Count me among those who are too concerned for strangers to be in our home.
We've been very happy paying for lodging (like a condo) directly from the
owner, instead of hotels. It's cheaper than hotels, you usually get a
place to park your car, and staying in a place with a full kitchen also helps
keep food costs lower, too. (You can google for website such as these.)
Home exchange is awesome. I've gone on several trips that I wouldn't
have been able to afford if I'd have had to pay for hotel.
My brother in NY has done this many times with pretty good success, but I find
it a little odd and nerve wracking. Once he came home to bed bugs in his house
and had to throw out his mattresses, and another time a family ruined an afghan
my mother had spent 6 months making and given to my sister-in-law. Then she
asked my mom to make another one for her - I think my mom said "no way."
Anyway, on second thought maybe they haven't had the best of