The recession is giving new meaning to the phrase “mi casa es su casa.” Instead of springing for pricey hotel rooms and car rentals, thrifty holidaymakers are swapping with strangers for a summer getaway, Time reports. While home exchanges aren’t new—one company has been around since 1953—business is moving briskly, with one website noting a 30% increase in membership this year.
Members, who sift through dozens of applicants, liken the process to online dating—and say there's little risk of theft or damage. “Nobody is going to fly across the ocean or drive 600 miles to steal your flat-screen TV,” says one exec. New York, London, and San Francisco are among the most popular destinations, but out-of-the-way places draw interest too. Advises the exec: “Sell its virtues. Why do you enjoy living there?”