Ted Wootton, Claremont
My experience: My wife and I have done two house exchanges using Intervac.com to make the contacts and coordinate the details. One was three weeks in Sweden, near Stockholm, and one was three weeks in southern France.
1) We find this an excellent way to spend time in a foreign country: It is much less expensive than staying in hotels, eating in restaurants, using public transportation.
2) We get a better understanding of the location because we are living in a local community, meeting locals, shopping in local stores, and generally being more integrated into the local environment. (continued on next photo)
Pictured: The home Wootton stayed in while vacationing in Sweden.