SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The cost of living in San Diego doesn’t always make it easy for local families to take vacations. Hotels and home rentals can drain a family’s savings. 10News reporter Jennifer Kastner found a local family that’s able to go jet setting without breaking the bank, thanks to a home exchange network.
Dana Fallentine, her husband, and their four kids have been taking incredible vacations at an impressive savings. “[We’re talking] thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars,” she tells 10News. Fallentine found the website Love Home Swap, which connects users with homeowners around the world. Arrangements can be made to do temporary home trades.
The fee is $240 a year. Compare that to the most recent average U.S. hotel price, which is $130 a night, according to Statistica. Members can swap homes or use points to stay in rental homes. Type in where you want to go and when. Browse the options to see photos and amenities, and then start chatting with the owner. For privacy and security, Love Home Swap does ID verification. For protection, phone numbers, email addresses and home addresses are not made visible on the website.
The Fallentine family's most memorable experience was from a swap they did with an Italian family. The Italians got to the Fallentine's home the night before the Fallentine's flew off to the Italians' home in Rome.
“I took them to Costco. They bought all this food and then they said, ‘Oh, we're going make you guys dinner.’ I’m like, ‘Totally! I’m not going to pass up a meal by real Italians. I mean, that's crazy!’”
Fallentine says when her own family home-swaps, having access to another home’s kitchen is one of the biggest cost-savers.
“If you're thinking about the food aspect, just to be able to cook your own food is amazing and [you have a] full kitchen with everything you need,” she adds.
Another perk is having access to a home's laundry room. It allows the Fallentines to save on airline baggage fees, because now they can carry-on backpacks and wash their clothes at the vacation homes. For a family wanting to live large on a small budget, she says Love Home Swap has been a game changer. “It saves money. It’s just common sense, basically,” says Dana.