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House in ItalyPlanning a trip?

Concerned about your travel footprint?

Wallet a little thinner than you’re used to?

Whether planning to visit another state or country, house swapping is a great way to take a bite out of your travel plan footprint and save a wheelbarrow full of cash.

Ever wish you had a close friend living in every cool country you ever wanted to visit? Now you do, sort of. Home Exchange Now is a website that lets users temporarily swap their living quarters. Think of it as an international exchange program – minus the college coursework.

Users of the site pick a country, when they’d like to stay, and then search for like minded foreigners who’d like to swap houses for a spell. 

It’s easy to see how house swapping can save you some green, but what makes it ecologically green?  Houses tend not to have all the bells and whistles of large hotel complexes (nor the acreage)  – and all the resultant waste in energy and resources.

There are no endless hallways requiring climate control, no pools or hot tubs to heat, etc. Look at your home or apartment electric and heating bill, and then consider how much more it would cost to heat and cool and illuminate a hundred or so rooms. The decision to house swap is a money saving statement against such waste, one that may start a trend impactful enough to force big hotel chains to change their resource gobbling ways.

The site charges an annual membership fee to enable swaps, and pretty much every country one would wish to visit is represented. Over 4000 listings in France! More than 1000 in Italy! Of course, you’ll still have some ‘spainlin to do for the carbon belching flight required to get you to your swap destination.

But hey, if you were going to make the trip anyway, house swapping will at least shave a good deal off your accommodations footprint. Plant a few trees when you get home, if that makes you feel any better.

Image Credit: Marieks’s Flickr Photostream under a Creative Commons License.

About the Author

Soon after graduating college in 2005, I started work as a reporter in Lexington and Arlington in Massachusetts. I loved the writing and interviewing, yet felt something lacking. I now know what that something was. Though I always approached every story with respect and gave it my best effort, absent was the passion for and investment in the subject matter I was reporting on. Since then, I’ve discovered that passion - environmental issues and renewable energy. I’ve immersed myself in these disciplines and understand the link between the two. My goal is to share with the world the big things happening in our small corner of the planet.