One of the biggest advantages for me if not the biggest- is that your house is occupied all the time during a home swap. Sure, you can hold your mail and also have a security system in place, but people coming and going, the lights on any given night prevent burglaries as any insurance broker or cop will tell you.
Normally you can expect from your trading partners that they will water your plants or provide pet care if that is needed and part of your arrangement.
In the meantime we have made it into Germany where I'm going to meet my children before making our way down to France. The French family is en route exchange a French version of 95 degrees with whatever hits them in Florida! For us these temperatures here are breathtaking, literally. On of the reason for our annual journey is the cooler climate. Not so this year! And to bear it without an AC is difficult when you're so used to it. I'm already bored with the never changing discussion that "we only have this heat for a few weeks every year".Yeah, sometimes months! And even these few weeks can be hard on the system!.Not too sure yet if I can grin and bear it....In the meantime: I deserve my refreshments, don't I?