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Home-swapping, house rentals….anything but a hotel

I’ll have to admit, this is an idea that I haven’t personally tried (but would love to!)  

Everyone knows that hotel costs can really eat into your vacation budget, especially with a family.  The kind of low-end semi-flophouse that might have seemed terribly adventurous to a single, backpacking traveler is just not going to cut the mustard when you travel with kids.  Those tiny little garret rooms for two in Paris simply do not fit three or four.

The concept behind couchsurfing/hospitality exchanges creates real opportunities to meet people and travel to all sorts of places, but at this point in its development, couchsurfing appears to be geared towards singles.

I’ve been reading a lot lately about home exchange programs — there’s an article here on the new Disney site Family.com.  Home exchange companies like Intervac have been around a long time, and there’s great information on my RSS feed from the Travel the Home Exchange Way blog, part of UK company Home Base Holidays.

If you don’t want to go the swapping route, then investigate renting a home during your travels. My blogging compadre Darren Cronian of Travel Rants also runs a home/villa rental business, Worldwide Holiday Homes, with a variety of properties available across the globe.  The Perrin Post has a whole section on villa/apartment rentals.

You can even get close to the land and explore agritourism farm stays worldwide, or maybe take your house with you in an RV.

Think beyond the hotel room next time you travel.

Update 7 May 2007:  The ever-useful Budget Travel Online has an article on unique hotels and alternative lodgings.

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