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Is there any way I can have a cottage of my own for the duration of my holiday?
Swapping homes with locals can be a very efficient way to save resources and money. It also takes you inside a community in ways that may not be accessible to hotel-bound tourists. When you go away on vacation and leave your house empty, chances are your lights are on a timer and your stove and fridge are still plugged in. Then you stay in a hotel and pay for those same amenities going to waste back home.
- The Home Exchange Made Easy site (http://www.knowyourtrade.com/diigo.htm) contains guidelines and forms that can help you successfully and safely negotiate the trade. Some safeguards include getting interior photos of the homes, asking about the neighborhood and its amenities and requesting references;
- Houseboats, cars and other forms of transport can also be included in the exchange, so you don't have to spend on car rental;
- Home Exchange Made Easy also provides links to programs that fit your specific profile, such as a teachers' site at http://www.teacherstravelweb.com/homeexchange.html and and a seniors' site at http://www.seniorshomeexchange.com/.;
- A membership fee is usually required for access to the homeowners' contact information.
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