by Sandra Barron, Marie Claire
This article first appeared in the April 2006 issue of Marie Claire and is about how to get what you want without spending money.
SHARE AND SHARE ALIKE: A NEW GETAWAY
...Think you can't afford to go abroad? Rather than shell out for a pricey hotel room, some pleasure-seekers swap apartments to pare down costs. Lauren Ragland, 30, and her husband, from Brooklyn, NY, traded spaces with a Parisian named Philip. The $1500 they saved in hotel costs bankrolled a side jaunt to Barcelona- but the rewards weren't just monetary: Swapping let them "explore the city less like a tourist," says Ragland. Sure, she worried about giving a stranger her house keys carte blanche, but Philip provided references-and was an ideal houseguest. "The apartment looked better than we left it. My husband still talks about how perfectly our bed was made," she says. Maureen Dempsey, 31, saved $700 in dog-boarding expenses when she and her husband went away for two weeks and found an Irish student to stay in their home-in exchange for free pet-sitting. The unexpected upshot? Their house sitter was, conveniently, a veterinary student. And if you don't have a swanky pad to offer up, sites like Sabbaticalhomes.com and Caretaker.org let you register as a house sitter for people who want someone to keep an eye on their places.