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Share and Share Alike: Vacation Home-Swaps

We in the nation's capital are supremely well positioned to swap our way to free vacation lodging. The idea is simple: You use Web sites such as Home Xchange Vacation or International Home Exchange Network--or many others--to find someone who will allow you to live in their gorgeous villa in the south of France (or wherever you'd love to travel) for a week or two while they set up housekeeping in your breathtaking Capitol Hill townhouse. The idea is that because each of you is trusting the other with house and home, the risks offset each other. And not only do you get free lodging, but you get to live in a real neighborhood and enjoy the amenities typical for a household in that location.

Hanna Rosin has an interesting piece on the Double X Web site about her own experience swapping houses. She's a braver woman than I. You go all-in on these deals. The folks using your home will cook meals in your kitchen, soak in your tub and channel-surf your TV. Some people even let their swappers borrow their car. I love the idea in theory, but I'm just not cut out for it in practice. I'm too territorial about casa di Razzi. It even annoys me when helpful houseguests put the kitchen utensils in the wrong drawers, so I just don't see myself relaxing through such a vacation. And it's a pity, because I'm probably missing out on a good thing. Have any faithful readers out there given it a try? How did it go? And what are your favorite Web sites?

By Elizabeth Razzi  |  August 18, 2009; 8:50 AM ET
Categories:  Home features , Neighborhoods  
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Next: What Next? Archie and Veronica House-Hunting?

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