Spend on airfare; save on lodging?

The high cost of airfare and the unsteady economy is forcing would-be travelers to get more creative. And chummier. Especially when it comes to finding a place to stay on vacation.

Some folks are befriending – or suddenly reconnecting with – folks who own second homes in hopes of securing a weekend invitation. Others are trying to stretch their travel dollars by renting a condo or an apartment instead of a hotel.

In my Well-Mannered Traveler column on MSNBC.com this week, I share stories about what can go right – or very, very, wrong – when renting or borrowing someone else’s house and offer tips on how to avoid some classic pitfalls.