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New York Times

In Transit A Guide for Intelligent Travel

March 30, 2010, 12:45 pm

Q&A: Swapping an Apartment for One in Rome

By Rusha Haljuci

Q.

My family and I will travel to Rome and Ventotene, Italy, this July. Since we have a two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan, we’re considering an apartment swap. Although there are many Web sites that cater to swaps, it’s been hard finding one that seems trustworthy or highly recommended. Any suggestions?

Delia Brako,
New York

 

A.

Craigslist has a free “housing swap” section on its Web site, which allows you to search for listings or post your own apartment. (This is the first stop for our Frugal Traveler columnist, Matt Gross, when he’s looking to rent an apartment.) But if the results on Craigslist seem too unpredictable or unsatisfactory to you, there are other reputable sites, though most charge a fee.

In the Medium column for The Times Magazine (see “Swapland,” June 15, 2008), Virginia Heffernan wrote about various bartering options, including vacation-home swapping, and mentioned several Web sites that specialize in home swaps. HomeLink-USA.com, which she called a “golden oldie,” charges $115 a year for membership, allowing you to post listings on its site and contact other members; a free listings search is also available, but contact information is not displayed to nonmembers. Katie Costabel, co-owner of the site with her husband, Karl, told me that problems among swappers, when they occur, are minor, like issues about cleanliness.

Ms. Heffernan liked HomeExchange.com’s easy reverse-search option, which would allow you to find people who want an apartment in New York and see what they have to offer. Membership is $9.95 a month, or $120 a year (or a three-month option for $15.95 a month). Ed Kushins, president of the company, said living in New York is an advantage, as apartments here are in high demand.

 

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