Things HomeExchangers Never Pack
It’s good to be prepared whenever you’re traveling to a new location. Fortunately for those going on a home exchange, the packing list is sure to be less cumbersome. Not only that, your exchange partner can be very helpful on what to expect and what is already available. Check out what HomeExchange members have been able to leave off their packing list.
During our exchange for New Year’s Eve in Finland, we kept in touch with several HomeExchange members. In contrast, temperatures in Spain are not so extreme (in Finland it could reach -40ºC). One of the families left us thermal and snow clothes for the girls, and thermal coats and shoes for the adults.
I don’t need any umbrella because the family will lend them to us. Even small umbrellas take room in my luggage and if I have to take 2 of them (one for me and another one for my husband) I could be using the extra space that would be useful for other stuff, like a pair of good hiking shoes.
When I had young kids, we never had to pack all the baby items: car seat, baby buggy, baby high chair, baby bed… since we always swapped with families that had all this stuff (and they used ours when in our home).
Hairdryers are really bulky items and take up loads of room in your case and add weight! Of course, there are the small travel versions but they just don’t really cut it when you have very thick long hair. They’re slow, with little power and often over heat after about 5 minutes! So after checking that our Canadian exchange home would be kitted out with a proper hairdryer, I was very happy to be able to leave mine at home.
If you put towels in your suitcase, it is already full! So no need to pack them. There will be fresh and clean towels (maybe even more than one) waiting for you in the bathroom.
Shopping Trolley or Bags
Nearly all Parisian houses have a shopping trolley at home making going to a local market a much easier experience. Some exchangers will even leave reusable shopping bags to use.
Will the metal detector find the corkscrew? Having a glass of wine in the evening is a must when you travel. But it is so embarrassing to ask somebody at a hotel to open a bottle for you… When you go on a home exchange, you just have to worry about finding the perfect label and surely there will be a corkscrew at home in a drawer…
Books and Music
I do not take music or books (except in countries where the language is complex, South Korea for example) and I enjoy discovering new authors and interpreters. It is way to better understand our hosts and discover their universe. And a chance to soak up a little more of the culture of the country.
In one of our exchanges in France, the family recommended us lovely circuits by the river (one day long with picnic, half day), and it was great to have bicycles at our disposal. Imagine if you have to take them in the plane or even the car!
What have you been able to leave off your packing list? Share your tips with us!