Thursday, June 16, 2011

Invite Family and Friends to Discover the World of Home Exchange for Only £5 a Year

Invite Family and Friends to Discover the World of Home Exchange for Only £5 a Year

Buy a membership and invite up to 4 members of your family and/or friends to join for a year for 5 pounds each.

Your friend/family must fill out the membership form to have their own listing. Do not try to add them to your listing; this will only cause you to have a second listing. They must select Plan 1. They will receive 80% off their one year subscription by filling out the form as detailed below.

How to Fill Out Home Exchange Membership Subscription

Fill in box titled "Promotional Code" with the word - FAMFRIEND

At bottom of form titled QUESTIONS (for admin use only), do the following:

"Where did you hear about our service?" Select Recommendation

"If the response you selected above was followed by an * please be specific." Put in home exchange number of your family/friend who is a current member.

Reference will be verified. No refunds if Green Theme International is unable to verify reference.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Enjoy the London Olympics for Practically Nothing

Enjoy the London Olympics for Next to Nothing
With the 2012 Olympics just around the corner in London, tickets are already sold out. In fact, most of the tickets sold almost immediately when applications were made available in April. While the Olympic games are something that both diehard sports fans and the casual observer look forward to every four years – an unprecedented unity of nations and cultures across the globe -- newly constructed sports event  flies in the face of those working toward a green society. In 2012, the Olympics is trying very hard to not only be just green, but sustainable. If you don’t have your ticket, don’t fret.  As you may be asking yourself the question that London’s legendary punk rock band The Clash made famous: “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” consider this Olympics an opportunity to go green and find an alternative way to join the games. 

“Should I Stay or Should I Go”
Go if you have an open attitude. Go if you believe that London’s sustainability goal will set a new precedent for events worldwide. Go if experiences mean more to you. Go if you will do your part to travel green. The London Olympics published an environmental status report in April 2011.

It is possible to enjoy the Olympics without a ticket – and to travel green – and I am living proof of this testimony. I went to the Olympics when it was in Atlanta . I did not have a ticket in advance. I did not pay for a hotel room. I did not rent a car. I brought a backpack full of local food into the event. 
To this day, I rank that experience as one of the best in my life. Where I ended up made it memorable. I bought tickets from a scalper/touter and saw events that would are rarely – if ever --  at the top of the list. The one event that I will remember for a lifetime is a field hockey game between India and Pakistan[. As I stood among thousands of people cheering, the whole word suddenly seemed smaller. I truly understood how international sporting events allow even those countries who have a rocky history with each other set aside their differences and unite toward a common celebration of the best, across cultural, language and, oftentimes, even political boundaries.  

I never buy tickets in advance for events. I approach getting tickets with a fail-proof attitude: If I cannot get in, I will just walk away. I never pay more than face value for any and never pay the high ticket handling fees. I usually get in for less than face value, and I have never bought a false ticket. (Although we all have our limits – even broke my rule once to see The Pogues. But that’s a story left for another blog.)

So how could this approach help during the 2012 Olympics? Touting/scalping laws for the London Olympics apply to the sellers only; buyers will not be fined for any purchases.  Plus, the laws apply to reselling at a profit: “There is no generally agreed definition of ‘touting’, but the term ‘tout’ is commonly understood to be refer to someone who deliberately buys tickets to an event in order to resell them at a profit.”

Your best bet is to try to buy tickets on the day of the event – when most  people try to unload their tickets for face value or even less  so they do not lose money.  I recommend researching what a real ticket looks like in advance, examining the ticket offered to you, and making a low-ball offer. Don’t be afraid to use your intuition. If the situation doesn’t feel right, just walk away. You’re the buyer, and you have nothing to lose.  

Home Exchange/ Hospitality Exchange
Worried about finding a hotel room? During the Olympics, most hotels will increase their prices as much as four times the going rate, and rooms will sell out well in advance. Instead, see the Olympics without paying for a hotel room by exchanging your home or arranging a hospitality exchange. Green Theme International,, has hundreds of homes listed near the rails, better known in London as “The Tube,” so you can ride a train to Olympic venues. London’s Underground train is notoriously reliable and the most efficient way to get around the city. On the days that you do not have tickets, explore the area by train and other forms of public transportation. Search for homes and select “car not needed” to find listings where you do not need a fossil fuel hog, also known as, a car.

Staying in a home, instead of a hotel, will also save you a lot of money on food. With a kitchen and refrigerator to store food, you have the option to eat in or eat out. Food from a local grocery is always less expensive than from a restaurant.

Food and Water at Olympic Venues
This list of rules and regulations can be disheartening: "Food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, liquids in containers of greater than 100ml in size, umbrellas, horns, whistles, drums, rattles, musical instruments, or any other devices that in the opinion of Locog may disturb a session (including mobile telephones), flasks, Thermoses and in general any material that Locog may deem dangerous or that may cause damage or disruption to a session."

Unfortunately, you will not be able to pack your own food. There is a food vision for the Olympics,, but two major sponsors are McDonalds and Coke - two junk food giants. Other caterers at the event will be serving local food do your research ahead of time so you can buy from the caterer serving locally grown food.
Free tap water will be available at all Olympic venues. Thirst not at the games.

These are a few of the tips that will guide you in your “green” quest to enjoy the 2012 Olympics. This is a great way to enjoy – without breaking the bank or the environment. 
Visit to start looking – and booking – your home exchange now!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thursday, May 05, 2011

If you do this, then that happens, but if you do that, this happens….

Doing the best thing for the environment is never easy. There never seems to be a black and white book to tell us what to do. A choice equals a consequence, and what seems like an easy decision looks complex upon further research. This is the case with the Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL); is it truly the best option?

The media and governments worldwide seem to be falling over themselves to promote the virtues of the CFL and how much energy it will save. The bulb does use less energy than an incandescent light bulb, but it also contains mercury.

The amount of Mercury concentrations in the environment is a worldwide problem and is considered a global issue. Mercury is often emitted through the air and deposited far from its source. Mercury is a toxic chemical that causes environmental and health problems. The toxin enters the human system mainly through the consumption of fish. For a sound bite chemistry lesson, please check out: Chronic low level exposure to mercury can build up and affect the nervous system; it is especially harmful to fetuses. Countries worldwide have taken action to reduce mercury emissions and are working together with United Nations Environment Programme.

To demonstrate the impact of mercury emissions on locations far from the source, consider Florida in the United States. It is land with pristine Everglades and barely any coal power plants, yet the mercury level is so high in the rivers that citizens are taking a risk if they eat any fresh water fish.

“Coal fired power plants is the single largest emitter globally of mercury to the atmosphere,” according to United Nations Environment Programme. It is important to decrease the output of plants, but CFLs are not the answer. In a perfect world where everyone recycled, the CFL would be a good alternative. But let’s be realistic – many people and companies sneak their fluorescent lights into the trash. Check out your local landfill and incinerator and see what standards they have in place to prevent hazard material from entering the environment. This is a challenge since I came across a lot of fluff and “we save the world mantras”, but it was difficult to gather hard-core evidence.

CFL is not necessarily the answer for everyone. What if home owner’s receive power from nuclear plants, or other sources of energy? Incandescent lights do not sound like such a bad idea when doing energy consumption risk assessment. LED light are on the market and sell for about $17 The price is not out of the stratosphere, and the few widely used lights in the house should be replaced with LED. Governments should push for the mass production of this product and champion lowering the prices. It’s safer to use and make.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Trains Are Missing From Many Credit Card Reward Options

Credit card companies offer many ways for people to receive cash back or points for different purchases. But they are are not taking the opportunity to promote green living to card holders.

Their rewards for travel, unfortunately, seem to focus around air travel. They even have nice plane logos next to their travel sections. The partnerships built around airlines and credit card companies may be fiscally sound, but it is not environmentally conscientious.

Traveling by train is the responsible method to go places. Railways and credit card companies should join forces to market traveling by train as intensely as by plane. Rail travel rewards of 2-5% cash back need to be standard and easily identifiable in company literature.

Chase Sapphire Card state the following in reference to travel, with nary a reference of train: "There are no restrictions or blackouts dates when you book airfare through Ultimate RewardsSM. And if you can't find the flight or hotel you want, simply buy it elsewhere with your card then use your points to Pay Yourself Back with a credit to your statement. Plus, you can redeem your points for anything you want from travel and merchandise to gift cards and cash back."

Train should be synonymous with travel too.

P.S. - I am also curious as to why hotels receive cash back opportunities but not home exchange, a clearly better choice.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Home Exchange Insurance and Car Insurance


CHECtravel proudly announces the first and only travel insurance plan exclusively for the home exchanger: Travel Guard’s Home Exchange Protection Plan. The policy can be purchased with any home exchange, whether driving to the exchange home or flying.

Coverage starts at just $15 and your policy covers all members of the insured exchange party. Trips must originate in the US or Canada.

There is no deductible and no age differential.



• It is cheapest to put exchanges on the insurance (with all their details) and take yourself off - then put yourself back on when you return.
• Used to insure swappers from Australia and South Africa to drive personal car. The company will request full details of the drivers and any driving convictions.

HSBC Corinthian


Exchanging between England and New Zealand for 6 months:
• Convert house insurance to a tenanted property insurance, notwithstanding no monies being exchanged. The excess was increased. Contents policy was noted and they stipulated that the 'tenants' personal belongings were not covered