Over the years we've noticed that most Home Base Holidays members share some general personality traits such as an openness to new experiences, generosity and a willingness to trust others.
Home exchange enthusiasts welcome exchange guests into their homes without worrying unduly about their own possessions (after all, their exchange guests are trusting them to take good care of their home too). We really haven't seen any difference in attitude between members with small, modest homes and those who live in amazing large, luxurious homes. Very seldom do exchange offers from the latter include a proviso that only offers from members with homes of similar high quality or value will be considered (as long as the home will accommodate the exchange party, location is much more important for the majority). In the rare case that such a proviso is stated or implied in a listing, I do wonder if the member is really a good candidate to swap homes (i.e. Will they worry about their home while away and not be able to relax? Will they be overly critical of anything that doesn't quite live up to their own high standards?). But also, such a person will come across to most others as overly fussy and maybe not the sort of person you would risk suggesting an exchange to. This may be unfair but it's probably best that their exchange options are self restricted to the minority of other members with similar properties and stringent requirements.
The majority of members take care in their listing descriptions to come across as both welcoming and respectful of others properties. A few quotes from recent listings follow below a photo of the 17th century cottage in Cumbria offered for exchange by the first member quoted:
Appleby, Cumbria, England: 'We love exchanging and do our utmost to make people feel at home here, whilst taking the best possible care of the homes we stay in. We provide guide books, maps, tourist leaflets, a "home book", bicycles and much more, to enable our guests to make the most of their stay in Cumbria.'
Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England: 'If you stayed in our home we would do our best to make your stay enjoyable. If you wanted any information about local facilities, I could research it for you before you came. If we stayed in your home we would treat it with great care.
We are looking for weekend and school holiday breaks in the UK. We would also like to explore other countries and cultures – we hope by staying in your home we would get a more real experience than staying in a tourist spot.'
Prayssac, Midi-Pyrenees, France (home in photo): 'We have done many happy and successful house exchanges in Europe, the USA, Scandinavia and Australia. If you are allergic to cats, you should know that we have two; Teddy and Kitty. They are low maintenance, mainly outdoor cats (no litter tray), and if you wanted to go on trips, a friend could feed them. The same English speaking friends could be on hand if you needed any help during your stay. We would be very happy to care for your pets and/or plants and we would consider ourselves responsible for your house and belongings. We answer all enquiries and look forward to hearing from you!'
Fulbeck, Lincolnshire, England: 'My wife and I have two teenage daughters, we have never house exchanged before but are really keen to give it a go! We've a lot of friends in the village whom I am sure would be delighted to make a fuss of "foreigners" and make you feel really welcome in our absence. Our daughters are just about house-trained and apart from not being able to tidy away a single item of clothing would love the chance to explore where you live - and don't worry we will tidy up after them!'
Bristol, Avon, England: 'I have travelled all over the world, but have only exchanged houses twice, and really look forward to swapping more. I would be bringing one or two friends along with me (depending on the size of your house), who are also well travelled, and I can assure you that we’ll look after your property as if it was our own. We are non smokers in our 30s and although I don’t have any pets that need looking after, we are happy to look after other people’s. Although I don’t have children, I used to be a teacher, so have plenty of books and DVDs to help keep children busy! I’m open to all suggestions and invitations and will respond to all invites – look forward to hearing from you!'