This article in MSN today got me excited about another way to travel on the cheap. Like couch surfing, home swapping is a way to trade with others for accommodations. Couch surfing is more geared for shorter stays, and doesn't have to be simultaneous or even reciprocal. As in, you come sleep on my sofa for a weekend, and than at some point I may sleep on someone else's sofa.
Home swapping, or home exchange, on the other hand is geared for longer stays, such as a month, and is reciprocal. As in, you and I swap homes for a month. Kind of like the movie The Holiday, with Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz.
The people in this article have a condo in San Diego and swapped with a couple from Cannes for a month. I can commiserate with the San Diegans, worrying about "their dump back home" after seeing the wonderful condo in Paris with a view of Seine. My condo is small, but in Nashville and near Music Row, so it does have appeal. Maybe some around the world would want to swap with me.
But then there is the problem of time and money. Who can afford to go abroad for a month, even if the accommodations are free? The couple profiled are retired, so that works for them. Or if you are between jobs and have money saved up. Or if you have a lot of vacation time and money saved up--that would work too. I think if you can take a month off to do this, you will figure out how to pay for the rest.