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Want to stay free when you travel? Swap homes

By M.T. Simon

Experience the life of someone in New York, Florida, California, Italy, France, Switzerland, Great Britain or many other destinations. Enjoy their home, lifestyle and car. Meet their friends. Visit their home town and country. You can do all these things and stay for free by exchanging homes.

For more than 50 years Americans have exchanged homes with families in the U.S. and abroad. Every year, approximately half a million (500,000) people swap homes for a week, a month or more. Anyone with a home available for an exchange and the willingness to find a good swap partner can participate in a home exchange.

For purposes of home exchanges, what is a home?

A home can be a single family home; condominium, rental apartment; yacht or sailboat; motor home; or houseboat.

How do you exchange homes?

Once you find out if you are a good home exchange candidate, you can begin the home exchange process. To do that you will have to decide: Where you want to go; who you want to travel with and when; how much money you can spend finding an exchange and on the trip; and what you are willing to offer prospective exchangers.

How do you find home exchangers?

You can place an ad in a newspaper of the city or country you want to visit; talk with other exchangers for referrals. A more efficient and faster way is to visit and join one or more home exchange organization websites.

Car Exchanges

Some exchangers include their cars in the home exchange agreement. That means they drive each other's cars while they stay at each other's homes.

Top ten benefits of home exchanging

1.Staying free!

2.Living like the locals during your stay

3.Gaining an understanding of how people in other places live

4.Being able to stay in locations where there are no hotels or other accommodations

5.Meeting new people, making new friends

6.Your home is taken care of while you travel

7.Being able to sample local foods

8.More privacy

9.Save money by cooking your own meals

10.You have more space than at a hotel

Who exchanges homes?

All kinds of people exchange homes. There are teachers, journalists, doctors, archeologists, psychologists, realtors, homemakers, and many other occupations and professions represented among home exchangers. Many home exchangers are adults over 40 and retirees. There are offers of modest homes and luxurious estates. Home swappers tend to be educated, reliable, respectful of other's things and interested in travel.

Whether you are planning a vacation to Hawaii, an extended leave in New York or a business trip to London, home exchanging could be what you are looking for. Before you let a stranger stay in your home and before you hop on a plane on your way to a home swap, there are some things you need to know. Make sure you ask lots of questions and know what you are doing before you agree to an exchange.

About The Author
M.T. Simon is co-author of a popular how-to guide on home exchanging, The Home Exchange Guide (Poyeen Publishing, $19.95).

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