Laura, a Vermont HomeExchanger, has enjoyed more than 40 exchanges, including in New Zealand, Italy, France, and Mexico. She's hosted families from around the world and shares her experiences and tips.
What were some of your biggest fears when hosting another member, and how did you overcome them?
I was worried that our driveway might be too steep for them. I also wondered if our cabin might be too rustic. I was concerned that guests might bring in extra guests.
Our cabin tends to attract the sort of person who likes the more simple experience. Most people comment on how peaceful their stay is. Our exchangers have taken care of our homes.
Tell us about a memorable experience with a guest.
We had a wonderful stay at Lanie and Michelle's oceanfront house in Washington. One afternoon, they brought us fresh-caught, cooked Dungeness crabs for dinner. Later, when they came to our cabin, we met for lunch and shared many stories. We can't wait to exchange with them again.
What do you like most about hosting other members?
I like sharing the beauty of our area with other exchangers. If we are lucky enough to share a meal, we then have made more friends in other countries. We appreciate learning more about life in other places.
How do you prepare your home for your guests?
We have created a binder of information at each home. We like to leave a gift of local food or drink, as well as basic supplies, such as coffee and spices.
I recommend other hosts provide information about the house and the surrounding area, including activities and restaurants. Leave a welcome gift for your guests and a thank you note and gift for your host.
What did you realize after you hosted for the first time?
I realized just how many beautiful places there are to visit within driving range of the cabin. Our guests were true outdoor lovers and have taken advantage of the various natural attractions.