Looking to make your Exchange Partner more comfortable while staying at your home? One of the easiest ways is to build a Welcome Guide. Think of it as an instruction manual for your place and region.
Whether you are the one to greet your Exchange Partner or you have someone else assist, it can be overwhelming to be on the receiving end of a tour and be expected to remember everything. By getting the “How To’s” down on paper, it will make life for you (and your Exchange Partner) a lot easier. Here are a few things to consider including in your Welcome Guide:
Taking a couple minutes to say how much you are looking forward to your exchange is a perfect way to get started. Once the exchange is confirmed and you know a little more about your Exchange Partner, you can even use this space as a place to give individualized recommendations. Are they an outdoor enthusiast? Share a few spots they can get outside. Have children? Offer directions to parks and family-friendly activities. Or include the names of some potential babysitters. Even if you don’t create a more robust guide, these notes will give insight to living like a local.
After a long day of exploring your area, your Exchange Partner might want to settle in and enjoy some television. Then they see your multiple remotes and have no clue what to do. By providing some written instructions (and perhaps storing those extra remotes), you can ease some of the stress. Keep it simple and explain: how to turn everything on and off, switching to the DVD/Blu-Ray, or using a streaming device. If there are any particular “quirks” that you typically work around, this is the place to share that info.
Depending on the appliances you have around your home, it can be helpful to give a brief overview of how to operate them. Dishwashers can have different settings while washer and dryers could be confusing. Providing a few steps can help transform something daunting into a comfortable routine.
When visiting your area, your Exchange Partner might get overwhelmed with options. By writing down directions to grocery stores, days for farmers’ markets, a list of your favorite restaurants and more, they will be moving around like a local in no time. It is also a nice touch to add a few menus for your favorite take-out spots, for those nights when they want to stay in and relax instead of cooking for themselves.
Before confirming your exchange, it is helpful to outline the expectations for how to leave your home. By detailing the quirks of your home can be useful. Worried about water on the wood floor? Have special cleaners for the countertops? Offering an outline can help to make everyone feel more comfortable at the end of the day.
When you’re on an exchange, the last thing you want to worry about is something happening at home. Help minimize the worry by leaving a list of names and numbers to call should the need arise. These could include a local friend who knows your home, plumber, emergency services like police, firefighters or paramedics, the hospital. If you are leaving your pet, make sure to include contact information on their vet, should the need arise. It might seem like going overboard, but the best way to ensure there isn’t a problem is to be prepared.
There are so many things that you can include in a Welcome Guide, and each one is as unique and individual as the home it belongs to. Take the time to think through all the aspects of your home so that there aren’t any unfortunate surprises when you return. Particular guidelines for watering plants? Share them. Did you tell what day to take out the trash? Make a note.