Cheap sleep, part II

In my last post, I told you how to use new 2.0 resources to find a low-cost place to stay as an alternative to costly hotels. But cheap accommodation is only half the equation. The other half is to reduce or offset the monthly cost of your empty house. Here are three approaches that will save you big time.

[ See also: What kind of digital nomad are you? ]

Of course, for the hard-core lippy (location independent professional), nothing beats selling the house and going totally nomad. But most people aren't quite ready for a radical step like that. Here are three alternative approaches that can lower the costs of your empty house while you pay a "second rent" abroad. 1. Semi-nomadism Semi-nomadism is something of a compromise between selling and not selling. Call it downsizing. I actually went through this process myself recently. My wife and I got rid of our three-bedroom house and moved into a studio. We sold, gave away, donated or threw away half our possessions. We put about a quarter into storage, and kept the rest. The studio serves as our "home base" while we're in town. But when we're away, its low cost frees up the rest of our "shelter budget" for hotels, motels, B&Bs, rooms and so on. I toss off this information like it's no big deal. But, obviously, it is. The whole process took a few months of planning and a couple months of execution. (Getting rid of stuff is by far the hardest part.) 2. Rent your house An alternative to lowering the cost of home-base housing is to generate income from it. You can do this the old-fashioned way, and simply become a renter. My sister and brother-in-law decided to take their children on a one-year tour of the United States towing and living in a beautifully restored Streamline trailer. They rented their house for the year, charging a little more for rent than their mortgage. Then there's the new-fangled way, which is through short-term rental. You can use the same services I mentioned in my previous column to rent your own house or apartment while you're away. 3. House exchange sites And, finally, there's the venerable house exchange. In this arrangement, you simply swap your house for somebody else's, often in another country. There are a great many sites online for making these arrangements. The combination of finding alternative, low-cost options for shelter while traveling plus lowering or offsetting the cost of your home base can keep housing costs constant while you explore a much more adventurous lifestyle. In many cases, you can even lower the costs of housing, and actually save money as a digital nomad. Have you downsized, rented while traveling or done a house exchange? I'd love to hear from you if you have (please post in the comments area below). ALSO: Are YOU interested in location independent, digital nomad living? Please add this blog to your RSS reader and follow me on Twitter!

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