Top Tips from our Facebook Groups

We have recently launched a collection of Groups on Facebook as a place for members to ask questions, share stories, and connect with fellow Home Exchange enthusiasts. One member asked the question: “If you had to choose ONE top tip for exchanging what would it be?” These are some of the excellent responses we received.

PLAN YOUR EXCHANGE:

“Be flexible and get out of your comfort zone.” Jim, Washington State, USA, 12 exchanges

“Instead of trying only for that ‘One Big Dream Exchange,’ also look out for nearby opportunities, like a long weekend that is just a short drive away. Just know that dream exchanges are out there, too!” Kathryn, Texas, USA, 2 exchanges

“Make sure you read the listing and member profile before contacting someone. We have a “no children policy”, and yet most of the contacts we get are from families with young children! I wouldn’t mind if they said: ‘We see you don’t take children but could you make an exception…’ When I read other listings I check to make sure our house is suitable for potential Exchange Partners. For example: that they are not allergic to animals (we have a dog & cat) or physically disabled (there are stairs). It saves everyone time.” Linda, Virginia, USA, 10+ exchanges

“Those ‘New and Updated Listings’ emails that you receive? They are based on information in your saved searches. I did not realize that for years and was always irked that none of the profiles wanted to come to my town or that they seemed to be random! Make sure your ‘Saved Searches’ are showing places you want to go to and use ‘Reverse Search,’ to show people wishing to visit your area.” Gina, California, USA, 10 exchanges

“If your listing has a lot of good photos of your home and the places to go near you, the offers will come to you. 90% of our exchanges have been people wanting to stay at our home. All we have to do is decide if and when we want to go there.” Terry, California, USA, 7 exchanges

“Respond to every inquiry and review every exchange.” Phillissa, Texas, USA, 10+ exchanges


PREPARE YOUR HOME:

“I always leave a folder with all local information for Exchange Partners. I like to include supermarkets and where you top up public transport cards, etc.” John, New Zealand, 3+ exchanges

“Leave your home clean! Leave a refrigerator drawer and closet space available. It is also nice to have a little info on the area too.” Debbie, South Carolina, USA, 18+ exchanges


COMMUNICATION and GREETING:

“Meet your Exchange Partners if possible and, if you can’t, have a friend or neighbor do it. Also give them a small gift that coincides with their interests. For one exchange, I left tickets to the Desert Botanical Gardens for one and for an exchangers who were retired librarians, a pre-publication book.” Janet, Arizona, USA, 8+ exchanges

“It’s really helpful to leave information: how to get to the nearest supermarket; where to get a bus; how the TV remote, heating, and washing machine work; where to put rubbish and recycling, etc.” Tricia, U.K., 15+ exchanges

“Communication is key! Start your search as early as possible and, to avoid surprises, follow up often with email messages, Skype, etc.” Faye, Virginia, USA, 10+ exchanges

“I have a lot of tips, but I think what I find the most helpful is to plan to have someone meet your exchangers when they arrive to give them a brief tour of the house and reassure them that there is someone to call in case of emergency. It could be a family member, neighbor, etc. but I have found this super helpful especially for non-Americans. The little differences in things like using appliances seem silly, but it’s nice to have someone to show you how things work when you first arrive. We have appreciated the same courtesy with our exchanges.” Julie, USA


PERSONAL TOUCHES:

“We live in the Napa Valley and leave a bottle of wine with local cheese and nuts. Years ago, a guest left a framed 8”x10” photo of our chocolate lab for us! It made my day!” Laurie, California, USA, 13+ exchanges

“I’ve got a book of discount vouchers to local restaurants and attractions that I purchased and leave for visitors.” Linda, Western Australia, 4 exchanges

“Instead of buying a small gift for the family I am exchanging with, I supply them with food for a meal for their first night visit, as well as some snacks for the week.” Geraldine, Colorado, USA, 11+ exchanges

“I love getting to know my Exchange Partners a bit before the exchange. It helps me make recommendations for activities, restaurants, etc. that I think they will enjoy. Plus, by the time the exchange happens I feel like old friends are coming to stay. I always leave something special for my Exchange Partners based on what I’ve learned about them. Baseball tickets, reservations for a horseback adventure, a gift card to a local restaurant, etc. Top tip: Be Friendly.” Amy, Nevada, USA, 9+ exchanges


ENJOY and RESPECT:

“Just enjoy having a house/place full of soul and real life! Enjoy the Exchange Partner’s kitchen stuff/recipes/spices and ask for local and no touristic places. You will take home much more unique memories instead of just visiting the typical hotspots.” Sandra, Switzerland, 1+ exchange

“Treat your Exchange Partner’s house as you would want them to treat your house.” Barbara, Washington, DC, USA, 4+ exchanges

 

Now back to you, what is one tip YOU would offer to someone looking to exchange?

 


2 Comments on “Top Tips from our Facebook Groups

  1. Very helpful. We are greatly looking forward to our first home exchange early next year. We are swapping with a couple in Virginia, we live in Western Australia.

    We will be exchanging for 2 months and wondered what to do about utilities. Do we pay our own online, or do we each pay what we have used in the swapped home? Our electricity and water costs are comparatively high so we take care not to leave aircon/ heaters etc on when not needed. I would feel mean asking others to do the same if they do not usually do so.

    • Hello Jenny, thank you so much for your question. Honestly, it is up to you and your Exchange Partner on how you want to handle things. It all comes down to personal preference. Some people feel like hosting means taking care of the utilities, while some guests might want to cover those expenses themselves. Have an open dialogue with your Exchange Partner and we are sure you can come to an agreement. -HomeExchange Blog Team

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