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  Arranging a Home Exchange  
  Home exchanges are a great way to travel in (roomy) style, at a fraction of hotel-room prices.  
     
  BY AARON RASMUSSEN  
     
 

Swapping mates may have seemed the way to go in the swinging seventies, but several decades and a few kids later, many couples are looking to apartment swaps as a better way to get a break—together. A home exchange (when you stay in someone else’s apartment while they stay in yours) enables you to bunker down in a fully equipped home—often in the best part of town—at a fraction of the cost of staying at a hotel. It’s a great option for those traveling with young children, who want the conveniences of a kitchen and multiple bedrooms. These days most families look to the Internet to swap pictures, answer questions, and make a deal. Here, a few reliable sites where you can arrange your own swap.

domus2domus.com Specify the type of accommodations you’re looking for (location, number of bedrooms, smoking or non-, pet-friendly) and detail the apartment you have to offer. When a match is made, D2D will send each party the other’s e-mail, and you are free to negotiate your own deal (a one-time fee of $25 applies).

digsville.com This home-exchange club charges an annual fee of $49.95 and allows you to search categories such as activities (beach, golf, museums), lifestyles (smoke-free, alternative, educators), and destinations (Miami, London, Vancouver) in order to find the perfect home away from home.

homeexchange.com This site offers deluxe homes and apartments in about a dozen countries around the world, from Mexico to Australia. It’s also a great source for local weekend exchanges, like, say, a Hamptons beach house or a cottage in the Catskills. A one-year membership costs $49.95—just sign up, post a picture with your listing, and the e-mail responses are sent directly to you.

invented-city.com For $50, you can submit your own listing and have access to a growing database of exchange opportunities (around 2,000 houses and apartments in more than 40 countries). The site is best for families looking for a swap in the U.S., England, or France. The annual renewal fee is $25.

holi-swaps.com With more than 10,000 members, this is a great place to list your offer (a one-year membership costs $37). Recent listings include a villa on the Côte d’Azur and a three-bedroom oceanview home on Maui’s North Shore—both in exchange for New York City digs.

craigslist.com The site’s home-exchange service is free, allowing you to list your own apartment or search for other exchanges throughout the world (though it’s most useful for U.S. trades).

 

 
     
 
From the Fall 2003 edition of the New York Family Guide
 
     
     
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