Have you ever thought of doing a home exchange? Do you have some fears? Don’t worry, Amandine tried an exchange for you and shared her experience at Nathalie’s place with GuesttoGuest. Hear all about her story and tips about how to find a home or apartment exchange.

Why try home exchange: an uncommon experience

For her first home exchange, Amandine travelled to the countryside and spent a weekend in the Flèche region, close to Angers in France. "The cost advantage is the most important, plus, there is no subscription fee" she explains.

first home exchangeNathalie, the host, lives in the countryside close to Angers and owns 2 horses. "But my decision wasn’t based on the money reason alone. For this first home exchange, this is when I stumbled upon Nathalie’s house with her horses that I immediately wanted to contact her! I liked the idea of having a quiet and isolated weekend."

Did you have any doubts or fears for this first home exchange?

"In the beginning, I feared leaving my place to a complete stranger. Fortunately, the GuestPoints system allowed me to try an exchange without having to host someone first. This first trip really helped me see that the other members are just like me..."

With GuesttoGuest, there are two ways to exchange your place:

echange reciproque HomeExchange hebergerReciprocal home exchange** : **you go to someone’s home and she comes to yoursHomeExchange invented the GuestPoints system. This innovation changed the practice of home exchange. These GuestPoints allow members to organize non-reciprocal exchanges. « My first home exchange was a non-reciprocal one with GuestPoints. I didn’t host anyone during that exchange, so it was not stressful for me. » tells Amandine.

capture-decran-2016-05-24-a-19-20-34Non-reciprocal home exchange : You spend GuestPoints when you are a guest at someones’s home. Your host can then spend her GuestPoints when she goes to another member’s home with the GuestPoints she received from you.Amandine used her GuestPoints to stay at Nathalie’s place. Thanks to these GuestPoints. Nathalie was able to stay at another member’s place in Nantes. "I went to Nathalie’s by exchanging GuestPoints. When we sign up on the website we get welcome points, up to 1250 GP, that we can use on our first few trips."

capture-decran-2016-05-24-a-19-32-36Nathalie’s home is valued 110 GuestPoints / night "By going to Nathalie’s, I realized that other people in the HomeExchange community are like me. Now that I have a better understanding of the GuestPoints system and I met someone from the community, I am no longer afraid to host a member at my place."

Our tip to make the leap: Call your host!

"Until we really chat with another member, we will always have some fears about exchanging homes. At first we think only untrustworthy people sign up and we start imagining all the thing that could go wrong."

Here are Amandine’s tips to take the first step:

  • Choose one of the verified members: those are members that proved their identity with a home address confirmation to the GuesttoGuest’s team. This optional service costs 25 euros.
  • Make a phone or Skype call before the exchange: « Organization of the exchange (date, arrival time, etc) is a good reason to talk with your host. "The more communication, the better." explains Amandine.
  • Read testimonies: "I went on the blog and read testimonies and tips from other members to get an idea of how things worked."
  • Choose the optional services like the deposit and the insurance: "This is a low cost solution and gives the host and the guest peace of mind."

Try home exchange

Finding your first home exchange, is it difficult?

"If you are not flexible, it can take a while to find an exchange. For example, at the beginning, I was looking for a home exchange in London, but I discovered through the website that cities like London and New York are highly requested cities. In order to find an exchange in highly requested cities you would need to send a lot of messages. Honestly, I am a little too lazy for that!"

First Home exchange Guest wantedOn the website, look for houses that are actively looking for guests.

How to find an exchange when you are lazy?

"In truth, you should leave room for surprises (se laisser surprendre): I actually never planned on visiting the Angerss region this year. I found Nathalie’s house because I selected Guest Wanted, in the filters. This means that she was actively looking for guests on the website."

  • Use the filters

"In the beginning, I sent requests to every member I liked and disregarded their response rate or calendar availability: very bad idea! I advise you to use the following “filters” during your search:"

  • Response rate > 80%

  • Guest Wanted

  • House with pictures

  • Send more than 10 messages

The more requests you send, the faster you will find a home exchange.

  • "Don’t lose hope!"

"When several people reply “no” to your request, you tend to lose hope" says Amandine. "But in the end, I finally found one."

If you are having a lot of trouble finding an exchange, the HomeExchange team can help you. Feel free to send them an email at contact@homeexchange.com.

Where did you go for your first home exchange?

"I went to Nathalie’s for my first home exchange. Her house is located around Le Mans and Angers. I spent a weekend at her place and visited Angers, my boyfriend and I really enjoyed it."

first home exchange in SaumurThe Saumur village – Home exchange is the bet way to discover new landscapes

What was the best memory of your first exchange?

"Our favorite memory was when we fed the horses and cared for them. At first, it was quite overwhelming, but our host left an instruction manual and everything worked out just fine. It was a lovely and peaceful weekend, in a big house with many animals: unusual, but very relaxing."

first home exchange animalsNathalie’s pets: dogs, cats and horses!

Do you have any advice for home exchange beginners?

"Sign up and start browsing through the homes on the website. By reading the descriptions or other members’ profiles, you will start to understand that they are normal, trustworthy people like you and me. In the end, the best motivator for organizing an exchange is seeing your dream holiday home and realizing that you don’t have to pay to stay in it. Go for it!"

Travel with HomeExchange