Thursday, September 1, 2011

Vacationing for next to nothing...Home Exchange

Another week at home wraps up for me. My husband and I are headed back to our work apartment today and then work tomorrow. We have only one week left before we head out for our last vacation this year.

About a year ago we signed up on a website that allows its members to exchange houses. You pay $90 a year and you can swap with as many people as you want. The website is and we highly recommend it.

I realize some people would feel odd having strangers stay at your house. But we figured at hotels we were sleeping on a mattress that numerous strangers were sleeping on and using a toilet that numerous strangers sat on. And we were paying about $75-$100 a night to do this.

We had also tried to rent a house which went extremely well but we pay about $400 a week for this. And with three 3-week vacations, this adds up quickly.

After watching the movie "The Holiday", we researched the Home Exchange site and thought we might try it. In case you don't know, we live in the middle of nowhere in Pennsylvania. Who would want to come to our house?

We put on about 40 photos of our house and really marketed it as a quiet and quaint place to vacation with walking and biking trails and scenic views. We posted photos of local covered bridges and county fairs.

Our first trip was to Lancaster, PA which was not too far from our home. The house was gorgeous and we enjoyed our weekend trip there.

Next we tried for Florida since we vacation there every summer. We emailed about 100-200 people (the website makes it extremely easy to bulk email) and got a few responses back. Most were "no" but a few were "maybe" and ONE was a "yes".

While we were searching for a vacation home in FL, a couple emailed from Arizona asking if they could stay at our home in September. They have a family function to attend and had to be in our area. We said yes! We were in AZ a year or two ago and loved it.

Here is a photo from our AZ vacation:

Since we have an apartment, our exchange did not have to be simultaneous. Neither did the Arizona couple since they had two homes as well. We went in May and they are due to come tomorrow.

This past July we went to FL on our Home Exchange vacation. Tarpon Springs is a unique town full of Greek history. We would have never went there on our own and it was a new experience for us. Here is a photo of us in Florida:

Next Friday we are headed to Gulf Shores, Alabama. We exchanged with an older couple who has a condo there and it is their second home. They are coming to our home next autumn. The condo is RIGHT on the beach and we are super excited. Gulf Shores is only about 45 minutes west of Pensacola. We have been to Pensacola before and loved it.

We will drive down to save money on a car rental and the condo has a full kitchen so we can prepare food and save even more money. We have been saving coupons and looking for deals on Groupon for several weeks now and we are ready.

Yesterday I found out I won a blog give-a-way. had a Publix give-a-way. I don't have a Publix where I live but there is one in FL and this will save us even more money. Yeah!

Ebay Update:

After blogging the other day and saying I was done with ebay until after we return from vacation, ebay had a 1 cent listing sale. Listing fees are normally around 35 cents to over a dollar for the higher priced items so this is a great deal. Ebay does this every once in a while. So I threw up 70 items that I had already listed. Re-lists are super easy and literally take about 2-3 minutes to do. I then did about 48 new listings. All of the listings cost me less than $1.20 - ha!

I put the listings up for only one day. This was unusual for me since I usually do 5-7 day listings. But I truly didn't have 5 or 7 days. I want to make sure I have time to ship everything out before going on vacation.

Out of the 118 listings, about 16 of them sold for a total of $320. Now these items may have sold after getting back from our vacation but I am happy to have the extra $320 now rather than later.

On another ebay note, I had purchased a third Wii lot on ebay (my last) for $130. It included a bunch of games & accessories. Those listings have 1 more day and are up to $55. I am hoping for about $70-$80 on these as well.

The highest Wii game is up to over $20 with 44 watchers (!!!). It is "Just Dance 2" which I look so silly doing but it was fun & a great work out.

Today I am finishing up cleaning the house and making sure everything is perfect for our house guests coming tomorrow.


  1. Have a great time!!!
    I love all your ideas.

  2. Take me with you!
    Have a great time

  3. How exciting!!! Home exchange....ummmm!
    I Loved that movie and have seen it twice now.

    Have even more fun on your next home exchange vacation!!


  4. Hi Kim - thanks for the comment. Home Exchanging is great. My husband and I highly recommend it. I also love the movie. Thanks for stopping by!


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