Home-sharing sites offer a world of places to stay
By LYNN O'ROURKE HAYES | The Dallas Morning News | Published: January 21, 2016
The sharing economy, with key players Uber and Airbnb, continues to influence how we travel. Here are five additional ways to share and save.
Rather than squeeze into a cramped hotel room, consider trading homes. If you are willing to trade more than just space, your family can be in for a real treat. Think sharing toys, books, bikes, restaurant tips, even suggestions for meeting neighborhood kids at a nearby park.
"We make it easy for families to travel almost anywhere, live like a local and stay for free," said Jim Pickel, president of HomeExchange, which offers options in more than 150 countries. "It is a great way to manage expenses without losing the comforts of a home."
Confused about whether to visit Stockholm or San Francisco? Is a city condo or a country cottage right for your next adventure? HomeLink, an international association based in Brussels, has been answering such questions since the 1950s. Representatives help members review family-friendly options and make a successful match.
HomeLink offers a youth exchange program, encouraging members to enable low-cost cultural opportunities for their youngsters by trading experiences with other families during school holidays or summer vacations.
Academics, scholars, writers, artists and friends are encouraged to exchange their homes or register as a home rental or house sitter on this site. With more than 100,000 listings in 55 countries, the resource appeals to families mindful of the academic cycle and those who might like to stay close to a university or research center.
"Searching for a match within a like-minded pool of individuals helps keep expenses low and hospitality high," says co-founder Nadege Conger.
Launched in the early 1950s by a group of teachers seeking an affordable way to travel, the organization has grown to include 30,000 members around the world. Through the site and with the help of in-country representatives, Intervac offers home exchanges as well as bed-and-breakfast-style accommodations in member's homes.
Do you love pets? Are you willing to take on some light household duties or dog walking in exchange for no-cost lodging? Then consider the concept of home- and pet-sitting or even trading pet and home care with another family for the chance to explore a new destination.
You'll have peace of mind knowing other animal lovers are caring for your pets and your home. And you'll save money.