Estefania, a HomeExchange Member from Argentina, shares the story of her first home swap hosting experience and how unexpectedly delightful it was! Despite her initial concerns, Estefania says the home exchange was better than she could have imagined, and she can't wait to host the next one.

What were some of your biggest fears when hosting another Member?

I was afraid that people wouldn't be careful enough with the house (that the sofas will get dirty for example) or that they will browse my stuff.

How did you overcome this fear?

I talked on the phone with my guests so we would know each other a little more and I was totally relieved. My guest was so kind and warm, and more experienced than me in the art of home exchanges, so that made it all easy. I gave her a lot of ideas about what to do in the city and we both enjoyed the process.

Have you hosted Members from different countries?

My first exchange was with Canadian people. I hope to grow the list soon! I used to write to people from around the world when I was a kid (Pen Friends Club) and HomeExchange remind me of this experience. With the extra flavor of traveling too!

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Tell us about a memorable experience with a Guest.

When we got back from our own exchange in Chile and Salta, we found the guests had left incredible Canadian souvenirs for our family. I wasn't expecting this! It was great to have such nice guests. The kids were thrilled with their t-shirts and special artisan souvenirs.

What do you like most about hosting other Members?

Getting to know people from all around the world and helping them discover my city from a local view.

How do you prepare your home for your Guests?

I try to leave some local delicatessen and some information about the city, featuring my favorite things to do, the ones you don't find in the guidebook.

What tips and tricks would you give to others who are hosting Guests?

Talk on the phone and get know each other a little better. You will gain peace of mind and really have a person-to-person exchange.

What did you realize after you hosted for the first time?

I realized it is a really great experience, much better than I imagined. It's like hosting friends that are in town. And as a guest, I have been to really great houses living like a local, what I have always dreamed of. I will certainly travel this way from now on!

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