Stephanie Anderson, Ventura
My experience: We have exchanged homes through Homeexchange.com many times, and it has always been wonderful. We have been to the Netherlands; Copenhagen; Scotland; Ottawa; Winter Park, Colo.; Seattle; the San Juan Islands of Washington state; as well as shorter weekend exchanges in Petaluma and San Francisco.
Unless we are within driving distance, we always exchange cars as well, which has saved us quite a bit. Having a home base also makes it feasible to plan mini-trips. In Ottawa, we took three days to visit Montreal and Quebec City; in the Netherlands, we took some time to explore Sweden and Norway. Having to pay for a hotel for only a few days, rather than the whole time, makes the trip far less expensive. (continued on next photo)
Pictured: Stephanie Anderson and her son Zach sled during their home swap in Winter Park, Colo.