There are two main types of home exchanges commonly discussed: reciprocal and non-reciprocal.
Reciprocal/classic exchange: Two families exchange each others' homes, whether simultaneously or on different dates. This is called a "reciprocal" exchange.
Non-reciprocal/GuestPoints exchange: What happens if you find another member with an available home, but that member doesn't want to stay at your home in return? You can offer them GuestPoints that they can use to go stay at another member's home in the destination of their choosing! Each member receives GuestPoints when they sign up and when they host other members.
But there's actually a third type of exchange that can make hosting easier for some— the hospitality exchange!
What is a hospitality exchange?
Hospitality exchange: Hosting guests in your home while you are also there! Guests can stay in a spare bedroom or wing of the house, but you share common areas (like the kitchen and living room). This exchange can be reciprocal (you can go to their home during other dates) or with (typically a reduced number of) GuestPoints.
Why do a hospitality exchange?
Hospitality exchanges are another example of how flexible traveling with HomeExchange can be! If guests want to stay in your primary home but you're not able to travel during those dates, you can offer a spare room for a hospitality exchange.
Some members prefer to do hospitality exchanges because they really love making these kind of human connections In addition to the flexibility it provides, hospitality exchanges give guests a unique chance to connect with locals, find out what to do in the area, ask questions, and sometimes even enjoy shared meals together. In a way, you become part of the host's family during your trip! Home exchanging lets you live like a local and experience a culture authentically, and hospitality exchanges highlight that even more.
Members' hospitality exchange experiences
Many members have hosted and been guests in hospitality exchanges and loved them— here's what they have to say.
"I have stayed in someone else’s house while they are there through HomeExchange and it worked well. Definitely felt I needed to keep my space and the common area always tidy. However, it was wonderful having someone to ask where to go and what to do and get the local perspective." -Kayleen
"We had done it twice with our three kids. We even shared a drink or a meal with our hosts. The important thing is to specify everything (own bathroom or not, private entrance...). It may lead to great discussions!" -Anne Marie
"We host HomeExchange members in our house in Bruges as guests while we are at home. We love it and enjoy it also to be hosted in other members home." -Kristel
"In our case, we have a two-story house with separate entrances and shared kitchen. We as a host stayed on second floor. Very good experience. One day we showed our guests around and prepared information they needed for their trips. We spent couple evenings together enjoying wine with local food. Children of similar ages had a chance to practice language and get to know local habits and culture. We still keep in touch, sending postcards and small gifts to learn about the country. Best memories from our exchanges. As I appreciate cultural experiences abroad more than sightseeing, I find this to be very good way to get to know local culture and habits." -Rado
"As a single traveler I am very happy to hosted. Had a fabulous stay in Dordogne with a woman who collected truffle. What a feast each night." -Ellie
"The idea of staying with strangers intimidated us, especially me; I need my privacy and have pretty bad anxiety. But if we could open ourselves up to the idea, it would certainly expand our options, and we could meet some cool people. People, after all, tell a place’s story. Hosting other people as part of a hospitality exchange doesn’t worry us as we have the extra space and love welcoming people to our city. So once we got over the idea of staying with strangers, the possibilities expanded." -Ashley
"We hosted a college student from France while he was waiting to be able to move into his dorm at a nearby university. We got to know him really well! Then his mother and brother came to stay with us several times during that academic year including over Christmas. It was so amazing! They live in Bulgaria and we can’t wait to go visit them sometime." -Anita
"Have had some of our best exchanges doing just this: welcoming them into our home and being welcomed into theirs. A couple of meals together, couple of touring days, and others on our/their own. In Panama, they hadn't visited some museum and offered to take us...it was great fun. We offered same." -Ellen
"I've done it a couple of times with great success. I really enjoyed spending time with them and we became friends. But I would only do it if I felt a real connection with them and felt they were very friendly and communicative." -Helen