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8. House Swap

You might not be able to sell your home anytime soon, but trading it has never been easier. “The economic downturn has been a huge boost for the home exchange market,” says Ed Kushins, founder and president of HomeExchange.com. “It used to be considered an alternative way to travel, but now that people are looking for more value, they’re seeing home exchange as a legitimate strategy.” Swapping homes with other adventurous travelers means you can stay almost anywhere in the world for free. “You have to be okay with the idea of strangers in your space,” says longtime exchanger Sue Bogin, who has traded her family’s suburban home near Seattle for a 20-acre vineyard in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley. “And you have to trust that your stuff will survive” (like most house-trading companies, HomeExchange does not offer an insurance plan). You also need to get your place exchange-ready: Bogin cleans top to bottom, then puts away things she cares about. But for her, the extra prep work is worth it. “House trading is an unbelievable deal—and you’re staying in an actual neighborhood, having a real experience, as opposed to being isolated in a hotel.”

HOT DEAL

Abercrombie & Kent’s 11-Day Zambia Rivers & Walking Safari
abercrombiekent.com
2008: $9,400
2009: $8,355

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