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Vacation in someone else's house!

November 16, 2009 8:01:32 AM PST
Traveling can get expensive especially when you add in transportation, hotels, and meals. But there is a way to vacation for thousands of dollars less and have all the amenities and comforts of home.Carolyn and Bill Marconi love going to Europe in the summer. But an overseas vacation can be pricey so instead of booking a hotel they tried HomeExchange.com.

"To us it's kind of a well kept secret," Carolyn said.

The website matches folks who want to swap homes while on vacation.

"I thought it was an awesome idea," said Bill.

You literally live in someone else's house and in some cases use their car and even take care of their pet!

"Once you get there and get settled it really feels like you're home."

The hit film, "the Holiday" starring Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet incorporated a "house swap" between women in England and Los Angeles.

Here's how HomeExchange works for less than a hundred-dollars a year, you get a personal listing on the website and unlimited exchanges for that year.

"$99.95 is a night at a lower end hotel and so think of that within the broader context of being able to travel the world and stay in some incredible properties," said Lewis Fein of HomeExchange.com.

When designing your profile be as descriptive as possible about your home and neighborhood and include lots of pictures.

"Give people the idea of what the property looks like."

Also include nearby landmarks or attractions and indicate how convenient your home is to mass transit. Also, swappers should talk to one another a lot in advance

"And as a result you establish a comfort zone that enables you to travel to that apartment, and stay in that apartment or home.

And remember everything is negotiable but it's wise to lay out in writing the exact terms of the swap.

The Marconi's say HomeExchange.com saved them thousands of dollars when they traveled to Denmark for 3 weeks.

"We could do that for the price of going to the Jersey shore for a week," Carolyn said.

"Our unofficial slogan is 'vacation like there's no recession'," said Lewis.

And remember you don't have to travel around the world for a home swap. You could even exchange with someone else's beach house for your city dwelling or visa versa.

HomeExchange also offers a free limited membership that lets you view available listings. However, your profile will not be displayed and you cannot make inquiries into any homes that interest you.

Other sites:
International Home Exchange Network
HomeforExchange.com
Seniors Home Exchange
Home Link International


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