Digsville.com Home Exchange Offers Alternatives to 'Short-Stay' Vacation Trend

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As Americans battle record-high gas prices along with rising hotel and airline ticket costs, family vacations are becoming noticeably shorter. Digsville.com Home Exchange Club members are bucking this short-stay vacation trend by avoiding hotel bills altogether.

We pick a country every year and go there for three months, doing 3-5 home exchanges over the months.

A full one-half (103 million) of US adults have switched to quick weekend trips for their vacations over the past year, snapping up relatively cheap last-minute deals whenever possible, in an effort to afford at least some kind of get-away. The Travel Industry Association of America (TIA) figures are bolstered by its Domestic Travel Market Report which notes that the average traveler spends only 3.3 days in a hotel room, motel, or bed and breakfast.

After factoring return travel time, a long weekend doesn’t leave many hours for rest and relaxation. And these days, when the National Sleep Foundation says we’re already sleeping nearly two fewer hours a night than we were two decades ago, Americans are in need of some serious downtime.

Don and Geralynn Myrah have discovered a way to afford a yearly 12-week vacation. They forego hotels altogether and swap their house with other traveling families. It’s simple, says Myrah: “We pick a country every year and go there for three months, doing 3-5 home exchanges over the months.” Similarly, Evelyn Aker’s family of five has been able to afford “eleven home exchanges all over the world within the last 10 years.” In fact, this year the family will vacation for a total of five weeks – exchanging with families in California and in North Carolina – with not a hotel bill in sight.

In addition to hotel room savings, home exchange enthusiasts note that the family car and sporting equipment (think boats, jet-skis, etc.) can be thrown into the swap mix. This not only translates into higher savings on rentals, but also allows vacationers to try activities they might have otherwise been unable to afford or simply never had the opportunity at hand.

Even pet owners can save considerably – and not just in terms of cash. The time spent chasing down pet-friendly accommodations can be onerous and then there’s the guilt of leaving a sad-eyed bundle of fur at the kennel which can completely ruin an otherwise perfect vacation.

Finding like-minded pet lovers with whom to exchange homes opens up the option of bringing Fido along with the luggage. That’s good news to the nearly 15% of the traveling American public who, according to the TIA, don’t leave home without their pet.

Another choice is to exchange pet sitting services. For instance, Beth Berry’s household in Anguilla, the British West Indies, includes Daisy, an eight-month old puppy, as well as an adult cat. Swapping pet care duties with their New Jersey exchange partners likely saved the family in the neighborhood of $500 in kennel fees alone. As Beth says, a little wryly, “That’s either another airline ticket or a whole lot of cat litter.”

For additional information on Digsville Home Exchange, contact company founder Helen Bergstein or visit Digsville Home Exchange Club. To schedule an interview Geralynn Myrah, Evelyn Aker and/or Beth Berry, please contact Helen Bergstein.

About Digsville Home Exchange:

Digsville Home Exchange was founded in 1998 to provide travelers with an alternate travel lifestyle, freeing them from hotel bills forever. The site offers a range of informative articles, tips and stories by first-time and veteran home exchangers, with hundreds of home exchange listings to browse (for free, of course).

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Helen Bergstein
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