Home Exchange is the Newest Travel Option


Filed under Travel & Leisure

How would you like to have free accommodations the next time you travel — not in a hotel but in a comfortable home away from home. The Broggers of Los Angeles, Calif., are among the growing number of worldwide travelers who have discovered the secret of home exchange and the “ticket” to incredible vacation opportunities.

They recently swapped their three-bedroom suburban Los Angeles home with families in Spain and Mallorca for a one-month vacation. “The benefits of having a home away from home are fantastic,” says Suzanne Brogger. “We got to experience Europe in a way most tourists can’t do and saved thousands of dollars. Plus we knew someone would be looking after our house. Without doing a home exchange, we would never been able to make this trip with a 1-year-old who gets up at 6 a.m. and wants to start playing with toys and have breakfast.”

The home exchange concept is simple; you stay in someone’s home while they stay in yours. For your next vacation, you can visit Disneyland, San Francisco or New York City in the United States, stay in a quaint cottage in the French countryside, a London apartment, or an Australian beach house. Take off for a long weekend or a month long trip; wherever you want to go, home exchange can make your travel dreams come true. Thousands of homes are available worldwide.

The Brogger family used HomeExchange.com to arrange their vacation. “It was so fast and so easy we couldn’t believe it. I found myself glued to the computer, amazed at all of the opportunities,” says Brogger of the experience. “The Web site makes it simple to find and contact potential exchange partners. Our biggest problem was trying to decide among all the great listings posted on the site and the many inquiries we received. The descriptions of the homes, neighborhood and families make you feel comfortable even before your first contact, and by the time you confirm a swap, you feel your home exchange partner is a friend, not a stranger.”

Except for airfare and a few incidentals, the Brogger’s four-week vacation didn’t cost them much more than staying at home. Their exchange partner’s friends and neighbors gave them first-hand information about the area’s tourist attractions, they shopped in the local markets, and lived like locals, not tourists.

“The bottom line is that we’re now able to vacation more often and longer than we would with conventional vacations,” adds Brogger. “And you don’t have to travel far away or overseas. I have some friends who do weekend exchanges from Southern California to Santa Barbara, San Francisco or the local mountains. Those trips, which might otherwise cost $500 to $1,000, are suddenly affordable when you trade homes.”

Tens of thousands of couples, retired people, even singles swap their homes or apartments every year. “A family with a large home in England doesn’t necessarily need a 5,000-square-foot house in New York City,” explains Ed Kushins, president of HomeExchange.com. “Considering their alternative may be a small $250 per night hotel room, your one-bedroom loft may be perfect for them. If you’re thinking that your small home or cozy apartment might not measure up, think again. What you consider modest might be very special to someone from another country,” he adds.

Listing your own home on HomeExchange.com costs only $49.95 for an unlimited one year membership, meaning you can make as many exchanges for as long as you want with no hidden fees and no per-trade or per-day fees. And their no-questions-asked guarantee gives you a second year free if for any reason you don’t have a successful exchange in your first year. Membership features 24 hour access to Listings, unlimited photos, e-mail notification when new listings come in from areas you are interested in, your own member control panel where you can edit your listing or add photos at any time, helpful hints, FAQ, and complete privacy protection.

Article courtesy of ARA Content

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