Great home exchangers ensure their home swap partners feel comfortable in their home and have a worry-free vacation. Follow our tips and make sure your home is well prepared for the swap:
1. Clean Your Home
The cleanliness of the house should be communicated and agreed in advance. You might be very organised and orderly and your exchange partner(s) might prefer a more relaxed home, or the other way around. Take these things into account when arranging a home swap. Some of our Members prefer to exchange with similar people. If you are a family with small kids, a home full of antiques might not be your best choice. Strive to clearly communicate your expectations and needs.
2. Leave Some Extra Space
Make sure your exchange partner(s) have plenty of space for their luggage, clothes, and groceries in your home. Leave some space in your closets, empty a few drawers, leave plenty of empty hangers and enough space in the kitchen. You can also let them know which items they can move around and which you would prefer they keep in place. Also, it is best to:
- Make sure there are plenty of clean towels and linens for your guests.
- Stock up on items like toilet paper, bath soap, and cleaning supplies.
- Store any valuables or lock them away in a closet.
3. Prepare Instructions for House Appliances, Alarm System...
When preparing your home for the arrival of your guests it is best to:
- Leave written directions or owner's manuals in a handy place for things like TV's, kitchen appliances, alarm systems, heating units, air conditioners, and the vacuum cleaner.
- Make a list of names and phone numbers of repair people.
- Leave clearly written instructions for pet and plant care.
- Ask your post office to hold your mailfor you until you return.
- Temporarily discontinue newspaper delivery.
- Prepay your bills.
- Get the lawn mowed, pool cleaned, etc.
- If a car is part of the exchange, leave copies of your car insurance and registration. Also, you might want to get your car tuned up.
- Make a list of emergency numbers that include your doctor, a nearby hospital or emergency clinic, the fire department, and the police.
- Leave your contact details i.e. phone numbers and emails where you can be reached.
- Do you have friendly neighbours? Offer your guests to meet them and help out with local advice.
4. Prepare a Local’s Guide for your Area
One of the many perks of home exchange travel is the ability to live like a local, so it’s a great idea to leave your guests a city guide with insider information on your area. Here are some tips for helping your Exchange partners make the most of their visit:
- Stay away from the stuff in the tour books (chances are your Exchange partner already read those). What are YOUR favorite things to do in your town?
- Include a range of restaurants, from cheap eats to special nights out (and be up front about prices). If possible, leave menus for your guests from local take-out and delivery restaurants for those nights that cooking or going out both seem like daunting tasks!
- It might seem basic, but where do you do your grocery shopping? If the store a few miles away has a much better selection than the one across the street, your guests will appreciate the information (and directions).
- Find out ahead of time if there are certain types of activities your Exchange partners plan on doing. If they love hiking, print out a local trail map. Into museums? Leave tips on free museum days and upcoming exhibits.
- If you live in a suburb, include the best ways to get into the city (highway always crowded around rush hour? What’s your secret shortcut?) Your guests will appreciate not having to sit in traffic, and they’ll have more time to enjoy the activities in their city guide!
5. A Nice Gesture
A lot of our Members leave a small gift for their exchange partners. It can be a bottle of wine, some fruits, a simple meal or a local cake. This is not necessary, but it is a very nice welcoming gesture.