Ainslie Waldron, the author of Luxury Globetrotting on a Staycation Budget, quickly corrects us when we ask her about traveling on a budget.
"I don’t travel on a budget -- I travel in luxury on a budget," she says. She goes on at least one big trip and several smaller ones throughout the year. This year she’s planning on hitting up Gallipoli for ANZAC Day, then heading to the Greek Islands and Italy before making her way to Northern Europe. So how does she do it on a budget?
Rather than renting a hotel room or a house, she trades homes with people. She stays in homes with great balconies, lots of high-quality furniture, fully-equipped kitchens, swimming pools and the like. What’s more, oftentimes people leave her with items like skis and bicycles, as well as the apparel she needs to use them.
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First, Waldron finds the people online. From there, she shoots emails to as many people as possible. Google Earth helps her get a good look at the home before she moves in. When people get back to her, she gets to know them, finally talking a bit on Skype to get a sense of what kind of person she's dealing with. People engaging in home swaps can either do simultaneous of non-simultaneous swaps, staying at, or letting someone else stay at, their second home. This has allowed Waldron to stay at posh beach houses and mountain villas.