Score Free Places To Stay With House Exchange
House Exchange is a lot like trustedhousesitters.com accept better because you don't have to pay an annual fee to find homes to stay at. It can be a win win for both parties. It's like you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. Some of the other home exchange websites are: Seniors Home Exchange, IHEN, and Home for Exchange. I skim these posts from time to time to see if that's a place I'd like to travel and that way I won't have to pay for accommodation which can save tons of money. Not to mention you might get lucky if your house swappers have a swanky pad.
Most people are sketchy about the idea of strangers in their home because they worry about security but remember that the other family is trusting you with their home, too! Sites that run interface for home exchanges usually have various levels of verification and security similar to Couchsurfing. Families talk to each other over phone, e-mail, Skype or FaceTime prior and there’s no commitment if you find that it’s not right for you. Chances of something going wrong are slim because most people who house exchange are like-minded. Also, the family most likely will send a few people to check on you when you arrive.
Home Exchange is also great because you'll most likely swap with someone who has a kitchen that's fully stocked, hot water, laundry facilities etc. which means all you have to do is buy your own groceries. House swapping is also nice because you can ask the people you're swapping with to water plants, feed your animals, bring in packages left at the door or even get your mail. I know when I travel my mailbox starts to get full real quick and my mail man appreciates when I have someone pick it up. Also having your house sitter double as your pet sitter is great! You just saved even more money by not boarding your pets and they get to stay in the comforts of their home.
Keep in mind it will be easier for you to find someone who wants to exchange homes if you live in a desirable city and if you are flexible with your schedule. I look at the dates the people are seeking to swap and then try to plan my trip for the same time. I also like to be safe and try to verify as much as I can by skyping or facetime. Get a feel for people and go with your gut.
If a house exchange isn't your thing then maybe try house sitting. Good house-sitting sites include: Mind My House, House Carers, Luxury House Sitting, trustedhousesitters.com