indulging · travel

Frugal Living Travel Home Exchange

A reader recently had a few questions about saving on travel and home exchanges. Here they are:

Go Gingham Home Exchange
This lovely home was a house swap did to Victoria, British Columbia.

When you do a home exchange, do you let them use your car?

We always offer to let our guests use our car as part of our home exchange but they do not necessarily always decide to use it. A few times they have taken us up on it, but other times they have rented a car or have driven here so it was not necessary.

Where do you find the best deals on flights?

The short answer is – normally on an airline specific website. The longer, and more realistic answer, is by using multiple airline flight/price aggregator sites. We check KAYAK, Orbitz, and Expedia. Next, sorting through their results for the best price (that also suits our schedule), then heading over to the specific airline to see if they happen to have a special deal, or the specific flight, for a cheaper price.

TripAdvisor is another site we use to read reviews and get feedback from travelers.

 Exchange travel to Austria
A home exchange we did to Austria. Yes, they were singing ‘The Sound of Music’ tunes!

When you plan a vacation, do you first check for the best airfare or work out the home exchange, then search for airfares?

We have always worked out the home exchange first, then gone ahead with the booking of flights. This is really because you never know where your home exchange will end up. The best chance to secure a successful home exchange is to be open and flexible on dates and locations. So, if you have tickets booked for a particular country, at a particular time, and the home exchange either doesn’t happen (or happens, but somewhere else) you could easily ending up spending more than you saved on the “super cheap” flight. We once were dead set on going to Italy (anywhere in Italy) and were starting to check out flights because they seemed really good. Alas, nothing in Italy (anywhere) worked out, so we were glad we hadn’t purchased any tickets.

Happy travels to you! If you’ve written about saving on travel, please share the link in the comments below.

What tips would you add to this list?

Go Gingham related links:

6 Essential Items for Air Travel” including how to limit drooling on your neighbor!
Our first home exchange is here
Travel packing tips with a PDF chart are here
Getting ready for a home exchange tips and house warming gift ideas
Want to keep food costs low while traveling? Try these tips!
Home swapping and eating like a local – foodies will love this!

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7 thoughts on “Frugal Living Travel Home Exchange

  1. I have also found the best prices on airline websites rather than aggregators, especially for international flights. I’ve mentioned it to others and they think I’m crazy!


    1. It’s funny how the prices are for airlines! We bought some airline tickets today and after clearing the cookies off both computers, I think we got some pretty good deals. We used miles, too, which is tricky when paying for one ticket and using miles for another.
      Thanks for the tip, Jen! 🙂


  2. Sara – I am so glad I learned about home-swapping from you! You explain it so well and it just makes sense. My kids were really reluctant to try it, but I think they saw that it isn’t weird at all. Thanks for all of your help with this! I hope to do another home-exchange soon.


    1. Thanks, Annie! We really enjoyed our home exchange with you – and I still need to write about it. Where does the time go? We’re hoping to do another home swap this summer – let the home exchange dance begin!! 🙂


  3. We recently did our first home exchange thanks to Sara’s encouragement and had a great experience. We wrote about that and have lots of other travel tips, including info on things like airline tickets, rental cars, packing, and destinations on our travel blog We, like Sara, like to live well but do it on a budget. Please stop by for our tips to make the most of your travel time and budget. Enjoy your week or your weekend!


  4. This is the first I’ve heard of home exchanging. Do you have websites you use to find/advertise with?

    Sounds very interesting!


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