Q: We're getting very excited to go on our first home exchange this August during the school holidays! I just have a couple of quick questions that I was unsure about (I didn't want to keep messaging the other member with so many small queries!). Firstly, should we make up the beds with clean bedding or is it better to leave the clean linen next to the beds? Also, do you recomment that we tell the other family that they are welcome to use our towels, soap, shampoo, kitchen condiments etc. or is it assumed that they will (also for us when we're in their home)? I want to make sure that we are good home exchangers and so don't want to make any first time faux pas!
- Eva (Edinburgh, Scotland)
A: Unless agreed otherwise with your home exchange guests, it is always best to make up the beds with clean linen so that they are ready for their arrival. It's a good idea to leave additional clean bedding plus extra towels - if it is not obvious where these are stored, include this in your 'Welcome Folder' (see below).
Most members will have a little clear-out of their fridge / cupboards prior to an exchange so that it looks clean, welcoming and there is space for your guests to store some items. It's good however to leave a few basic provisions such as fresh milk, butter, bread, sugar, tea, coffee etc.
Make sure to leave toilet paper, soap and hand sanitizer for your guests. Most home exchangers will bring their own personal items such as shampoo and shower gel; but do let your guests know if you are happy for them to use any of yours (you can also include this information in your Welcome Folder).
Never be afraid to raise what may seem small queries with your home exchange guests; asking questions in the planning stage helps to avoid any misunderstandings during an exchange. For example, if you mention that you are happy for your guests to help themselves to food, that will likely prompt them to offer the same to you!
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