unique benefits and exclusive experiences that other short-term rental sites can’t provide.

Rather than renting a home through traditional vacation sites like Airbnb or Vrbo, home swapping allows owners to spend time at other luxurious homes for a fraction of the cost. When you book stays through our Club, you pay a nominal fee between $495 and $1,395 for the week, saving an average of 90-95% compared to rental rates. What’s more, is the peace of mind knowing that only vetted, qualified second homeowners can exchange with your property.

Perhaps the most exciting perk is that our members have access to incredible properties worldwide that are exclusive to ThirdHome. Here are five luxury vacation properties only available to Club members.

1. Blowing Rock Mountain Dream Home | Blowing Rock, North Carolina

Nestled in western North Carolina, this dreamy mountain abode is dressed to impress, with large windows and balconies overlooking Blue Ridge Parkway – AKA “America’s Favorite Drive.” The 8,250-square-foot home sports eight bedrooms and eight bathrooms, offering plenty of comfort and space for up to 16 guests. ThirdHome members who book Blowing Rock Mountain Dream Home will marvel at its luxurious amenities, which include a baby grand piano, elevator, game room with a 150″ projection screen, table tennis, pool table, and karaoke. You will be only minutes from Appalachian Ski Mountain, downtown, and the Blowing Rock Country Club.

2. La Quinta Escape | La Quinta, California

Located within minutes of 25 world-class golf courses, mountain biking, hiking, shopping, and high-end dining, your time at this luxurious Southern California destination will be well spent. The four-bedroom, five-bathroom home resides in a gated community, only five minutes from Old Town La Quinta. Those who escape to this marvelous exchange home will be in awe of its resort-style patio with panoramic views of the Santa Ana Mountains. And with a crystal blue heated pool, spa, and lounge seating, you can enjoy time soaking up the endless sunshine.

3. Miranda Penthouse by the Sea | Playa del Carmen, Mexico

With expansive, open ocean views, this stunning penthouse is located on Calle 38 Norte. This is the most popular, tree-lined street location in Playa del Carmen, situated only 150 feet from one of the most beautiful Caribbean beaches in the world. Miranda Penthouse by the Sea offers three bedrooms, four bathrooms, and access to the building’s outstanding guest amenities. Here, you will find a resort-style rooftop pool area, complete with more panoramic ocean views, loungers, two large jacuzzi hot tubs, a built-in bar, an outdoor shower, and an outdoor dining and lounging area with a TV for additional entertainment. Plus, members who book this lavish property can also take advantage of a state-of-the-art gym.

4. Maui Oceanview Estate with a Pool | Wailea, Hawaii

If we had to sum up this spectacular Hawaiian estate in one word, it would be “WOW!” As you approach this private, fully-gated property, you’ll immediately see the magnificent glistening sapphire blue ocean, which offers breathtaking sunsets year-round. The home is approximately 5,000 square feet and includes four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a separate cottage, and unobstructed, 180-degree ocean views of Lanai, Molokai, and West Maui. Outdoor living is plentiful and peaceful, with large covered ocean-view decks surrounding the saltwater pool and spa (heated year-round at no additional charge). Best of all, ThirdHome members can bring their four-legged friends, as there is plenty of gated outside space for them to discover.

5. Modern Mountain Masterpiece | Glenwood Springs, Colorado

This beautifully curated, four-bedroom, three-bathroom home has been exceptionally engineered, with attention to detail everywhere you look. Situated on six elevated acres, the house is positioned to take advantage of the spectacular mountain views! Members who book this Colorado getaway will enjoy several lavish features, such as a covered outdoor living room, media room, fitness room, large laundry room, and sauna. Whether you are looking for an adventurous outdoor/ski vacation or a quiet getaway, this exclusive ThirdHome property has it all!

Click here to view all available weeks and plan your next ThirdHome Exchange trip. Remember, you must be logged in to your account to see availability.

Want more information about our Exchange Club? Click here to learn more about ThirdHome.

ThirdHome Rentals is pleased to announce our new partnership with Capitalia Living. 


Capitalia Living is a professional property management company that seeks to maximize the experience of all guests! Their goal is for you to experience comfort, convenience, and safety.

Their team will meet you upon arrival to explain everything you need to know about your stay, your neighborhood, and the property, so you can enjoy it all from a local perspective. With the help of Capitalia Living’s personal guide, they will help you get to know the city.

Quick to answer any and all questions, the team at Capitalia Living is there to help. Their mission is to make sure you have a fabulous time and become the best lodging option in Mexico.

We are Capitalia Living, we will be happy to welcome you to any of our properties.

Looking to reserve a luxury rental home now? Browse available ThirdHome Rentals here.

As temperatures rise, so does wanderlust. Join us as we explore the top European destinations that travelers are heading to this summer.

Many find summertime synonymous with vacation, perhaps in part because of the idyllic weather or more time off from work. Now, with a reopening world, and the official start of summer approaching June 21, more people are itching to travel than ever before. In a recent article penned for Fortune, the President of American Express Travel reveals an exciting increase in foreign travel this summer, particularly to some of Europe’s greatest cities.

Let’s take a closer peek into the top four international destinations worthy of making your summer vacation roster.

London, England

Thinking of venturing across the pond? Now’s a great time to do so! Fortunately, London has a mild climate year-round, which translates to comfortable summertime temperatures resting in the mid-70s (°F). What’s more, you’ll enjoy longer daylight hours, making it easier to check off all the can’t-miss attractions on your itinerary. This may include Buckingham Palace, which is only open to the public from July to September. Better yet, if your next exciting home swap lands you in London between late June and early July, you might just find yourself in the stands at Wimbledon!

Paris, France

“Summer loving had me a blast…” — The lyrics don’t lie; it just so happens the best time to visit the most romantic city in the world is from June to August. Long days of sunshine averaging in the high 70s (°F) will grace you as you wander the streets in search of authentic Parisian cuisine and exciting activities. You can enjoy the summer’s many open-air events, such as the Paris Street Music Festival (Fete de la Musique) in June or the three-day Rock En Seine Festival in August.

Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece’s capital city, is a wonderful year-round destination. While the summer heats up quickly, reaching the low 90s (°F), there are plenty of ways to stay cool during your travels. An easy trick? Include museums and cultural centers with air conditioning in your itinerary. You can see some of Athen’s best attractions like the Benaki Museum, the Museum of Cycladic Art, and the National Archaeological Museum without breaking a sweat. Another tip is to embrace nightlife. Many bars, clubs, and cafés in Athens boast open-air features, including courtyards and rooftops, so as the temperatures fall with the setting sun, have yourselves a fantastic night out!

Rome, Italy

There’s no denying that summertime is peak season in Rome. The warm, mid-upper 80s (°F) weather and exciting annual events, like Vinòforum and Lungo il Tevere, draw visitors from across the globe. As such, hotels can become costly, which is another great reason to try a house exchange for your summer vacation. Don’t just take our word for it; see what our members are saying:

“Absolute Perfection.”

This is by far the best property we have had the pleasure of booking. Everything about this apartment is perfect – the location, the spaciousness, the amenities, the thoughtfulness of the owners – welcome wine, charcuterie, breads, waters. We have been to Rome many times but this was one of the best visits we’ve ever made to the Eternal City. We ate at many of our favorites and David’s suggestions are spot on – Armando’s, Nino, Emma, Ditrirambo, La Pergola, Taverna Angelica, and Life. We took the Scavi tour, visited many of the smaller churches we hadn’t had an opportunity to see, walked this beautiful city, and attended the Opera, We even experienced a Roman snowfall which is a true rarity. We look forward to returning to this beautiful apartment in the not too distant future.”

– Emma L., Member since 2020

“Great location and beautiful apartment!

We stayed during the month of July 2021. From the time we reserved this beautiful apartment, the host was very helpful providing useful information, sharing the websites, and made sure that our stay would be comfortable. The manager was very helpful upon arrival and during the stay, made sure that all was in place to make sure we enjoyed the stay. We felt very well taken care of and made us feel very special. Location of the apartment was closed to every places where we wanted to visit. We usually stay at St. Regis for our short stay in Rome, but this apartment location made our stay in Rome for a week especially very enjoyable. Apartment was very specious, clean and comfortable with updated modern interior. Nothing like staying at the hotel. We would love to return to this property again. Thank you for letting us book and stay at your beautiful property.”

– Mark U., Member since 2019

Ready to plan your ultimate summer vacation? Click here to learn more about traveling to Europe this summer with ThirdHome.

In celebration of turning 70, Larry is hitting all seven continents with the help of THIRDHOME.

As Larry travels the globe with THIRDHOME, he’ll be blogging about his experiences as he navigates the post-pandemic world. His planning began in 2019 with THIRDHOME Director of Adventures, Liz Bates, who has assisted him in pivoting to satisfy his travel cravings when COVID-19 restrictions have not allowed him to visit a destination. Keep reading to learn more about Larry’s most recent travel experiences.

Next Stop: Peru

Look, I’m all about a relaxing vacation.  Poolside margaritas, reading a good book at the beach, and maybe a yoga class or two. But this trip wasn’t THAT vacation. This was going to be an adventure. I was headed back to possibly my favorite country on the planet, Peru, for three weeks and I needed guidance and ideas. So, I did what I always do when I’m visiting a faraway place and I called my secret travel weapon, Liz Bates at THIRDHOME Adventures.

After all, post-COVID travel has gotten more complicated and more expensive, so there is little room for error.  Back in the day (I’m old), there was no such thing as Expedia, Kayak and the like. There were travel agents in the mall who gave out brochures and travel advice and offered a variety of trip options. Real, live human beings who planned travel adventures for a living, and had a passion to help folks like me who wanted to explore the world. Enter Liz, a throwback to the Travel Agent Era!

I had already reserved a really cool THIRDHOME property in the Sacred Valley of Peru. My daughter, Morgan, made it clear that if I was going to Machu Picchu, she was going with me. So I called Liz and pleaded:

“I need a ‘kick-ass’ Peruvian itinerary that explores the Sacred Valley, Cusco, and the Peruvian Amazon that will be interesting for me and my 31 year-old somewhat quirky daughter who lives on Instagram.

I knew Liz was up to the task, since she was the coordinator for Morgan and my “Colors of Morocco” tour this past October. We not only survived the tour together, but had a blast, met some great people, and decided we were pretty good travel companions. In this case, Morgan could get her Machu Picchu groove on, and I could continue my adventure into Cusco, and later, visit Iquitos and the Amazon jungle.

It was at this time I was introduced to Marco Bustamante and his travel company ,Peruvian Odyssey.  After 28 years of helping Gringos and other foreigners explore his country, Marco put together the perfect itinerary that would keep both of us happy. Marco is one of those people you could sit and talk to for hours. He’s visited all corners of the globe and has a story for each corner.  His plan allowed Morgan to knock Machu Picchu, one of the 7 Wonders of the World, off her bucket list and enjoy her celebrity as the Queen of Instagram. I could do my thing and take photos, explore glorious foreign markets, and practice my bad Spanish with the lovely Peruvian people. We would climb hundreds of Inca stairs while exploring ancient Incan structures and visiting villages inhabited by direct descendants of the Incas.

From Cusco and the Sacred Valley, I flew to Iquitos, Peru. After a four-hour journey by van and wooden boat, I arrived at Treehouse Lodge (suggested by Liz) to spend three nights in the Amazonian jungle doing my best Mowgli (see The Jungle Book) impression.  Sleeping 60 feet above the ground while listening to birds chirping, monkeys howling, and insects buzzing is a different kind of experience for a guy who grew up in Chicago.

Over the next three days, my guide, Leyner, demonstrated why he was the guide… and I was not.  Where I saw a never-ending canopy of uninhabited trees, he saw trees full of monkeys, sloths, macaws, toucans, and owls.  On the river, we witnessed pink dolphins jumping during the day and cayman alligators cruising at night. In one of the Amazon riverfront towns, we met the town’s mascot: a 12-foot anaconda snake. 

Trip Highlights?  Here’s a few:

  1. Riding the Vistadome train from Urubamba to Machu Pichu.  The Andes never disappoint in terms of majesty and beauty.
  2. Eating one of the 4000 plus varieties of Peruvian potatoes that are baked underground in a dirt cooking pit or huatia in the Andes mountains.
  3. Hanging out in the Cusco Plaza del Armas in the afternoon and evening. Music everywhere, aromas from the many restaurants enticing visitors, and a walk through the Cusco market for smoothies, souvenirs, or street food.   
  4. There’s not a sight on earth that compares with looking down on the Incan village of Machu Pichu from up high.
  5. Going back in time several centuries to visit the high in the Andes village of Willoq, a community where time stands still and artistic, musical, cooking, and dress traditions of ancient Peruvians flourish today. 
  6. Seeing the creepy crawlers of the Amazon up close, including tarantulas, bullet ants, the jumping stick, and the Leaf-Cutter ant.
  7. Visiting classrooms in remote villages to see youthful villagers fully engaged with outstanding teachers learning a new language and working on school projects.

Maybe in time I’ll be a sit-around-the-pool-guy and revel in relaxation. But for now, bring on the adventure! 

PHOTO GALLERY

MEET LARRY

World Traveler, Philanthropist, Friend, & THIRDHOME Member

Luxury destinations? Tourism is slowly returning to its pre-pandemic levels. Yet many who are beginning to travel once again desire more from their trips. Did you know the luxury travel market is set for unprecedented growth?

When you are searching for high-end destinations, it can be hard to pick somewhere unique. Below, we give our five essential luxury destinations. 

1. The British Virgin Islands

The British Virgin Islands have a reputation as a tropical getaway for the wealthiest of UK residents. It consists of four main islands: Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke, and Anegada. However, for true remote splendor you will want to head to one of the other 50 smaller islands, often accessible only by boat. 

Once you arrive at your choice of luxury vacation homes, you will have little to do but relax. Talk walks on the bright white sandy beaches, or let the waves lap at your feet as you sip cocktails. 

When you want a few luxury trips the best way to do it is by hiring a private yacht. Several boat charters will do everything from showing the sights to taking you on deep-sea fishing trips. 

On your trip, the beautiful bays and coasts are in abundance. Smugglers Cove, Norman Island Caves and Devil’s Bay are all well worthy of your time. A trip to the capital Road Town can show you some traditional life in the islands and a visit to Callwood Distillery will let you experience one of the oldest rum distilleries in the Caribbean. 

2. Antarctica

In a world of extravagant destinations, Antarctica will take some beating. It may not have a huge choice of luxury vacation homes or a wealth of gourmet restaurants, but it does have remote beauty unlike anywhere else. 

Most accommodation takes the form of camps. However, some are much more luxurious than you would imagine. They have beds, heating, and all the amenities you would need for a comfortable stay. 

There are also several activities for the adventurous to take part in. Cross country skiing, skidooing, ice climbing, and mountaineering are all available. You can also trek to the South Pole or go to the thriving Penguin colony at Atka Bay. 

Of course, the real attraction is the Antarctic itself. Few people will have been here for a trip before and you can be one of the few to experience its otherworldly majesty. 

3. Seychelles

Seychelles lies off the eastern coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. It is comprised of 115 islands, similar to the archipelago makeup of its neighbors the Maldives and Madagascar. For a tropical island getaway, it does not come more remote or exclusive. 

The capital Victoria is a small but quaint town, with its Hindu temples and colonial architecture. Visit the Botanical Gardens or walk the Copolia Trail to see the greenery of this stunning land. 

When you want to venture out, a private charter is the best way to go. You can find plenty of luxury vacation homes dotted around the islands (Anse) and you are sure to find one to suit your needs. If you decide to take a dip out at sea, beware of the strong currents and waves closer to the shore. 

The best time to visit is between April and May or October and November. These are calmer periods when winds subside. However, if you can put up with a light breeze, then you can visit any time of year. 

4. The Aeolian Islands

The Aeolian islands can be found off the northeastern coast of Sicily. They are made up of seven islands: Vulcano, Salina, Stromboli, Filicudi, Lipari, Panarea, and Alicudi. It is impossible to see everything they have to offer on a short trip, so make sure you go at a leisurely pace and take in everything they can offer. 

Lipari is the largest of the islands. It is a beautiful port town, with a rich geological heritage. A small fort looks over the sea and you can eat at some of the most delicious seafood restaurants in Europe. 

Be sure to visit Vulcano, with its dramatic martian landscape and sulfurous craters. Take an exfoliating mud bath then head out to sample freshly baked pizza in the bustling town. 

5. Costa Rica

Costa Rica lies in Central America, sandwiched between Nicaragua and Panama. It is a jungle paradise that collapses into beautiful blue oceans. If you want a trip where you can spot the most exciting wildlife in the Americas, this is the place to be. 

San Jose is the capital city, resplendent in Spanish architecture brought by the first settlers. Its indigenous past is also alive and well. The pre-Columbian gold museum is worth a visit for anyone who wants to see some true vintage jewelry. 

Once out of the city, Costa Rica has numerous national parks for you to explore. Playa Manuel Antonio, Curi Cancha Reserve, and Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo have huge swathes of forest and marine land that are marked for protection. 

If none of that tempts you, then you can just book a vacation and enjoy the weather. On the Pacific Coast, December to April bring the best weather, with March to September working best on the Caribbean side. 

Finding Accommodation at Luxury Destinations

Now you have our pick of luxury destinations, book the flights and find some great accommodation. There are not just hotels, but a whole wealth of homes and unique places to stay. 

If you have a luxury home you rent out, have you considered a swap? At Third Home, we provide the key to a world of travel with our network of home exchangers. Click here to find out more about how our unique system works. 

Are you considering a house swap vacation? There are many great benefits of choosing a house swap for your travel plans! A house swap offers a budget-friendly way to travel, the opportunity to live like a local while there, a great way to utilize your second home, and more. 

Is this your first time planning a house exchange? If you’ve never conducted a home exchange in the past as part of your travel plans, then it’s not surprising if you have a few questions. A house swap/exchange is a bit different from booking a hotel room or even booking a stay at someone else’s house. 

A house swap is a unique travel experience. For this reason, it’s beneficial to do your research and know how to plan the perfect house swap before getting started. In this guide below, you’ll find everything you need to know about doing just that. 

Continue reading to start planning!

What Is a House Swap?

A house swap is a simple way to save money when traveling. While you’re staying in someone else’s house at your travel destination, that person is staying in your house. As the name suggests, you swap houses for the duration of your vacation. 

You can also have someone stay in the second home of yours while you stay in theirs, and there’s even an option to stay with the hosts still in the house as well. How can you find someone who lives at the destination you’re going to and who also wants to come to your house at the same time? A home exchange platform is the best way to find these people. 

After choosing a reputable house exchange platform, you’ll then need to consider a few factors. 

Key Factors to Know 

A house swap is very different from other methods of vacationing. If you’ve never conducted a house swap before, then it’s ideal to do some research before finalizing your travel plans. Here are a few things to know about the process. 

The Cost of a House Swap

The first thing to note about the cost of a house swap is that it’s much more affordable than choosing a more traditional accommodation. Here’s how the pricing works. You’ll need to create an account with the house swap platform to become a member. 

Once you’re a member, you’ll enjoy perks given to members only. These perks might include travel concierge services, discounts on travel-related services and products, access to small-group adventures, and an awesome referral bonus when you find friends to join. 

You’ll start by paying a one-time initiation fee, and then you’ll pay a weekly fee depending on the house swap you choose. Weekly fees range from $495 to $1,395. 

Communicating the Swap

Before you finalize your swap, you’ll have the opportunity to speak with a dedicated associate who can help you throughout the process. Proper communication with your house swap partner is essential to ensure both parties receive everything they’re looking for in the house swap. 

Some platforms might even offer translation services when needed t communicate with the other party. You’ll have time to get to know the other party first to determine if the swap is the right choice for you and them, which makes the experience unique. 

Traditional vs. Non-Traditional Swaps

A traditional swap is when both parties are traveling at the same time. For example, if you live in Florida and want to travel to Paris for a week, then the owner of the house in Paris will need to travel to Florida to stay in your house at the same exact time. However, this isn’t the only way to swap. 

If two parties can’t agree on the same travel dates, then there’s no need to worry. You can plan a non-traditional swap where you visit their house at a later time. Because ThirdHome uses second homes for their platform, you can easily allow someone to stay in your second home at a different time than when you stay in theirs. 

Your Swap Expectations

Before you list your second home on a house swap platform, you need to consider your expectations. What will you allow and not allow in your house? You also want to include an accurate description of the house along with photos that represent the house correctly. 

You can also ask a few questions to get an idea of what’s required of your guests as well. Both parties should have a clear understanding of the rules and expectations when staying on the other’s property. Hiring a professional cleaner before and after the swap is also beneficial and expected by many swappers. 

The Preparation Process

How can you start planning the swap process? The first step is to ensure your house qualifies for a swap. At ThirdHome, your house must meet the community’s standards. 

The location must be well-appointed and ideal. Once your house is approved, you’ll have access to the platform’s inventory of houses available for a swap. An associate from the platform will help you throughout the process to ensure your club experience is personalized and enjoyable. 

Then, you’ll choose a location and house to stay in for your vacation. 

Planning Your House Swap Vacation

Are you ready to plan your first house swap vacation? ThirdHome provides a luxury experience each time you travel. When using ThirdHome, you’ll have the option to choose from a home exchange, a small-group adventure, or a premium rental. 

To get started planning a simple and safe exchange, contact ThirdHome today for more information. 

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