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In my last blog post, I told you all about my travel addiction, and one way we've discovered to make things a little more affordable... by doing house swaps through homeexchange.com. I said I'd be back with Part Two of the story in a week's time, but that was back in June... oops! Now it's almost the end of July. Turns out that taking care of my 4-month old daughter and preparing for our upcoming holidays has taken up all my time.
But anyway, here I am with Part Two. I'd love to tell you about our travel plans for August and September, and how it's not costing us a penny. Honestly.
I'm on maternity leave, so the budget is extra tight these days. Ian's going to take some parental leave too, so we can both be off work for a couple months, enjoying precious time with Little C. And since there's no real reason why we have to stay in town, we wanted to hit the road.
We looked for a home exchange, but couldn't find one that worked (either the dates or the destination were wrong). So we decided to try renting out our house as a vacation property, just to see what would happen. We put it up on the popular vacation rental website Airbnb, and were overwhelmed with the response. Very quickly, our home was booked for 5 weeks - 1 week each for 5 different families.
We then turned around and booked our own vacation rental properties (a cottage through cottagecountry.com and a NYC apartment through Airbnb). Both places we've rented cost less than what we're renting our house for, so we've made enough money to cover our travel expenses. The picture above is from the cottage we've rented - I cannot wait to dive into that lake!
For the most part, renting out our house has been a breeze. There is some coordination involved though - we have arranged for the house to be professionally cleaned between renters, and a friend will act as our "house host" while we're away (should emergencies arise, she will be nearby). Since we've done home exchanges before, we know how to prepare the house for guests. We clear out space in the closets, and put away any valuables. We have a "home binder" with basic instructions about the place and how things run.
Airbnb takes care of all the payments (they charge the renters, and then deposit money into my PayPal account). They also oversee a $500 damage deposit for us, and are available if we have any issues with our renters. They charge a 3% fee for using their service, but I figure it's well worth it. If you want to know more about my dealings with Airbnb, let me know, and I'll be happy to share more info.
We hit the road this Friday, so you'll have to wait another month or so to hear how it all went. I promise to report back once we're home again.
And if you're thinking about doing a home exchange, or renting out your place while you travel, I strongly encourage you to go for it. You wouldn't believe how many people want to come stay in Leslieville. Case in point - since I last blogged about home exchanging, we received an email from a family in Edinburgh who want to do an exchange with us in Spring 2012. They're excited about being in Leslieville, and it sounds like it's going to work for us. Scotland, here we come!
Enjoy the rest of your summer, whether you're getting out of town, or sticking around.
[Want more blog posts about travel and living in Leslieville? Check out Stuff Avery Likes]