In home exchanging just as in life in general, communication is an essential ingredient for the smooth running of events. Clearly expressing your needs and expectations, explaining how your house works, establishing a relationship of trust, sharing good plans and advice are keys to a happy exchange! Discover the advantages of clear and regular communication with your exchange partner.
"Our host sent us an email a few days after our arrival to find out if our stay was going well. We really appreciated this attention because we feel it is important for us to keep in constant communication with our hosts or guests during the exchanges" - AngélinaI'm looking for an exchange
Preparing the Exchange
Let's start at the beginning. Communicating with your exchange partner first of all allows you to express your expectations and needs in order to agree on the terms and details of the exchange before finalizing it. You will agree on the type of exchange, the arrival and departure dates, the number of guests, and other important details.
This planning together will also allow you to discuss how you’ll work out the exchange, such as :
- explaining how the equipment in the house works (how the oven works or how to start the jacuzzi)
- giving specific directions to the house (make 3 left turns, then 2 rights, take the right fork after the big oak tree, then straight ahead at the end of the courtyard on the left)
- agreeing on certain details (Will the pool be accessible at this time of the year? Is it possible to borrow the bikes?)
- specifying the guest's responsibilities (to feed the cat or water the plants)
"Communication was really very easy throughout the preparation of the exchange. Our hosts had given us very clear instructions on how to get to the house, and one of their friends was waiting for us at the door when we arrived to show us around." - Nicole
Creating a Relationship of Trust
It is also thanks to communication, through messages, phone calls or video conversations using Skype, Zoom or Whatsapp, that you will be able to establish a relationship of trust with your exchange partners. This trust is essential for welcoming people you have never met before into your home, and allows you to calmly overcome the unexpected when it arises.
"It has been 3 years since we first planned an exchange in Iceland. In December 2019, we met a family near Reykjavik and quickly knew that we wanted to exchange together. Until the last moment, because of the health context, we were afraid we would not be able to go. But as the relationship of trust had been established beforehand during messages with them, we were able to share regularly on the precise sanitary and regulatory situation in both our home in France and their rules in Iceland. We shared sanitary measures required with our hosts (masks, hand sanitizing and antibacterial cleaning) and vice versa, which allowed us to maintain our exchange with peace of mind last summer. Another illustration of the strength of the Home Exchange model!" - Thomas
"Our host was always pleasantly available when we had to reach her for various questions. She had sent us a whole email explaining in detail how their house works, to make it easier for us when we arrived. But because of everything with Covid I had to contact her when my daughter became ill, She immediately replied to recommend her doctor, giving me her office hours and her address. A real plus for us not to have to worry about finding a doctor we could trust for our sick daughter". - Joan
"The communication with our host was top-notch! A few days before our arrival, she even told us that she was leaving her car (brand new !!) at our disposal to drive around. This was really good news and allowed us to go to places we wouldn't have had access to without a car. When Eleanor comes here, we will also confidently leave our car with her. Plus, as we are both traveling as families, we have all the necessary equipment for children, including a car booster seat!" - Jo
Reassuring Yourself for All the First Times
Whether it is for a first reciprocal exchange, a first exchange for GuestPoints, a first exchange without being there to welcome your guests, a first exchange abroad or a first short home exchange, you need reassurance all will go smoothly. Clear communication allows you to better understand the situation and to launch out more calmly!
"Late last night, my boyfriend came home after a long journey back home to find these gifts from our guests. It was our first time organizing an exchange away from home (we had a friend help prepare our apartment for our guests) so it was a little nerve-wracking but it turned out to be my favorite exchange ever! The communication with our guests was great. and they were so easy-going and reassuring. Coming home to this surprise was just the cherry on top" - Zann
Sharing Tips and Advice
You will also have the opportunity to share your favorite locations and recommendations with your guests, to allow them to discover your region or country as an insider, with the eyes of a local. Introduce them to the small restaurant with its delicious authentic dishes, not much appreciated by the guidebooks, and suggest the small isolated cove unknown to tourists!
"I greatly appreciated the kindness of our host, and the quality of his welcome. The communication was perfect, the directions to guide us without any problem through the amenities, the fridge full of small thoughtful inclusions, and his recommendations on the most beautiful beaches around were spot on!" - Sylvia
It is also an opportunity for your guests to learn more about your culture and your region, to open up to a way of life that was perhaps previously unknown to them.
"An EXTRAORDINARY reciprocal exchange! Thank you Home Exchange for broadening my horizons so much and enriching me personally and culturally! Regular communication from the beginning, total trust and sharing were the keys to our great Icelandic adventure.
Our exchange not only provided physical rest, but also one on one cultural interactions. Thanks to Rafn and Ingibjörg, we discovered a bit of the Icelandic culture and way of life. Thank you for all your attention: from the Icelandic meal on our arrival, to the gifts at home on our return of hats knitted by Ingibjörg herself". - Delphine
"In 2016, when Bethy and Silvio's family came to Quebec, I could only communicate with Bethy in English since we both spoke it, even though her mother tongue was Spanish and French for me. I took a few classes in the last year, and practiced my Spanish when the rare opportunities arose. Towards the end of my stay in Quito, Ecuador, Bethy and I agreed to meet with her family for tea or ice cream. I was able to express myself in Spanish with all four family members. Our conversation was only in their mother tongue for the whole time we spent together. It was an afternoon I won't forget, and it was an exchange worthy of the type of exchange I signed up for on HomeExchange, for the experience above all else". - LouiseLook for an exchange
More Advice and Tips on Home Swapping
Whether you are a newcomer to the community looking for advice and recommendations on your profile, research, or exchange planning, or an experienced HomeExchanger looking for inspiration or new adventures, we have what you need! The HomeExchange Academy will be able to answer all questions or concerns from newcomers (and those not so new), and lets you challenge the experts on their knowledge!Read more