Traveling With a Small Budget? Try a House Swap

Try a house swap to save money on vacation

Traveling With a Small Budget? Try a House Swap

Have you ever watched The Holiday with Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz and thought, ‘Wow! I wish I could do that!’ Well, guess what? You can. We house swap with people all over the world and I’m going to tell you how.

My husband and I LOVE to travel. We always said that when we had kids, we would take them anywhere with us. Soon enough, they outgrew the fly-free-under-two seats and we were left with four plane tickets to buy every year. This got expensive fast! Even when you are an avid flight deal seeker like me, the price of staying in a hotel or Airbnb can make travel feel impossible to afford for any length of time. This got me thinking, and one thing about me is that I love to think outside the box. I decided to try house swapping in order to keep costs down.

For the last four years, we have traveled and swapped houses with people. We’ve swapped with both friends and strangers! We are lucky to live in such a tourist destination. It turns out a lot of people want to travel to New Orleans, which makes house swapping an attainable option. 

Our first house swap was with a friend from college who lives in Austin, Texas. We went for Thanksgiving break and they got to come to New Orleans for a beautiful November week. This swap was so successful that we started to contact other friends who lived around the country to see if they were interested. Before we knew, it we had a place in Miami during Spring Break! There’s only one problem with house swapping with friends: their out of town dates have to match ours. That’s when we discovered a house swapping website called Home Exchange. 

Home Exchange has a membership fee of $220 a year. You can browse homes in areas you want to travel to and all you have to do is message the host. Some hosts have second home properties that they offer so dates don’t always have to line up simultaneously. I highly suggest getting professional photos taken of your home, that way your listing looks polished and more people will offer their home to you in exchange.

We have stayed in three different beautiful homes and apartments in New York City for three summers in a row. We’ve had guests from San Francisco stay at our place, and we plan to travel there in the near future as well. This summer is even more exciting because we have house swaps to stay in both Madrid and Barcelona, Spain.

We’ve had inquiries from all over the world wanting to stay at our place, too. Some cities include San Miguel De Allende, Mexico; Montreal, Canada; Hellerup, Denmark; Paris, France and many others. This means that if they come and stay with us, we can go to their place at any point. Home Exchange also offers points which allows for guests to come and if you don’t want to go to that destination, you are offered points for giving them a place to stay. You can then use points to stay somewhere else of your choosing.

So far, we have had lovely guests in our home and they have always been mindful of our belongings. If there is anything we don’t want exposed, we lock it away in a closet. We have never had issues hosting guests. We also have never had issues when we travel either! Each house we have stayed in has been fabulous and easy to get into. It has truly been a positive experience for our family.

Having the option to stay somewhere free means we get to spend more money in the area on goods and restaurants which then increases their economy in return. Also, we have been able to make acquaintances with a variety of families for any future endeavors.

Have you ever swapped homes on vacation? How’d it go? Let me know in the comments!


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