Lisa is a retired science teacher living in Lake Tahoe, CA. She and her husband, a fellow retired educator, have completed over six home swaps during their time with HomeExchange and are sometimes accompanied by their adult children and their families. She shared her experience home exchanging and her advice to new and fellow members looking to join the home swapping community. Check out our interview with her below!

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How long have you been a HomeExchange member?

That’s a good question! I feel like it was three years before the pandemic, so it’s been maybe about 6 or 7 years. I kind of got into it when I was looking for opportunities to travel. I also have two cats, so it’s great that guests can stay at the house and kind of keep an eye on the cats and feed them, as opposed to having someone come in the house to feed them or having a friend or family member stay here.

As a teacher especially, what do you like about most about HomeExchange?

It’s always nice to be living or present in a community where locals live, as opposed to being in a resort or even an AirBnB where it’s sort of a “sanitary” home in a way because most AirBnBs are set up to have people coming in and out all the time. As an educator, I feel like you don’t really get to know a place unless you live with or around the people that you’re spending time with. You get a flavor for a place that you wouldn’t get if you were staying in a resort or a hotel. I also think building relationships is really important, and through HomeExchange, you really do build a relationship, even if you don’t meet that person. You know their most intimate things, like what they keep in their bathroom. That’s a lot of trust that you have to accept and just embrace.


Vacation with HomeExchange

What has your experience been scheduling time to home exchange as retired teachers?

We have a lot of flexibility with our time right now, but I do notice that I get a lot more requests from people to come and stay here during the holidays. Summertime is really nice over here as well. While other people may have a lot of strict constraints, our time is pretty flexible and available.

Do you use the GuestPoints systems as well as doing reciprocal exchanges?

A lot of times when someone approaches me and says that they would like to come, then we talk about it, and then we just say, “Well, that sounds good, let’s do that!” So if they have a house in an area that we want to go to, then we’re happy to do an exchange. I love the flexibility that you can use GuestPoints or you can do an exchange right away, or you can wait and do a non-simultaneous exchange.

Editor's note: HomeExchange has two different ways to home swap: GuestPoints and reciprocal exchanges. A reciprocal exchange involves you going to someone's home and them coming to yours (in other words, a literal home swap). Members also have to option to arrange home exchanges with GuestPoints, where you can stay at someone's house in exchange for GuestPoints, which your host can then use to stay in someone else's home instead of yours. This allows members more flexibility and more exchange opportunities when planning vacations. To learn more, check out our FAQ.

Did you vet people to make sure that they were going to be good to take care of your cats?

The way I vet people is through communication. If you’re an animal person, you generally need to have that trust right away, so if someone wants to come to your house that’s not an animal person, and they say they’re not comfortable feeding the cats or that they have cat allergies, we know it’s not a good match.


Plan your next trip with HomeExchange

What worries did you have about HomeExchange?

You know, I don’t recall being too worried. As you age, you start to fear scammers in life and there’s so many ways that people can try to take advantage of you, even though I don’t really see it as a common thing or something that I need to worry about with HomeExchange.

Another worry that's popped up when I've spoken to my friends who are teachers about HomeExchange because it’s so amazing, and the number one response that I get is that they don’t want to clean up their house! I’ve been in enough homes that are all along that spectrum of clean to very clean to realize that if someone’s going to be coming into my home, it’s going to be clean, but it’s not necessarily going to be uncluttered.

Travel with HomeExchange

Where have you been with HomeExchange?

We’ve had two or three exchanges in Southern California. The other ones have all been with people in the Bay Area.


Could you please share one of your favorite memories of HomeExchange?

My last exchange was pretty amazing because the home itself was large and we were able to bring my son, his wife, their two children, and her parents from Shanghai, so it was an opportunity to introduce my daughter-in-law’s parents to California. They got to explore the neighborhoods around this town we were in, and while I don’t think they’d move there, I think their eyes were opened to the kind of community that they would like to live in. It was a neat way to show my daughter-in-law’s parents that there were other places in California that were pretty special.

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