Guilt-Free Getaways: The Affordable Travel Club

vacation exchange club
In today's market when the unemployment rate is high and cost continues to rise on all goods, everyone has a more difficult time reaching into their pockets. Any plans for a getaway or vacation may include hesitation, but there are affordable options that can leave you feeling guilt-free.

Ways to Reduce the Expense of a Getaway or Vacation
There are different ways one can take a getaway or vacation on a reasonable and affordable budget. Consider shortening the length of stay, or better yet, consider options like house swapping. One of the top expenses to a getaway or vacation is lodging. Depending on your location, one might need to dish out as much as $300 per night for a room.

One interesting way to help cut the cost of lodging is through a hospitality exchange club called The Affordable Travel Club. This club offers 2,400 locations that provide a home away from home experience, including locations in urban cities, the suburbs, rural towns, and resorts. And just like you may receive continental breakfast at a hotel, the hospitality exchange through this club does the same. Club members may be host, and when it's time for them to be the traveller other club members may serve as their host.

How Does a Hospitality Exchange Club Work?
In general, these exchange clubs are a collection of members who are willing to open their homes or properties to travellers to accommodate their lodging needs. In return, members will also receive lodging accommodations when it's time for their travel. In particular to The Affordable Travel Club, lodging is available throughout the U.S. and in 50 other countries. Rules and restrictions do apply, such as you must be at least 40 years of age to become a member. There is also a small gratuity per day to the host (typically $20 per day for a couple). That sounds much more affordable than spending $300 per day. Travellers will also have the availability of the host for about an hour to address any questions, to be informed about the accommodation, and the host will also serve breakfast each day.

The program is fairly straight-forward. All members have access to a directory listing detailing locations where accommodations are available and information on what the accommodation offers. Members directly contact the host on any questions and make arrangements. All you have to do next is pack your bags and be ready to receive a friendly welcome and greeting from your host.

The Club's enrollment forms are available on the Web site and provide details on submission and payment requirements. Membership dues are yearly and based on the calendar year. Fees are based on location and whether you opt for the online version or print version of the club membership directory.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of a Hospitality Exchange Club
Hospitality exchange clubs have advantages and disadvantages like all things. In particular to The Affordable Travel Club, as a host the gratuity received is small for accommodating travellers, but that expense is easily offset by the minimal lodging cost you'll have to pay when it's time for your next trip. Hosts are not expected to provide accommodations more than 3 times a year, however, it is at the hosts discretion. This is a great feature as there is no real pressure to serve as a host.

These arrangements may not only offer you more comfort while travelling by feeling like you're staying in your home away from home, but it's also an opportunity to build a friendship with your host. Your host is someone who is familiar with the area and can provide you inside tips and information to make your travel experience even more enjoyable. The directory also offers “Other Affordable Lodging” information where hotels, B&Bs, and rental properties are offered at higher cost levels, but still economical for one's budget.

So, if you're on a tight budget but don't want to give up on that getaway or vacation, consider joining a hospitality exchange club. This is a guilt-free way to continue to enjoy travel!


written by: W. Lau


Image courtesy of Artur84 /

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