Tag Archives: Italy

Home Exchange: Traveling on a Budget


-Emily Fraysse

The daydreams of lounging in a villa on a sandy white beach in Barbados or skiing to your hidden log cabin in the Swiss Alps could become a reality. And that reality is only a percentage of the price through home exchange. Ultimately, it is “you stay in my house while I stay in yours.”

There are two types of home exchanges: hospitality exchange and home exchange. Hospitality exchange means that the family who lives in the house allows others to stay at their home simultaneously at designated times. The benefit of this, besides the social aspect, is the in-house tour guide. Home exchange happens when each party switches houses completely at a time that is convenient for both to swap.

While many people can be leery about swapping houses for multiple reasons, the number of reasons why you should take the plunge exceeds those. It can be a scary concept to stay at someone’s house that you’ve never met before or allow others to stay at your house, so the exchange relies on mutual trust. With thousands of successful house exchanges per year, the exchange is rewarding in more than one way.

The swapping works best for people who have an alluring home to offer and those who are okay with having strangers living in the house and touching valuable items. Once you’ve found a potential host, get in contact, exchange information, and be clear about your expectations before the swap occurs. After all the nitty-gritty details are finalized, I’m sure you’ll feel less like you’re living in a stranger’s home and more like living in a friend’s.

So, now where would you like to go?

Home Exchange programs to look at:

Home Exchange

Love Home Swap
Trade to Travel
Home Link
Intervac Home Exchange

Some of my personal favorite spots:

Watamu, Kenya

Noosa Heads, Queensland

Whistler, British Columbia

Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

Buleleng Tejakula, Bali
Pecatu, Bali

Kilalloe, County Clare

Amelia, Umbria


Ko Samui, Surat Thani

United Kingdom:
Lewes, East Sussex
Beadlow, Bedfordshire

United States:
South Beach, Florida
Battery Park City, New York

Image from http://blog.barterquest.com

What's New?

photo by Gregorio Borgia AP

-Tiana Bouma

With the internet bringing together stories from across the world, it is easy to get lost in the constant streaming updates that most news organizations provide on their websites. With so many different phone applications, email updates, and websites’ bookmarked,  my phone is always vibrating to let me know of a new story. So to help myself keep up on current news and to inform others, I’ll be writing a weekly series on the top stories that have been trending over the past week.

1.Italian Cruise Ship

On Friday the 13th, an Italian cruise ship captained by Francesco Schettino hit a reef off the coast of Italy and ran aground. The 114,500-tonne Costa Concordia was on a trip around the Mediterranean when it “hit an obstacle”. Rumors have spread about Captain Schettino, who is being accused of steering the cruise ship too close to shore while performing a maneuver known as a “salute”. As events continue to unfold, I hope that Captain Schettino is not blamed unjustly as a scapegoat. Although one question does come to mind, whatever happened to the idea of the “captain goes down with the ship”?

 2. Giffords Leaving Congress

One year after a gunman attempted to take her life, Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords announced that she would forgo re-election plans in order to focus on her ongoing recovery.  Six people were killed in the shooting and 13 were wounded. Much like other national issues, the shooting brought the members of Congress together in a symbolic show of bipartisanship, but did not bring any lasting changes.  I remember the sadness I felt at the original time of the shooting, but Giffords’ strength in recovering after the attack has given the American people something to hold on to. Although she will be missed in Congress, it is important that Giffords can completely recover and I do believe we will see her in public service in the future.

3. Year of the Dragon

The Chinese New Year means that millions of Chinese families travel back to their homes to celebrate the New Year.  The spring festival is the most celebrated holiday in China and the celebrations kicked off on January 23, 2012 as the year of the dragon started.  My best memory from the Chinese New Year celebrations was the red envelopes that teachers passed out to us in elementary school. I can still taste the white rabbit candy with rice paper wrappers. I got a little laugh from a news article I stumbled across this morning; “New Year celebrations in Beijing caused 194 fires, mostly due to fireworks.” Hopefully there weren’t too many people celebrating the New Year by nursing firework burns.

4. Joe Paterno Dies at Age 85

Joe Paterno, who was college football’s winningest head coach and a Penn State icon, died on Sunday January 21st of health complications at the age of 85.  Paterno’s death comes after a stressful ordeal with Penn State. He was fired mid-season, in November, due to sexual abuse charges against former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. Paterno coached for 62 years at Penn State, where he rose from assistant to head coach in 1966. He led the team to 409 wins, three Big Ten Conference titles and two national championships during his 46 seasons as program leader. Even with a lack of information and interest in football besides UO, I can see the legend that Paterno was.  I do believe that some college football fans shed some tears for the passing of a man they held dear to their hearts. All I can say is, what a way to go after such an amazing career.

The City Meets the Forest

-Laura Lundberg

Sustainability and “Going Green” are trends that have become popular in the past few years all around the world.  It seems that everyone wants to be a part of the green trend, and businesses, cities, and countries are working hard to bring to the people new ways of travelling, eating, dressing, and living that will have their products cut down on carbon emissions, and provide their clients with a more comfortable way of living. Milan, Italy, is no exception to this idea, as it is currently building one of the greenest and most creative projects ever – an apartment building that will be the world’s first ever vertical forest.

The Bosco Verticale is being designed by the architecture firm known as Stefano Boeri Architetti, and it will be erected in the center of Milan, close to the Isola neighborhood. Both residential towers that are undergoing construction currently will measure 33 stories (110 meters) and 23 stories (76 meters) respectively and each building will hold about 900 trees of different species and height that will “surround” the building in green foliage. These two residential towers will have over 10,000 square meters of trees (if all the trees were planted on flat land), and will keep the CO2 emissions down for this urban area.

According to an article published by Inhabit.com, an architectural weblog that is devoted to the future of design while keeping the environment in mind, “The diversity of the plants and their characteristics produce humidity, absorb CO2 and dust particles, producing oxygen and protect the building from radiation and acoustic pollution. This not only improves the quality of living spaces, but gives way to dramatic energy savings year round” (Diane Pham, Inhabit.com). This will allow for residents who wish to live in the buildings to feel comforted by the fact that their apartment’s energy will be clean, safe, and sustainable.

Another interesting feature of these two eco-friendly residential buildings is that all of the grey water from the apartments will be filtered and recycled throughout the building, which will dramatically cut down on costs of water for tenants. The trees will also help the residents save on money, as they will provide shade during the summer and more sunlight to be captured during the winter once the trees have lost their leaves.

The Bosco Verticale is only the first step in the architect’s vision of a greener Milan. He has an overall project entitled BioMilano, which will aim to create a ‘green belt’ around the city of Milan by incorporating over 60 abandoned farms that exist on the outskirts of the city and  repurposing them for community use. The Bosco Verticale began its construction in 2007, and hopes to be finished constructing within a few years.

While the architects of Stefano Boeri Architetti seem to envision plenty for the city of Milan, the architect firm hopes that their green ideas will spark a wave of the implementation of more sustainable buildings and polices in other countries, so that everyone can start becoming more sustainable than they are today.

If you want to learn more about the Bosco Verticale idea, check out this news report done by an Australian media called “The Age”.

Renderings taken from Boeri Studio