Whether you're planning a staycation or a trip abroad, home exchanging is an excellent holiday option. We always love to hear from Home Base Holidays members about their swaps. The key to successful home swapping is to always have good communication.
So, when planning an exchange, make sure to have ongoing communications with your potential home exchange partner. Messaging and emails are great for initiating and keeping track of a proposed swap, but also take the time to talk directly either via phone, Skype, Zoom, etc. Having voice/video calls really helps to get to know one another, develop the trust that is key and helps to avoid any potential misunderstandings.
Shown below are some tips for helpful conversations to have when planning a home exchange.
Tip 1. Do a little planning
After checking out the member's home swap listing and profile, think about what questions you’d like to ask and what you want to be sure the other people know about your home and location. Jot down a few notes and reminders so that you don't accidentally forget to ask any important questions during the call.
Tip 2. Leave enough time
Choose a time when you can focus on the conversation, and select a quiet place so background noise doesn’t make it hard to hear what’s being said. You want to feel relaxed and use the call to help build a happy, friendly connection with your potential exchange partners.
Tip 3. Set the right tone
Build that trust with a friendly, polite tone so that your exchange partners will feel happy having you stay in their home. Set the tone of the conversation right away with openers like, “We’re so happy that you’re interested in a home swap with us”; “We’ve always wanted to visit…” “Your home is so lovely, it really looks like it would be the perfect swap for us.”
Tip 4. Encourage questions and answer them truthfully
One of the most important reasons for direct conversations is to give each of you the chance to ask questions. Say something like, “I’m sure you have questions for us, and we have a few for you.” Answer the other person’s questions honestly and truthfully, and ask for clarification if you’re not sure you understand. “How big is your home” might mean “How many people does your home sleep?” or “How many rooms does it have?” “Is the area lively” could mean “Is it noisy” or “Are there cafes, bars, and restaurants nearby?”
Tip 5. Listen carefully
We all have a tendency to jump in when there’s a silence during a conversation or to “rehearse” what we’re going to say next while someone is talking. Instead, listen, listen, and listen some more. People tend to trust one another when they know they are being heard. It’s also surprising how much more information people offer when you leave space in the conversation.
Tip 6. It’s okay to get personal
You and your home swap guests don’t have to become best friends (although it happens!), but it’s important that you get to know one another. Take some time during the initial conversation to chat about yourselves and your families. Share your reasons for travelling and why you want to do a home exchange instead of staying in a hotel or a holiday rental. Talk a little about what it’s like to live in your home / neighbourhood, and ask about theirs. If you've swapped homes before, tell them about your previous experiences (both pros and cons).
Tip 7. Agree on what happens next
Once you’ve covered everything on your list and the other person has no more questions, close the conversation by deciding on next steps: Will you do the exchange? Have you firmed up the dates? Does one of you need more information before making a decision?
Tip 8. Follow up the conversation
After the conversation, send the other people a message letting them know how nice it was to chat with them, thanking them for taking the time to talk, and summarising the details of your home swap agreement.
|Swap agreement: once you have agreed to swap, set up an online swap agreement through the Home Base Holiday website.
Join Home Base Holidays: start home swapping
Looking for a much needed break? Arrange free holiday accommodation by choosing to swap homes rather than book hotels or holiday rentals.