Overpriced hotel rooms and $7 tequila shots at the hotel bar can drain a vacation's budget in a hurry. Over the past few years, home swapping sites have grown in popularity. The concept is simple: I'll lend you my living room if you lend me yours. Sometimes, it is a one-way street – a generous host offers his couch in exchange for English lessons or simple company.
Here are a few home swapping sites worth checking out.
Couchsurfing.org – Couchsurfing coined the popular term and the community comprises of close to 3 million members sharing 3 and a half million successful host experiences. It is the Myspace of home swapping; a travel-loving community where hosts post reviews on home stay guests and vice versa. Australia has more than 25,000 available couches alone; nearly all countries are represented, even Turkmenistan with 31. Create and view profiles, receive couch requests, and gets some useful advice on how to couch travelers. It is easy to connect with Couch Surfing.
Homeexchange.com – Homeexchange.com boasts more than 40,000 listings in 143 countries. The concept is simple. You view listings from homeowners, complete with pictures, neighborhood, and itinerary information and they give you their preferred destinations. If your preferred destination matches during their specific season or dates, it may be yours to stay free. Some of the more interesting home stays include oceanfront Caribbean condominiums, chalets in Vancouver, and apartments in Rome. Membership is $9.95/month (annual) and $15.95/month (3 months) with a guarantee of a second year free if you don't find a home exchange partner.
Casacasa.org – Unlike home exchanges, Casa Casa offers hospitality exchanges where you stay as a guest in someone's place in exchange for hosting them in your home at a later time. An annual subscription is $40 and provides access to the Casa Casa directory.