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BellaOnline's Budget Travel Editor


Paris on $50 a day?

Guest Author - Jim Fortune

Paris on $50 a day? Did I read that correctly? O.K. $50 might be a little high. I know some people who have done Paris and Florence Italy for less than $50. So how did they do it?

I don't think it is a stretch to say that the largest part of any travel budget after you pay for the airfare to get to where you are going is the high cost of the place to stay. Hotel, motel, B&Bs, rooms to let, all start around $75 per night.

If you are paying $75 a night it might be a hostel or one of those room share places where you get to sleep with 20 other people in a dorm style arrangement - boys in one room, girls in the other. So the first thing you need to do is to figure out how you can stay in a place in Paris or London for free.

When I say staying at a place, I mean a place that has a living room, kitchen, bathroom, one, two or more bedrooms, maybe even a car to use while you are there.

The arrangement would be a residence swap. You would arrange to swap your place at home for someone else's place in Paris or London or where ever they are located.

The first place to check would be Craig's List. This is the link to Craig's List in Paris for example: Paris Craig's List. You could also start at Craig's List and choose from a list of countries to visit on the right hand side of the page.

For this illustration, I choose France, and then I choose Paris. I could have chosen Marseille (a favorite city in France) or Cote d'Azur, Bordeaux or ten other cities on a list.

You might not find what youy are looking for in a swap and in that case you might have to advertise a swap you are interested in. Say you live in Boston, you might post "My Boston for your Marseille". In your ad, state the times when you are available for the swap and what you have to offer in the post. It might be something like, "3 BR, 3 bath, apartment in Newton right outside of Boston. We are one block from the train line to downtown. Our place has a swimming pool and tennis courts for residents to use and we will provide you a list of places to visit, the trains to take and places to eat. The Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe's are both close by. These are excellent grocery stores where you can purchase great food at good prices."

You get the idea. Be creative, but don't lie. Be willing to exchange photos of your place and the amenities you have to offer. One swap I read about had a car available for the swapper to use in France.

You might not want to use Craig's List for a variety of reasons. In that case, check out these other sites for places to swap. Most of these may have some sort of membership fee to pay but you can go to the web sites and check around to see what is available:
Home Exchange
Intervacus specializes in overseas homes
Digsville members can rate places where they stayed after they have swapped

Despite the economy I hope you are travelling and enjoying yourself. Until next time, let me know what is on your mind, and how you are doing, O.K.?

Jim Fortune - the Bella Budget Travel Guy
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