- Making great sabbaticals happen!

by Bert Maxwell /
Bert Maxwell's picture
May 21, 2008 / 0 comments

We are always looking for wonderful places to stay, while traveling. I eschew hotels for the most part, and prefer homes in which we can relax (and have a yard, if possible), especially if we are to be gone for long periods of time.
I recently had a chance to sit down and talk with the founder of a service that can help with just that ...

Nadege Conger, of She was quite gracious, and obviously interested in all aspects of international education!

WE: Tell us a little bit about did you get started?

NC: was established in 2000 as a way to provide the academic community with a means of participating in home exchanges, rentals, or house-sitting across the globe. The goal was to enable scholars to conduct research away from home or go on sabbaticals without spending a lot of time and money on housing issues. No suitable services existed
when I created As the spouse of an academic, I sorely needed such a service and decided to create it. The Internet was the perfect vehicle to make it happen.

WE: What geographical range do you have for your properties?

NC: The site offers both national and international services, with opportunities in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Asia, South America, the Middle East,and parts of Africa.

WE: How does someone use your service?

NC: is very easy to use! To post a home or a home-wanted request on the site, you simply need to register and follow the instructions for uploading and listing your information. If you are interested in searching for an available home,or a potential tenant, the site provides a clear navigation system that allows users to view listed information. Most home listings have photographs. But homeowners can also search for tenants without posting their home on the site.

WE: Is it only home exchanges, or can people rent homes from your database?

NC: offers more than just home exchanges. There are also lots ofopportunities for renting and house-sitting for varying lengths of time. Some of our members have started using for their vacations.

WE: What sort of fees apply? What is the average rent for houses?

NC: There is a setup fee to post a listing. A home listing costs between $35-55. A home-wanted listing costs between $0-15. All listings are valid for 14 months and are renewable. The site relies on ‘success-based’ contributions, to keep low setup fees. That means that all successful users are encouraged to send a contribution if they find a home or a tenant through the site. We recommend a $50-100 contribution if you get a match.
The average rent for houses varies and depends both on the location and the length of time you will be renting.

WE: Are children welcome on most properties?

NC: Children are welcome on many of the properties listed. Some listings boast kid-friendly and even ‘baby-ready’ homes. However home owners have to decide how appropriate and safe their home is for children.

WE: Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?

NC: was created to help scholars with the difficult task of finding housing worldwide during research and sabbatical leaves or relocation. We love to hear about our members. On the site, you will find testimonials about the experiences of our users (currently 500+ testimonials). We often receive kudos about how ‘wonderful and responsible’ the people who reply to the offers are. Our members appreciate each other because they value the idea of not just exchanging homes but also cultures. Many users make new friends via Some have been listing with us repeatedly for the past eight years. Making the world smaller and friendlier and serving academic citizens of the world is what we are all about.

WE: Thank you so much, Nadege. I truly feel that your site provides a much-needed service to the academic community!

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