Home Away (800/876–4319. www.homeaway.com.)
Interhome (800/882–6864. www.interhome.us.)
Villas International (415/499–9490 or 800/221–2260. www.villasintl.com.)
With a direct home exchange you stay in someone else's home while they stay in yours. Some outfits also deal with vacation homes, so you're not actually staying in someone's full-time residence, just their vacant weekend place. Home Exchange.com is $15.95 per month for a three-month membership.
Home Exchange.com (800/877–8723. www.homeexchange.com.)
Hostels offer bare-bones lodging at low, low prices—often in shared dorm rooms with shared baths—to people of all ages, though the primary market is young travelers, especially students. Prague has a reputation as a place for young people to party, and some independent hostels can be noisy and not very clean.
Many hostels are affiliated with Hostelling International (HI), an umbrella group of hostel associations with some 4,000 member properties in more than 80 countries. Other hostels are completely independent, and may be nothing more than a really cheap hotel.
Membership in any HI association, open to travelers of all ages, allows you to stay in HI-affiliated hostels at member rates. One-year membership is about $28 for adults; hostels charge about $20–$80 per night, depending on location. Members have priority if the hostel is full; they're also eligible for discounts around the world, even on rail and bus travel in some countries.
Hostelling International—USA (301/495–1240. www.hiusa.org.)