You’ve finally arrived in your home away from home. So now what? Living in someone’s home is not like staying in a hotel room. To help you make the most of your stay and to take the mystery out of how to conduct yourself, we present the three R's of home exchange: Responsibility, Respect…and Relax!
1. Relax - You’re Home
Kick your shoes off. Plop down on the couch. It’s been a long trip and you’re finally here. If it’s nighttime, the only room you may be interested in is the bedroom. Feel free to start checking out the home, figuring out how to work the TV…or simply let it wait. There’s plenty of time for a thorough exploration. As you find the closet and drawer space that your exchange partner left for you, be sure to make note of anything you have to move, so you can replace it at the end of your trip.
2. Respect - Making Yourself at Home
Along with all the extra space and amenities, a home can also be more challenging to navigate than a hotel room. So find that information package your exchange partners left you. Wander around and familiarise yourself with your surroundings. Bringing your correspondence file from before the exchange is a good idea, as it is also filled with useful information about the home and neighbourhood. You’ll want to keep track of what food you eat so you can replace it before you leave. The rest is common sense: Lock the doors when you go out, take off your shoes if they’re dirty, don’t put egg shells in the garbage disposal. Don’t do anything you wouldn’t want your exchange partner to do in your home.
3. Responsibility - Parting Gifts
If you’re wondering how to leave things when your stay is over, just imagine what you would like to come home to. Replace food, wash the linens and, if applicable, leave money for any reimbursements you've worked out beforehand. Many Members like to leave small gifts, and if you’ve had a particularly good experience, why not let your new friends know with a friendly note?