When you’re visiting a new town or country, it can be difficult to figure out the best places to visit, eat, and experience. See how one experienced traveler, Dawn Paulinski, reaches out to home exchangers and helps to give them the best local experience. It’s an innovative approach to sharing the love of where you live with other home exchange partners as well as opening doors to future home exchanges, and it’s simple to get started.
One of my favorite things to do while traveling is touring around with locals to their favorite places: bars, restaurants, shops, or just their favorite streets to walk on. I get to enjoy places I probably wouldn’t find on my own, and in the company of new and interesting people. Because I appreciate this so much I’ve started offering tours around my neighborhood to folks whose home exchange offers I can’t accept. A lot of people take me up on the offer, so that now I’ve got a well honed tour route, complete with potential stops for coffee, drinks, tacos, chocolate, souvenirs, and a variety of other options customizable to the traveler’s interests (and appetite).
I’m especially likely to make this tour offer to people who live somewhere that I plan to visit. Not only will I get to meet interesting folks and show them my favorite parts of my neighborhood, but I also get the chance to learn about a place I’ll be visiting, and maybe even end up with a local friend by the time I get there.
On home exchange sites it’s usually necessary to send out lots of inquiries requesting a swap just to find one match on destination and dates. And then there are all the requests that come in that you can’t accept. I think it’d be nice if we all turned some of these rejections into an exchange of hometown tours.
Let’s say you live in New York city and want to visit Paris next year. So based on your interest in Paris (set as a desired destination on your profile) you get a request from folks for dates that won’t work for you. But while they are visiting NYC you’ll be in town. Instead of just rejecting the exchange request, why not offer to meet up and take them on a tour, or out for a beer at your favorite bar? If you hit it off, perhaps they will reciprocate when you visit Paris.
I call this the ‘hometown tour swap’. They are, by necessity, non-simultaneous. And they make travels that much more friendly and fun.
Get started today by updating your profile stating hometown tour opportunities. Also, on your next home exchange, see if they or someone they know can show you around town. If you’re planning your next exchange, this could help sweeten your offering, and potentially set things up for a future exchange.
Dawn Paulinski is an avid traveler, devoted to exploring the world cheaply. She runs sharetraveler.com to provide information and reviews about travel-related sharing economy resources. More information about the above and many more peer to peer services can be found there.