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Booking Strategy

How to Arrange a Home Exchange

When warmer temperatures arrive, prices for accommodations in some destinations, like Europe, New England, Alaska and seasonal beach towns, tend to soar.

Considering that costs and demand for the upscale property you’ve been eyeing in Paris will be ballooning in the coming months, now is an auspicious time to think about ditching the hotel and setting up a home exchange — a process that should be started well in advance of your departure date. All you need is your own house and a sense of trust in humanity.

The trust part is pretty important. You don’t want to find yourself lying awake at night worrying about a stranger carelessly leafing through your antique book collection while you’re on vacation. To ease your concerns, check out our Home Exchange How-To Guide, which provides basic instructions for setting up an exchange, including ways to protect yourself and your home:

“The odds [of your home being in good hands] are favorable, particularly if you’re doing a direct swap, because you will be expected to care properly for the home of your trading partner while he or she is staying in yours. … Be sure that both of you are adequately insured (this includes car insurance if your vehicle will be involved in the swap). … To prevent problems or misunderstandings, you may wish to ask for references before agreeing to an exchange. It’s also a good idea to sign an informal written agreement that outlines the terms of your exchange.”

Have you ever participated in a home exchange? Share your experiences and tips in the comments below.

By Caroline Costello

Caroline Costello's travel accomplishments include surviving a 2 a.m. whitewater rafting excursion in the Canadian wilderness, successfully biking from Dusseldorf to Cologne without a map, and gaining access to a covert pizza speakeasy in New Orleans.

Caroline is an active member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW). Her work has appeared on USA Today, the Boston Globe, AOL.com, MSNBC.com, ABC News, TODAY Travel, and CruiseCritic.com, among other publications.

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