[The Washington Post] Strangers are temporarily swapping homes to save cash and live like locals

Home swaps are gaining popularity as many 20- and 30-something travelers yearn for what they see as an authentic experience in a time of high travel costs. (The Washington Post illustration; iStock)

Almost 20 years after Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz famously traded houses in the romantic comedy “The Holiday,” real-life home swapping is catching on.

Brianna Horn spent a leisurely three weeks vacationing in New York City in October 2022 — watching a Halloween dog parade, attending a friend’s movie premiere and seeing a Broadway play.

Meanwhile, the stranger whose apartment she was staying in was at Horn’s place in Paris, traipsing through the city’s cafes and museums.

The pair had met briefly before switching apartments to discuss their respective house rules and trade tips and recommendations about their neighborhoods. Then they set off.

“It was perfect. We both got to have our fun three weeks and live like locals,” Horn, 30, told The Washington Post. Both also saved hundreds, if not thousands, in lodging costs. “It’s kind of contagious. Now some of my friends are doing the same thing.”

The pandemic’s effects on workplace norms have also fueled the trend, said Makarand Mody, associate professor at Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration.

“The flexible nature of work, and the ability to travel and work together at the same time, lends itself well to something like home or apartment sharing and swapping,” he said. At the very least, Mody added, home swaps may lead to a cooler travel story.

Horn said she agrees. “It can give you an opportunity to have more enriching travel experience,” she said. “And you might be surprised how nice it feels to share your home with someone.”

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