Is the High Price of Gasoline Slashing Your Summer Vacation Budget? Don’t Cancel Your Plans, Try a Home Exchange Instead

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HOBOKEN, NEW JERSEY, April 23, 2004 - With no-cost accommodations ranging from a farmhouse in Australia to a posh penthouse in Manhattan's upper east side, and almost every other place and dwelling in between Â? the http://www.digsville.com Digsville Home Exchange Club, the online listing service for worldwide home exchange, is flooded with vacationers looking for a summer swap.

With no-cost accommodations ranging from a farmhouse in Australia to a posh penthouse in Manhattan's upper east side, and almost every other place and dwelling in between – the http://www.digsville.com Digsville Home Exchange Club, the online listing service for worldwide home exchange, is flooded with vacationers looking for a summer swap.

Home exchange or “swapping” as it is affectionately referred to was a little known travel secret in academia since the 50’s and has quietly grown to include families, singles, and seniors spanning many professions and lifestyles. Why the swell of interest? According Helen Bergstein, veteran swapper and founder of Digsville. “Maybe it’s the softening economy, the security of visiting a destination as an invited guest, or simply the convenience and comfort of staying in a well-equipped home - whatever the reason, it’s going to be a hot summer for home exchange.”

What advice does Bergstein offer for the uninitiated? “Home exchange is really simple when you follow a few ‘golden rules.’ Practice good communication. Be specific about your offer, as descriptive as possible in your listing and establish ‘do’s and don’ts ahead of time. The more reference points you have when initiating a swap the more successful the outcome will be. Based on years of member feedback the Digsville home listing now provides a member profile to describe his or her hobbies, interests, affinity groups, languages spoken and even delves into quirky housekeeping questions. A response such as ‘Don't even think about eating off my floor’ will keep Oscar and Felix from ever crossing paths.”

“After I became a member of Digsville and cruised the listings, it’s like a light bulb went off in my head,” says Claire Pertalion, a member since summer 2000. “Here I am, a self-confessed ‘travelholic,’ and I will never have to pay for a hotel room again! So far I’ve been to Paris and North Carolina. I figure I save more than $3200 dollars on the lodging cost alone.”

Others like the Garcia family of Brooklyn have the energy crunch on their minds. “Usually we take a long car trip in the summer to visit a national park or family members. This year, with gas prices soaring, we’re planning a couple of exchanges that are only four hours or less from home, but still a world away from our Brooklyn brownstone. We plan to stay in a Vermont mountain chalet over the 4th of July holiday and in August we’ll book a week near the beach in Connecticut. “

Of course, the Internet has played a key role in the growth of home exchange. It’s no surprise that history’s greatest communication tool would become travel’s hottest matchmaker.

For more information including trends, statistics, Helen B’s 10 Tips for a Successful Home Exchange or to schedule an interview, contact Helen Bergstein directly at 551-655-2536.

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Helen Bergstein
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