Guest blog post: Janis Fisher Chan is a writer, editor and passionate traveller who loves home exchanging. If you love travel and love getting a real feel for your destination, Janis encourages you to give home swapping a try!
1. Cleanliness: agree what to do at the start and end of a swap
|Check out the Checklist on how to prepare your home for a swap|
2. Exchanging Keys: decide how to swap keys
|For more information, check out Exchanging keys before a home swap holiday|
3. House Guide: provide useful information for your guests
Make a user guide to your house. Include instructions on how to operate everything. Don’t assume your visitor can read the Swedish instructions on the washer! At a minimum you should explain where to find and how to use these things: dishwasher, TV, wifi, laundry, garbage (including how to take it out), kitchen appliances, heat/AC, shared outdoors space, extra towels/sheets, empty drawers and hangers for their use, bikes and vehicles if available.
My home guide is room by room, hopefully making it easier for people to flip to the kitchen section if they are inspired to learn how to use my juicer or want to run the dishwasher.
In your home guide you can also include information on anything special you want your guests to do before they leave: Should they put dirty sheets in the hamper? Should they take out the garbage?
Include a section on the neighborhood: where they can find the closest grocery store, local coffee shops, restaurants and bars, and how to get to public transportation.
I suggest also including a city guide. Provide information about anything you think your visitors might enjoy. I have a list of favorite restaurants and bars, some great walks to take for views of the city, and some of the more popular tourist activities, as well as a section on places to visit for a day trip or a few days outside of the city. I also ask my swap partners if there’s anything special they want to do so that I can add to my guide.
Lastly, leave out some maps of the area if you have any. Most people use their phones to navigate, but for those who don’t have a data plan that covers other countries, paper maps can be very useful.
|For more information, check out 3 easy steps for creating a home swap welcome guide|
4. Arrival dates and times: agree your swap dates
Discuss and agree on arrival dates and times for each of you. Make sure there’s no unintended overlap. And inform your neighbors about the guests who will be staying in your home while you are away. You don’t want them calling the cops thinking that you have a break in.
5. Gifts: leaving a gift can be a nice personal touch
6. Communication: the key to successful home swapping
7. Formal exchange agreements: finalise your home swap
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.