How to Have the Best Vacation on Any Budget

Vacationing doesn’t have to be expensive, if you’re smart about your financial planning. One of the best ways to save money on a vacation is to leverage your existing home for a vacation home exchange with us, The Vacation Exchange Network. However, there are many other ways to save money on a trip besides house swapping, and we’re going to share a few for when you book your next vacation, whether it be across the country or around the world.

how to save money on a vacation

Original image used under Creative Commons from Flickr user fdecomite

Travel in an Area’s “Off Season”

Every destination you visit will probably have an off season, or a period of time when it’s not as busy. These are the times where you can expect to have a pleasurable vacation, because activities, recreational parks, etc, won’t be as crowded, and you can probably find good rates. By simply searching online for your destination plus the words “off season” in Google, you can determine when’s a good time to go. Now granted, the off season may be a time when the weather isn’t ideal, so be prepared. However, sometimes the off season is just a season where the travel dips because kids are still in school and it’s harder for people to take off work. You can enjoy a less-crowded vacation at a great price, especially when you participate in a house exchange. Our homes are available for vacation home exchange throughout the year, so take a look today if you’re interested in house swapping!

Find Coupons for Attractions, Restaurants and More

Once you’ve decided where you’re visiting, it’s time to start looking for ways to save money! Many locations you may visit will have discounts. You may decide to visit an area where there’s attractions, and most attractions (with the exception of Disney and Universal) have coupons in local travel brochures in the area, or you can find coupons online. Sometimes the official visitors website for a destination, such as Palm Beach, Houston, etc, will have an option for discounts. If you’re visiting a popular destination for families, visit parenting message boards and blogs to find sources for discounts as well, and don’t forget Pinterest!

Keep Food Expenses Down

Food is one of the most priciest purchases you can make on a vacation. Instead of going out for breakfast every day, why not bring your own breakfast food? Once you get to your destination, you can find a nearby grocery or pack your own options for breakfast. Our house exchange properties come with great kitchens, so you can prepare eggs and other breakfast staples. You can’t go wrong with packing muffins, protein or breakfast bars, snack mixes, plus cereal in grab-and-go containers. You’ll save yourself time and money, even if you don’t embark on a vacation home exchange.

Travel On the Right Days

There are certain days that are better to travel on than others, especially in the airline industry. When you’re looking for plane tickets for your next trip, try a variety of different departure days, if possible. It’s better to fly on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, because those are the least popular flight days. You may be able to get a ticket that’s $50-$100 off if you opt for flying on these days rather than Mondays and Sundays. You may also consider picking a very early flight time. Yes, you will be tired but the earlier you get in, the more hours you get to enjoy on your first day of vacation. Instead of departing at 1:00 p.m., consider taking in the early hours of the morning, such as 6 or 7.  Don’t forget to start looking for airline tickets on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and not the weekend!

Pack Smart

Why tote a large suitcase and a carry on on your next trip? If you’re flying, pack smart by making it easy by getting rid of the large cumbersome suitcase, especially if you’re only going to be gone a few days. You may combine all of the family members clothes into one big suitcase, instead of three small ones as well. You’ll save on luggage fees, because which would you rather pay, one suitcase for $25 or 3 suitcases at $25 each? Sams, TJ Max and other discount stores have large size suitcases that are fairly inexpensive. March is known as one of the best times to buy new luggage, because winter is over and summer has started yet, so stores put luggage on big discount. Take the time to snag a good durable large suitcase if you feel like you’ll need one for an upcoming trip or house exchange!

We’re big proponents of one of the best ways to save money on vacation, house swapping. Our properties are located throughout the world, and none of them are rentals. Instead, they’re all second homes owned by travel lovers just like you! If you want to know more about the network, see our properties, or get in contact, please visit our website!



4 Romantic Destinations for a Winter House Swap Getaway

House swapping can be one of the romantic trips you’ll go on, if you choose the right destination! We’ve got the perfect places for a romantic winter getaway in 2014 or 2015! You’ll find the areas below have exchange homes that you’ll find yourself never wanting to leave. This winter, find some romance and relaxation at the following locations. They’re all part of The Vacation Exchange, a travel network that lets you leverage a stay in your vacation home for a stay in another party’s vacation home.


Yes, Wyoming is romantic! Just imagine the scenery that awaits you on a house swap in Wyoming. We have Wyoming vacation properties in Jackson, Jackson Hole and more. You could take a trip to the see the majestic Yellowstone National Park, which features an abundance of wildlife, or indulge a little shopping in some of Wyoming’s quaint small towns, browsing for antiques and more. Want some adventure while staying at one of our exchange homes? Head out on the slopes, then end the day with a cozy fireplace crackling and cups of piping hot chocolate!

New Zealand

New Zealand received a lot of attention from the Lord of the Rings films, and the views are amazing. Picture yourself enjoying yourself in one of our vacation properties available for house swapping, headed to the beach. That’s right, the weather in December in New Zealand is nice and sunny! You can have a splash in the water, and catch some rays on the gorgeous sand. Imagine a barbecue for two grilling out on the beach, or playing golf as a duo. Love wine? New Zealand has some great wine trails!

Photo used under Creative Commons from Sarahtz

Photo used under Creative Commons from Sarahtz

St. Kitts

St. Kitts is a top destination for honeymooning, but you can make a vacation to remember when you go on a house swap. Our St. Kitts and Nevis vacation properties bring all of the comforts of home right to you, so you can focus on your vacation. The area is small, but there’s plenty to do, like snorkeling, exploring the rainforest, and fishing.  If you’re an adventurous sort, you can beat going to a volcano! Mount Liamugia is a 3,792 dormant volcano that you can explore on a guided tour. Several activity options including horseback riding and four-wheeling are also nearby. While the folks back home are stuck inside due to snow, you’re out exploring a volcano with your sweetheart. Could it be better? That’s the beauty of house swapping.


Illinois has a certain appeal in the winter. The streets of Chicago look magical, with lights and snow, but there’s also Galena. It’s a big destination for weekend getaways, and our Galena properties are perfect exchange homes. Maybe you take in a bit of arts and culture, with a stop at one of the area’s galleries, or maybe a show at the Diamond Jo Casino. We have homes in resorts that offer plenty of ambiance and activities for a couples weekend of fun! Horseback riding, spas, and more are available when you on a house swap today!

The Vacation Exchange has properties throughout the world, just waiting for you! Come try a bit of relaxation in a quaint cottage or tear up the slopes at a cabin tucked high in the mountains. Our properties are all vacation properties that are completely second homes!



10 Clever Travel Gifts for the Holidays

Finding the perfect gift can be hard, and sometimes it may seem downright impossible. However, if you have a travel lover in your life and need to have a thoughtful gift, you’re in luck as I’ve chosen 10 unique gift ideas for travel fans, or maybe even yourself! As home swapping experts, we know how great travel can be, and what travelers love! Read on and get a few suggestions for your gift list.

Scratch Travel Journal

Perfect for the friend who loves to travel the world, this journal is by Uncommon Goods. It contains a trip planner, checklist, journal pages and more for use. Inside the traveler will find continent maps that feature scratch-offs so travelers can mark off where they’ve been and where they’re going to go on their voyage to a new place.

USB Portable Chargers

Nothing sucks the fun out of a vacation like a phone or tablet out of juice at the airport or in the car. You can minimize the chance of this happening with a portable USB charger. Many of the brands on the market are equipped to handle a number of device types, including Apple and Androids. It’s perfect for anyone who forgets to bring the wall adapter for their charger when on a home exchange.

Custom Instagram Photo Products

Everyone loves taking photos on their home exchange vacations, and many people share their photos on Instagram. Don’t let those photos sit online dormant when you can make them into a great travel gift! How about a custom-printed book featuring your favorite Instagram photos? Print Studio will let you put your photos not only in a book, but also on t-shirt, calendar, and more. You can share your memories of each house swap together.

Personalized Airport Departure Board

It’s time to step it up a notch with a personalized travel gift that will make them smile all year long. Think about your favorite destinations, either places you went together, or places you’ll go on a home exchange soon. You can have them added to a board and include the year of departure. Up to 10 places and dates can fit on the board, and the text recreates the same familiar text of a real departure board. It’s a great way to celebrate all of the home swapping you’ve embarked upon over the years.

GoToob Travel Bottle

This next option will stop the worry of remembering to pack a travel-size bottle of your favorite product in your carry-on. Humangear’s GoToob Travel Bottle has a no-drip valve and are airline-approved, holding 3.o oz of product. Plus they’ve got a sleek design and will make sure you know exactly what product is which since they have a spot for you to write the contents. It’s a good to get your packing all ready for your house swap.

Custom Luggage Tags

If you fly a lot, you may notice that bags at the airport all look alike. Why not minimize the chance a travel lover’s bag getting confused with another traveler’s bag, and offer custom luggage tags? Etsy is a great place for handmade luggage tags you’ll want to take on your next home swapping trip. We’ve linked to one set, but you can get them made of all types of material, with your choice of text, font size, and more.

Packing Accessories

Helping someone get the best packing for their time and energy is a great gift for this year.  Travel Packing Cubes let you organize and pack everything efficiently, so your clothes and belongings aren’t disorderly when you arrive for your house swap. By compartmentalizing your stuff into these or similar packing cubes, you don’t have to dig in the bag through everything just to find one thing, such as a charger or toothbrush. Giving the gift of organization means you give a gift that can last year after year – each time they travel!

Travel Books

Giving travel inspiration is always a good choice, especially in the form of a beautifully illustrated book or travel memoir. Wild is an upcoming movie that features the tale of Cheryl Strayed, who hikes the 1,000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, and is a bestselling book that will probably be under many trees this Christmas! If you’d rather go for a coffee table book, you can give a gift that will last all year long with an option like Drives of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Most Spectacular Tripswhich features pictorials of 500 scenic drives around the world. It’s by National Geographic and offers gorgeous photos they’ll want to look at again and again.

Noise Canceling Headphones

Riding on a train or plane, or any type of public transportation, sometimes you need to escape into your own thoughts. Here’s why a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones comes in. Some, like this Bose pair, even integrate with your smartphone, helping you take calls as well. The recipient of these or similar headphones will be able to listen to the music without disturbing other travelers, and slip into a world of their own sound. Plus they’re way less likely to get tangled than Apple headphones.

Travel Tea and Coffee Tumblers

It doesn’t matter where you go, a good drink should always be at hand. Whether it’s coffee or tea, a solid travel tumbler is just the thing to start off your days. Try a large 14 oz or big thermal mug that can keep drinks nice and hot until the end, or pt for something to help you get the perfect cup of loose tea, even while on vacation! A glass option lets you not worry about plastic and is easy to wash in the dishwasher. You can even get options that reflect the recipients interest, such as nature or books, with custom-designed tumblers. Maybe even decide to give a picture of the two of you together on a mug. Think it through and you’ll find a great one.

Please visit The Vacation Exchange Network’s site to join our home swap network, to learn more about how home exchanges work, or see all of our properties at great destinations all over the world. You can also follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook!






A Winter Without Snow: Best Hot Climates for a December Vacation

If you’re currently in a cold climate, you might be wishing for a holiday exchange in warmer temperatures. At The Vacation Exchange, we have properties in some of the best hot climates around the world. The snow may blow and the ice may come in your hometown, but you’ll be comfortable in a t-shirt and shorts when you head to some of these destinations on a vacation house swap. Here are five picks for hot climates this winter.

South Africa

Photo used under Creative Commons from Flickr user mariya_umama_wethemba_monastery

The Kirstenboch National Botanical Gardens – Photo used under Creative Commons from Flickr user mariya_umama_wethemba_monastery

Recommended by The Lonely Planet and Conde Nast, South Africa is a great destination for a house swap this winter. Our exchange homes are available in areas including the Western Cape, Western Province, and Umlodti. South Africa’s winter is in June and runs to August, so if you’re looking to depart for a warm climate in December, it should definitely be on your list! Several of our Cape Town properties are available year-round, and feature amazing views and more. Capetown is a popular pick, and you might consider visiting attractions like Cape Point Nature Reserve or the Kirstenboch National Botanical Gardens while there.

The Bahamas

A classic for vacation for good reason, The Bahamas are a great place to visit during a winter vacation. Our Bahama vacation homes are only second homes, they are not regular residences, and thus, they offer a great place to retreat from the cold. The area is perfect for fans of deep sea fishing, diving, and other aquatic sports. Some of our exchange homes even have a dock attached. Visit areas like Nassau or Harbour Island are great for a house swap this winter. There’s activities galore, and don’t forget the great restaurants! Swim with sting rays, catch some rays on the beach, and just relax.


Ever wanted to visit Australia? December is one of the warmest months for Australia, so it’s a great destination for a holiday exchange. The continent is a good place to watch wildlife and do sight seeing at attractions like the Sydney Harbour Opera House or Blue Mountains National Park. Our vacation homes in Australia include locales like Sydney and Queensland. Stay for a while in Melbourne and try attractions like the Opal Mines, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the Royal Exhibition Building. South Australia is fun as well for a vacation and you can head out on the Fleurieu Peninsula, located 45 minutes away from Adelaide. There’s surfing, animal farms, canoeing, and plenty more for you or your family to do you when you stay at one of our exchange homes.


Watch any vacation-home hunting show on HGTV, and you’ll see a number of episodes shot in Belize. Why? Belize is appealing for a vacation because it’s full of lush natural beauty and has a great climate. The Belize vacation homes available in the network so you can have a home swap in Cayo, San Pedro or Stann. Besides the breathtaking wildlife such as wild toucans, jaguars and more, Belize has multiple Mayan ruins to visit and climb – if you can stand the steep stairs! These ruins include Xunantunich and Cahal Pech. Whether you want a guided tour or just want to visit the structures at your own pace, Belize has options for your wishes on a holiday exchange. Want to do more in Belize during your trip? Try visiting some of the beautiful botanical gardens, underground caves, or even the butterfly ranch. For those who want a taste of adventure, there’s rafting, canoeing, ziplining, and all kinds of outdoor recreation.

Santa Rosa Beach, Florida

How about a warm weather vacation that doesn’t require a passport or a long flight? Yes this is Florida, but it’s a gem of vacation place, especially for families. Why go to Destin when several of our Santa Rosa Beach, Florida vacation homes are just as splendid as a Destin condo? Most of our properties are three or more bedrooms, plus have pools and easy beach access. You could even walk to Seaside, the famous Victorian-style beach town where the movie The Truman Show was filmed with Jim Carrey. If you want to leave the beach for awhile, there’s golf courses, chartered fishing services, and charming shops.  Don’t forget to try a visit to seafood restaurants while you’re there! Once you’ve wound down, you can start your next day off with a fun lesson in sandcastle building, and learn how to sculpt sand into captivating scenes on the beach. The waves may wash away your work, but the memories will last!

If you look out your window and see frost, it may be time to get away this holiday. Consider having a vacation in some of these great sunny and enjoyable areas this winter!

Please visit The Vacation Exchange Network’s site to join our home swap network, to learn more about how home exchanges work, or see all of our properties at great destinations all over the world. You can also follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook!