One of the biggest expenses to hack while traveling is housing. While previously there was the potential to Airbnb our home to offset the costs, the changing laws in NYC quickly made that undoable. Further, our new condo strictly prohibits subletting of any kind. So this presented a new challenge - how do we travel without spending a ton on housing? We could always use our points or open a new credit card -- but we typically like to reserve those for flights. So while that is an option, I was curious to see what else we could do.
Fortunately, I stumbled onto a new hack: house-swapping. This is perfectly legal in NYC and in accordance with my condo rules ('friends' can stay but no money can be exchanged). Our first opportunity came earlier this year when a friend reached out and asked if we were interested in swapping homes with a Parisian family they knew. We had never 'done' Paris and the timing was perfect. This would be the last international flight before baby girl arrives in March 2018. So we agreed. We emailed and FaceTimed with the family (who seemed awesome) and set up the exchange of keys on both sides. They were super cool and we all had an AMAZING experience. Their home was fantastic (a 2-story townhouse set up for kids in a great location in Paris ) and our condo was perfect for them. From now on, we are going to try and swap all over the world. I'll keep you posted with where we end up next.