Home exchange is a budget-friendly way to travel and explore new places while feeling like a local. If you’re willing to forgo the familiarity and daily maid service that comes with a hotel, you can enjoy perks like a full kitchen, free parking, bicycles, and the opportunity to stay within a community. You’ll save money on restaurants and lodging, meet new people, and perhaps become a more frequent traveler.
At Modernize, we always want your home to look great and reflect your personal style. Your home’s unique charm is a big part of the appeal of a home exchange. Here are ten tips to help you prepare your space for a home exchange. Read on to learn how to make your swap seamless.
1. Keep Pantry Staples in Stock
You don’t have to go grocery shopping for your guests, but it’s nice to have staples like spices, condiments, tea, coffee, sugar, and cream on hand to help them get settled while they figure out the lay of the land. If you leave items in the refrigerator, assume that guests may use them during their visit.
2. Make Space in Closets and Cupboards
Be deliberate about making space for your guests to put away their clothes and toiletries so that they don’t feel like they have to live out of their suitcases for the duration of their stay. Clear space in the closet, dresser, and in your medicine cabinet. If they plan to cook, make room in your pantry so that they can put away groceries. Rid your fridge of any leftovers or items that are on the verge of spoiling so that guests have plenty of room to store their food and drinks.
3. Leave Instructions for Appliances and Basic Home Operations
All of our homes have quirks, and some of us are more handy or tech savvy than others. To make your guests feel comfortable, prepare clear instructions for using all of your appliances--stove, microwave, dishwasher, washer and dryer. Does your AC freeze up if you put it below seventy degrees? Make a note of it. Does it take three remotes to watch a DVD? Write out step-by-step instructions and consider labeling remotes.
4. Make sure to clean your home prior to the exchange
It's important to make sure you give your home a good clean prior to your exchange so that it is ready and welcoming for your guests. Usually this can be done quickly by yourself and so shouldn't take too much time. However if you don’t want to worry about giving your home a thorough cleaning right before you prepare to travel, you could also choose to hire a professional cleaner to come in for the day.
5. Make Plans for Pets
When you are setting up the exchange, make it clear that you have pets in case that presents a problem for a guest with pet allergies. While you may want to board your pet for your own peace of mind, some guests find having a pet in the home a plus and don’t mind looking after them. If you are leaving your pet in the care of a guest, make sure to provide detailed instructions on feeding, medications, and whether or not your pet is allowed outside (on a leash or not). Provide phone numbers and directions to your vet, as well as the nearest emergency animal clinic in case of emergency. Consider having a credit card on file with your vet so that your guests doesn’t have to worry about covering any expenses.
6. Be Mindful of Security
Your guests won’t necessarily be familiar with your neighborhood, so take extra precautions to put them at ease. If you have an alarm system make sure to leave detailed instructions so that your home swap guests know how to turn it on and off. This also goes for any other security you have in your home (doors that should be locked, security lights, etc) be sure to leave detailed instructions so that your guests feel at ease and can focus on enjoying their stay in your home. A good idea is to leave an extra set of keys with close neighbors in case your guests get locked out.
7. Store Precious or Personal Items
Sure, we hope that everyone treats our home with respect, but accidents happen. Assess the items in your home. If something is very sentimental or irreplaceable, store it in a locked linen closet, an attic, or a safe. If you have items that you wouldn’t want others using, like a hairbrush, make sure that those are put away, too, otherwise guests may think that you left them for their convenience.
8. Dedicate Time to Home Maintenance
Do you have to open and close a pocket bathroom door just right or else it jams? Does your kitchen faucet leak if it’s left on hot? Save your guests the stress of thinking that they may have caused these problems, or dealing with the hassle, by being proactive with your home maintenance.
9. Keep Your Neighbors Informed
It might be alarming for your neighbors to look over and see an entirely different family having a cookout in your back yard. Give them fair warning that you’ll be participating in a swap. Your neighbors can also keep an eye on your guests in case there is any troubling behavior (parking on grass or loud music, for example) that you may want to know you about in advance. If they are so inclined, neighbors can also be a great resource for your guests, providing directions or recommendations of places to visit in the area.
10. Welcome Your Guests With a Surprise
Start the swap on a great note by going that extra mile to welcome your guests with a kind, unexpected gesture. Put out fresh flowers and a welcome card. Maybe add a nice bottle of wine and provide directions and menus for nearby restaurants. If you live near a delicious bakery, think about having some cookies or other sweet treats to welcome them. Share any local magazines or newsletters so that your guests can get a feel for the community and take advantage of any events (music festivals, museum exhibits, farmer’s markets, etc.) while they are staying in your home.
Guest post from: Bryn Huntpalmer
Interested in home swapping? Find your home swap through Home Base Holidays