April 29, 2010— -- When Daniel Chandler and his girlfriend planned their recent London vacation, they decided against paying steep rates and possibly ending up in a sterile hotel room, opting instead for a once-obscure lodging option: an apartment swap.
Chandler took a chance on staying in somebody's London home while the owner of that home vacationed in Chandler's Paris apartment at the same time.
Not only was it cheaper, but there was more space and the opportunity to really get the feel for a city.
"You get an insight into somebody's life in a foreign city," Chandler said. "You feel more at home than you would otherwise at a hotel."
If apartment swapping isn't your thing, another popular way to save on a vacation is through home rentals. Whether it's through a management company or an individual homeowner, the cost can sometimes be less than hotel rooms -- especially for large families -- and there is the added savings of having your own kitchen.
Chandler did his Paris-London swap through Luxe Home Swap and is now looking to do a second swap in Bratislava, Slovakia. He knew he wanted to get away, but wasn't sure where. When an available swap opened up, he decided to explore someplace new.
"People are very proud of where they live so they have a personal interest in showing off the area where you live," he said.