Home Base Holidays members, John and Marilyn, started home exchanging over 40 years ago and have now completed well over 100 h0me swap holidays (a record that must take some beating!). They share below some tips for happy home swapping.
Tips for happy home swap holidays:
Good communication: Make sure to get to know who you are swapping with and discuss and agree all details of the exchange. Good communication adds to the trust and makes everything go so much smoother.
Meet your guests: If possible meet your guests so you can get to know them in person as well as exchanging keys. If not possible, leave them a welcome letter and perhaps a bottle of wine. Why not agree beforehand to leave milk, bread, etc for each other?
Welcome folder/home book: Prepare a "Home Book" containing practical information on your home and appliances. Include such details as where to find the fuse box, stopcock, operate the TV, when the dustbins are emptied, etc; useful telephone numbers....doctor, dentist, plumber, electrician, your own mobile numbers and those of helpful neighbours can be included too. (Before swapping send your own and neighbours numbers plus location of a spare key, so that your guests can keep a copy with them in case of emergency). Leave up to date tourist leaflets, maps, guide books, train and bus timetables.
Leave a small gift: The 'Home Book' can be part of a welcome pack with some essential items for your guests such as tea, coffee, milk, snacks. It's also a nice touch to leave a small gift for your guests such as a local treat or a bottle of wine.
Clean and tidy: Make sure that your home is clean and welcoming for your guests arrival (fresh bedding and clean towels). When leaving their home ensure you have agreed where to leave keys & what to do with used linen. Obviously, make sure to leave your guests home as clean and tidy as when your arrived.
Leave a thank you letter: Last but not least, leave your guests a "thank you" letter and post a trip report on the website.