How to Travel More for Less

A home in Maremma, Tuscany can be yours through HomeExchange.

Unlimited Travel for a Year with a HomeExchange Membership for $150

I’m such a big fan of this site I’ve decided to create a page dedicated to it.

Recently, I’ve noticed a trend for rental fees to tick heavenward. AirBnB used to charge a small service fee. Now, it occasionally reaches 15%. That’s Manhattan real estate broker territory. And now VRBO and HomeAway have followed suit with minimum $400 service fees — without the level of service to justify it. This all started after Expedia bought up every rental-by-owner site, aggregated them under one umbrella, then decided to copy AirBnB’s fee-based model. I’ve spoken with a number of owners, already paying listing fees to these sites, who are frustrated to learn the companies are double dipping from both sides by now charging renters, too.

So, it’s time to take matters into your own hands by home swapping with other folks around the world on HomeExchange. The caveat – you need a property someone wants to exchange for theirs. Naturally, it’s more useful for people living in expensive hotel cities like NYC, San Fran, L.A., and Seattle, or in vacation destinations from Florida, California, to Jackson Hole. But it’s fun to scroll the listings and daydream. You never know – someone in Palm Springs may need to visit their cousin in Ohio.

Rent a villa in Sardinia.

I live in NYC and have been able to swap my apartment for a farmhouse in Provence, a villa in Bali, and condos in a few major cities around the world. Every dealing has been great. Why? Because we’re sharing our homes and there’s an intrinsic level of trust built into that.

What’s great about HomeExchange is that they have 65,000 active members in 150 countries swapping primary and secondary homes, apartments, rental properties, timeshares, B&B and hotel guest rooms, yachts, houseboats, cottages, tree houses….really, anywhere you can sleep. Exchanges don’t always have to be simultaneous, especially if you’re eyeing someone’s second home. Pick up a yearlong membership and start planning your next holiday without forking over hundreds or thousands of dollars to an internet platform.

Swap for a log cabin in Idaho.