Do you dream of a Fifth Avenue shopping spree or would you prefer to hit the slopes in Aspen over Thanksgiving?

Of course, in these sought-after locales finding lodgings that are merely overpriced instead of grossly outrageous is not easy. Hotel rates have been on a tear lately and they are practically out of reach during peak vacation times. But don't discard your dreams just yet.

According to Budget Travel magazine, vacation exchange is the way to go. You simply swap your home or apartment with someone who lives where you want to visit. Everybody wins — both parties slash their vacation expenses, and the accommodations are often nicer and roomier than what you'd find at the Holiday Inn. Several vacation exchange clubs charge a small fee for listing your home and its pertinent details.

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