I’ve Been Free on 84 Holidays—Here’s the Secret to Doing It

She has been around the world in 80 vacations.

Lizzie Sear, 51, claims She has visited 84 countries over the past six years with her partner, 52-year-old Alun Westol – and she paid only for the airfare.

Sear said she was accustomed to discounted accommodations working for IHG Hotels & Resorts, but after changing jobs, she discovered a new way to vacation on the cheap.

Signal home exchange, The website boasts of worldwide listings with annual membership starting at $175 per year. There are plenty of homes to stay in at no extra cost – the only catch is that you swap your home with the owner of your vacation destination.

“I’ve been to some amazing places, including a two-week stay in Bali,” Seer told The Sun. “I had the opportunity to stay in a private two-bed villa in Bali with its own private pool and a housekeeper who came over with breakfast every morning.”

Lizzie Sears holding a pint of beer and looking at the camera
Lizzie Sear said she has traveled to more than 80 countries after signing up for an online service that allows strangers to swap homes.
allen vestol

“It was a real pinch moment for me as the whole trip cost us £400 just for the flights,” said Sear, who also revealed she traveled to Italy, Spain, Finland, Hungary and Germany Was.

HomeExchange is an alternative Popular rental service Airbnbwhich is fell into hot water with NYC officials. app not only successfully made its way into the housing market and hurt the earnings of hotelsBut some critics blame it for contributing to the city’s housing crisis.

In January, new actions The targeting of short-term rental sites went into effect, with hosts being barred from renting “the entire registered housing unit” and required to provide proof of permanent residence as well as drawings and leases. Hosts can face up to $5,000 in damages for failing to comply with the new rules, while Airbnb has been fined $1,500 per violation.

Sear said she was hesitant to list her unit on Airbnb, explaining that she feels better about HomeExchange because of the “trust” it has among fellow travelers who are in a “similar situation.”

Lizzie Sears and Alun Westol who often travel together pictured cheers-ing glasses at a bar
Sear and Alun Vestol say they’ve traveled the world together since registering for HomeExchange.
allen vestol

She said she has had 48 visitors to her home in Ealing, west London, in six years, recalling the first-time guests were “the strangest thing” despite them being “lovely people”.

During times when she was out for work and wanted to rent out her home in exchange for a rental, the site allowed her to exchange “points” to use at a later date. Now, she not only travels to tourist spots—Barcelona is her favorite—she also tries to spot the hidden gems.

“I started looking at Baden-Baden in Germany and thought the Black Forest looked really beautiful,” she said. “We stayed in a really lovely house which was a 10 minute walk [town] Center and right in the black forest.

The Vodafone employee encourages people to swap homes, assuring reluctant commuters that it’s “not about the size, or the location” of their home. Just “as long as you have a comfortable bed and some spare closet space,” that’s what counts.

“I moved into a flat in Bologna that looked like it hadn’t been dusted in a month,” she revealed. “We put our luggage inside our suitcases, but we were only 10 minutes from central Bologna.”

“People need to make the most of what they have,” he said. “Your house doesn’t need to be big or spacious or in London because you never know where people will want to live.”

Lizzie Sears and Alun Westol take a selfie
Sears embraces the ability to travel cheaply anywhere through HomeExchange.
allen vestol

HomeExchange seems straight out of the iconic 2006 rom-com “The Holiday” — in which Cameron Diaz’s character swaps houses with a British journalist played by Kate Winslet — and manages to find small-town love Is.

One The unlikely pair also shared a similar meet-cute Via the HomeExchange website in 2021, when a New York woman swapped houses with a London man and met her British Prince Charming. but he reported in december She is no longer with the man.

However, the two women who swap houses make friends through the experience.

Lizzie Frenier wrote in the Telegraph, “None of us is still with the man we met: grand plans notwithstanding, the pull of the Atlantic was a greater force than the sizzle of a romantic connection.” “But my friendship with Camille grew stronger as the months went by.”

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