These are just a few of the most read posts published on Travel the Home Exchange Way during the last year:
Now is definitely a great time to start planning a home swap to London or any of the other venue locations. As Home Base Holidays is based in London and has been running a home exchange service since 1985, membership gives you access to the largest choice of up-to-date home exchange offers in London and throughout Britain during the Olympics.
'Who'd have thought that in the middle of October we'd be having a pre-dinner drink "al fresco"? We're sitting on Jean's beautiful canal-side terrace, our internet shopping stowed away, a fountain whispering in the piazza, (yes, we are in the UK) looking back on two years of home swapping.'
To avoid a home looking impersonal and sterile (your guests have chosen to live in a real home, not a cookie-cutter hotel room!), personal effects such as pictures, books, photos (and pets and family members) help make a home warm and inviting. And what is more inviting than a photo of a table set up for dinner or drinks on a terrace or garden?
Testimonials on websites can give valuable reassurance to new visitors not familiar with the business. However, to be of value, testimonials must be genuine and from 'real' customers, not anonymous quotes without sources. Fortunately, with home exchange, it is easy to show the source of testimonials by including links to the current exchange offers of all members quoted.
Leaving a much loved family pet at home in the care of home swap guests is much preferable for most pet owners to the alternative, expensive (and often stressful) option of boarding a pet in kennels or a cattery. One of the many advantages of home exchange is that, not only will your home be cared for while you are on vacation, but many home exchangers are very happy to care for resident pets.
People who take part in home swaps are very conscientious and won't leave your home vulnerable intentionally (they are trusting you to care for their home too) but it's easy to take for granted steps we take when securing our own homes. Take time to write a quick Locking Up reminder list and stick it near the front door.
A few weeks ago, we published a series of posts on some of the many reasons Home Base Holidays members give (apart from vacations) for arranging home swaps. Members are always finding new ways to benefit from home exchange and here are a few more:
- To take part in the New York marathon
- To make friends and see places beyond the superficial tourist level
- To go to a football match
- To be near a family member having medical treatment
- To celebrate retirement
- To attend drama school
The early messages between home exchange members are very important in enabling both to ask and answer questions as they occur (and generally get a feeling on their compatibility) without, at this stage, a firm commitment to exchange. Email has speeded up initial communication greatly but time and care should still be taken to minimise any possibility of misunderstandings later on.
Generally home exchange members just clear enough space in wardrobes and cupboards to enable their exchange guests to unpack and store their clothes and belongings. Leave your home clean and tidy but, as your home doesn’t need to be ‘de-personalised’, there is no need to store anything except personal items or items of value or sentimental value that you would be concerned about.
Home Base Holidays was contacted recently by a comparison website, with a link to home exchange services comparison data, and the suggestion that 'your readers will love it because it lets you search for and compare exchange websites by the number of listings, exchange types offered, membership fee and more.' As well as some puzzling omissions/inclusions in the sites compared, the 'and more' didn't really cover anything that would be very useful for first time home exchangers to help them choose the best service for their needs.
We need quite a large home to sleep 10 of us in my own and my sister's family who will be coming to England for a family reunion in 2012. My own home will sleep five comfortably (seven at a pinch). Will anyone with a home large enough for us want to swap homes for our smaller property in Perth?