Caroline and her family live in France and have completed 16 home swaps, hosting people from around the world. Caroline shares some of her concerns before hosting her first guests, how she overcame them, and some of the memorable experiences her family has had home exchanging.

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

I was afraid that my home would not be clean enough. I actually hired my mother and my mother-in-law for one complete day to make sure that the house would be perfect to welcome our first guests! Click here for tips on cleaning your home for guests.

How did you overcome this fear?

The entire family worked in de-cluttering the house. We removed all objects which seem unuseful and did a complete revamp. Then we cleaned everything. We liked our house even more after this initiative!

Have you hosted members from different countries?

We had hosts from France, from Spain and from Poland.

Tell us about a memorable experience with a guest...

We didn't meet our guests. However, when we arrived in Moorea, our hosts welcomed us at the airport, they proposed their car for the two weeks of vacation on the island. We had the most amazing vacation ever in their gorgeous house!

What do you like most about hosting other members?

I like the fact that they discover a small village where they would maybe not have seen without HomeExchange. I like the trust which is unconditional. And I like the fact that they almost every time leave a kind note.

How do you prepare your home for your guests?

France has a reputation! We need to be at the level of this reputation and we always welcome our guests with a bottle of wine for the adults and a bottle of self-made apple juice for the children.

Did you encounter any unexpected cultural differences?

Our house is heated with a wooden stove and for some guests, it was not easy to learn this competence. So, we prepared a guide for this special skillset!

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

The most difficult is to cultivate this unconditional trust and realize that guests will only enjoy their stay, they will not spend their time investigating your life!

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

I realized that people will behave in our house exactly like we would behave in theirs ie. very respectfully. We have been very grateful to our hosts and so have been our guests as well.

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