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Interview with Larry Klimczyk, Executive Director of International Vacation Home Exchange

A travel junkie, Larry Klimczyk got the bug early in life when joining an international courier company; this is back in the day when people actually traveled overseas to deliver important business documents! Born in Seattle, he has worked in about 35 countries around the globe and visited nearly 70. Today his passion is in the fast growing sharing economy, specifically luxury vacation home exchanges. Through his experience with International Vacation Home Exchange, he recently published Home Exchange Guide that is packed with useful tips and hints to enjoy luxury homes around the world while saving money. Larry Klimczyk at Machu Pichu What is it that you do exactly?
Owners of luxury vacation homes are very interesting people, they have invested in a wonderful property and surprisingly many of these apartments, villas, chalets, and yachts around the globe sit empty. Our job at International Vacation Home Exchange is to link these like-minded people in a membership network so they can share their exclusive homes and save a fortune on holidays and vacations. A typical day is working with our existing members to both promote their properties to other members and assist them in finding their next vacation location where they can enjoy all the benefit of staying in another exclusive vacation home.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
Hearing about our members’ vacations is a real motivator. When an IVHE.com member visits another property they get to ‘live like a local’ and enjoy all the benefits and amenities of staying in a luxury vacation home. Our members’ properties are in 70 countries so the travel experiences are vast and they tell us about their great vacations. Another excellent part of my job is hearing about how our members form new friendships. Staying in another person’s home can be a personal experience so the two trading members often create a friendship that lasts well beyond the initial visit. Of course saving our members thousands of dollars, euros, pounds, yen, etc. on each of their vacations always feels good too.
What would you say are the 3 best places you’ve ever stayed?
Wow, this is a tough question. I’m going to answer with the most stimulating and enjoyably memorable experiences. Since our second home is in the IVHE.com network, we have personally experienced many exciting locations owned by fellow members. Waking up to sounds of wild animals is really special for a city dweller like me. Not only can you hear them but we took our morning coffees out to the veranda and watched everything from kudu, zebra, giraffe, blue wildebeest, meerkat, impala, and warthogs stroll through the gardens around our lodge. Marloth Park, South Africa is a full of life and adventure and only a short drive to Crocodile River gate when you want to experience more of the Big Five and explore Kruger National Park. Sights and sounds of the Marrakesh medina ranges from spice markets, clothing factories, snake charmers, leather dyeing and one of the interesting open air food markets I’ve ever experienced. The buzz and life of the city captures all of your senses and the food is fantastic. When you are ready to experience nature a short distance away are the Atlas Mountains with their rugged beauty and scattered Berber villages giving Morocco a position as one my favourite places in the world. While very difficult to narrow to three best places, my next choice is going to be in Punta Mita just outside of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Staying in a five bedroom oceanside villa with our own pool on a Jack Nicklaus designed golf course managed by the Four Seasons was a true pleasure. The whole family had a great time as we swam with wild dolphins in the bay, protected turtles laying eggs on the beaches, walked amongst the birds on a treetop and zip line adventure, scuba dive off the coast and experienced the best guacamole on the planet.
What’s been your most memorable dining experience to date?
It was a rare and sought after sunny day in the Pacific Northwest on San Juan Island. During the day we visited Lime Kiln Point State Park on the western side of the island, nice but not overwhelming. A local recommended that we return that evening with a picnic, guaranteeing us something amazing. We found a local deli with plenty of yummy bits and a nice bottle of wine and returned around 6pm to find a cozy spot just above the rocky shoreline facing the Pacific Ocean. The experience was breathtaking; shortly after starting to enjoy our nibbles the first of close to a hundred orca (killer whales) swam within 100 meters in front of us. For the next hour and a half we watched these majestic beasts return ‘home’ from their day of hunting. The sunset across the water was absolutely stunning, combining this with the raw beauty and strength of these mammals was an experience I will never forget, oh yes, and the deli bits were tasty too.
Have you rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous, either through your work or your travels?
While I’m told that I’m pretty good with remembering names and faces from people that I’ve met before, somehow I’m absolute rubbish in recognising famous people or celebrities in person. I’m also not great in crowds, but spending a fair amount of time in major cities I have literally bumped into David Attenborough, Michael Dell, Liam Neeson, Rod Stewart, Shane Warne, Debra Winger and I’m embarrassed to say a former Canadian Prime Minister, none whom I recognised at the time and only after my partner or colleague with me at the time pointed out ‘do you know who that was?!’ I’ve probably met plenty more, only on my own so I didn’t have a clue.
What currently ranks highest on your travel wish list?
To experience the Galapagos Island is a dream for me. Seeing the vast display of nature on land and underwater (love scuba diving) clearly places it on the top of my bucket list. Paddling (kayaking) and hiking around these remote islands sounds like a great adventure and hopefully one we can experience soon.
Thank you for taking part in our interview, Larry. I was in Marrakech just a few months ago so can relate to everything you say there. If you would like to be interviewed on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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  1. What a great interview, Larry & Paul. I have to say Larry, I am a little envious of both the amount you’ve travelled and some of your top experiences. The guide looks great by the way, also.

  2. Great interview, I’m interested in checking out these luxury properties and destinations. I love all the places he has mentioned on his top places to visit.

  3. This is an interesting way of seeing the world – I’ve never heard much about it. I’m not sure my home in Southampton is swappable, but perhaps it is?!

  4. Thank you for your kind comments. Exploring the world is great with home exchange. Anna, there are people around the world that are always interested in exploring somewhere new, especially when the UK is the destination. Give it a try!

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