I've been on 84 holidays for free – it's easy and everyone can do it | The Sun

A WOMAN has revealed how she's been on 84 holidays and stayed in places like Spain, Italy, Germany and Indonesia without spending a penny.

Lizzi Seear, 51, has been going on free trips with her partner Alun Westoll, 52, for the last six years after she learnt about house swapping.

Lizzi told the Sun Online Travel: "I used to work for IHG Hotels and Resorts and get discounted hotel rates, which I used to visit cities like Amsterdam."

When Lizzi moved jobs and could no longer book discounted hotel rooms, she was keen to go back to self-catering accommodation.

While she didn't want to put her flat on Airbnb, she quickly learnt about the Home Exchange website.

She believes there is more "trust" between travellers who chose to swap their homes because everyone is in the "same situation".

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In the last six years, Lizzi has hosted 48 guests in her home in Ealing, West London.

She said: "I remember that first time someone stayed in my flat, it felt like the weirdest thing to think about them in my flat – even though they were lovely people."

But she quickly adapted to having holidaymakers stay in her home.

At the time, Lizzi often worked away in Dublin and was able to have guests stay in her flat in exchange for "points" on the website.

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She then put the points towards other holidays that she wanted to take later on in the year.

Lizzi added: "I've stayed in some amazing places including atwo-week stay in Bali.

"I got to stay in a private two-bed villa in Bali that had its own private pool and a housekeeper who came with breakfast every morning.

"It was a real pinch-me moment because the whole trip only cost us £400 for the flights."

Lizzi has also bagged free accommodation in Italy, Spain, Germany, Hungary and Finland.

She said: "I'm pale and ginger so during the heatwave I got myself a stay in Helsinki in Finland. It was 20 degrees, which was perfect for me."

"Barcelona is my favourite place so I go back there at least once a year too."

But Lizzi has also used the free accommodation to visit places in Europe that typically attract fewer tourists.

"I started looking at Baden-Baden in Germany and thought that the black forest looked really beautiful.

"We stayed in a really beautiful home, which was a 10-minute walk from the centre and right in the black forest."

For the rest of the year, Lizzi has just one exchange confirmed in Barcelona because she may be moving to Singapore with her partner.

She said: "This doesn't mean I'll stop using Home Exchange, it might even mean we can explore Southeast Asia."

Lizzi, who currently works in the marketing team at Vodafone, had some advice for anyone thinking of dipping their toe into the house-swapping waters.

She said: "People get really bogged down in their home, but it's not about the size, or the location, as long as you have a comfortable bed and clear some space in the wardrobe that's all the matters."

"I went to a flat in Bologna which looked like it hadn't been dusted for a month.

"We kept our stuff inside our suitcases, but we were only 10 minutes outside central Bologna."

"People need to make the most of what they have. Your home doesn't need to be large or spacious or in London because you never know where people want to stay."

And Lizzi isn't the only person who has used Home Exchange to snap up free accommodation across the UK and Europe.

Anna Bundock, 46, and her husband Pete, have used the house swapping website to go on 12 free holidays with their children in tow.

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Keith Barker has also used house sitting programmes to travel for the world for free.

In the last 15 years, he's lived in Mexico, Hawaii, Panama and Portugal without spending a penny on hotels and other accommodation options.

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