Giveaway: 3 Month Membership to

Travel Anywhere, Live Like a Local and Stay for Free.

Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? You might wonder, how exactly can I do that?

Home Exchanging in Nicaragua

Home Exchanging in Nicaragua

Well, we do it all the time. It’s one of our best methods for traveling free. You swap houses with someone else who wants to visit where you live—often simultaneously, but many times not. A lot of people who do home exchanges have second or vacation homes which they use, so being flexible on dates is easier.

We have in fact, just posted a new page on this site detailing some of the top methods and offers you can use to travel for free!

I have done around 20 home exchanges all over the world, from Paris, Berlin and Venice to Montreal, Hawaii, New York and Los Angeles. The benefits to home exchanging, as we detail in our book, are numerous besides the awesome freeness of it: You get a full home or apartment instead of just a hotel room, a kitchen means you can save money on meals as well, and you get to stay like a local in a neighborhood instead of the tourist area.

Many people ask about the safety of letting strangers stay in your home, but I have never had a problem. In fact, I’ve met some really cool, interesting people this way whom I’ve stayed in touch with. Realistically, if your house is going to get robbed there is a higher chance it will be targeted while sitting vacant while you are off on vacation. Having home exchangers take care of pets or plants is also a plus. You can read a guest blog that I wrote for our favorite house swap website,, that details the safety issues.

And of course, we cover the ins and outs of home exchanging in detail, in our book. today we have even better news for you! One lucky person will win a free 3-month membership to, so that you can browse listings and try it out for yourself. All you have to do is one (or more) of the following. Each action will get you one entry into the blind drawing for the giveaway, which will take place this Friday at noon PST.

Update—Friday, December 21: Congratulations to Lynn Daue for winning this giveaway!

About Shelley Seale

Shelley is a wanderer and student of the world, yoga chick, voracious reader and dog lover. She pounds the keyboard as a freelance writer, author and publication designer, based in Austin, Texas when she isn't traipsing around the globe. Shelley has written for National Geographic, USA Today, The Guardian, The Week, Fodor's, The Telegraph and Texas Monthly, among others. Shelley has performed a catch on the flying trapeze, boarded down a live volcano, and was once robbed by a monkey in India. But she doesn’t know how to whistle.
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11 Responses to Giveaway: 3 Month Membership to

  1. Pingback: Win a Membership! | Trading Places

  2. Lynn Daue says:

    I would love to try a home exchange in Kiel, Germany, or Paris, France. I wouldn’t mind trying it most other places in the world either, but those are top of the list right now.

    I also posted this over on Facebook!


    • Thanks, Lynn. My little flat in Le Marais in Paris was one of the most memorable home exchanges I’ve done. Good luck with your travels!


    • Lynn, I wouldn’t say the little flat was small child friendly. I did have my daughter with me, who was I think 17 at the time. It was a 5th floor walk up, but I think a couple with one child would be fine. I have seen lots of larger apartments and houses listed in Paris, though!


      • Lynn Daue says:

        I’ll have to keep that in mind. House-swapping is a little difficult with the ages of our children, but I’ll keep an eye out for more kid-friendly places!


  3. Cathy says:

    I was so happy to see this post! My husband and I have often talked about doing this as we have a charming lakeside cabin in Vermont and a burning desire to travel the world with our two girls, ages 6 and 13. Right now we’re thinking about an extended home exchange in Europe since we have family in Ireland as well as dear friends in Wales, Switzerland and Germany. I’ve started to set up an account on but haven’t actually subscribed yet. Thanks for the inspiration!


  4. Congratulations to Lynn Daue, for winning this giveaway. We hope you enjoy your home exchange experiences as much as we do!


  5. Laura Cotterall says:

    I just became aware of the Home Exchange site and my husband and I are really excited about it. We are avid travellers although having 2 young daughters in school has slowed us down a bit (time wise and financially). This looks like a perfect solution. We live a block from the beach in a coastal town of North Queensland, Australia near my husbands family, but I’m American. We moved here from the San Francisco area and think that it would be ideal to visit the USA for an extended stay this way (without being a bother to family as well as giving us our own space). I’m a bit intimidated by the homes I see though–the majority seem absolutely posh and upscale. Our home is nice but it is truly a home and not pretentious in any way. Has this been an issue for anyone else? We would absolutely be clean and respectful in someone else’s home but some of these places look so upscale and formal that I don’t even think I could be comfortable relaxing!


    • Hi Laura,
      Well all I can tell you is based on my experiences, which have included about two dozen or more exchanges. I think it is FINE to have a “real” lived-in home and not something that would be in Architectural Digest. My homes are nice, but small and cozy and not anything from the pages of a magazine. 🙂

      I have stayed in MANY types (and levels) of home exchanges, from teeny-tiny studio apartments to ultra-nice homes. People want to stay in the PLACES they are going to, and the types of homes exchanged aren’t necessarily “even” – just something both parties agree to. I have exchanged my small and cozy two bedroom Austin home for a highrise penthouse on the Upper East side of Manhattan.

      Which brings me to my second point on your question, which would be to just be totally honest and open about exactly what your home is. Be very clear and up front in the description, and have good photos that truly reflect the place.

      There are ALL types of homes available on exchange websites, and if you do a search through them you will see this. The most important point is that both exchange partners clearly see the home they are getting. As long as you’re up front in your dealings you should be fine! I would say that most exchanges I have done have been more with a “regular, everyday” sort of home than some architectural or design wonder.

      Good luck!


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