Hosting HomeExchangers for the first time is a bit like a first date: your heart beats very hard, your hands get a little sweaty, and above all, your head is rushing with questions and doubts. But without hosting, there wouldn’t be HomeExchange ... and exchanging homes is truly worth it. Once you get started, it’s impossible to stop! From small details that warm your heart to long talks that lead to lifelong friendships, hospitality is a key element to home exchanging, and is what makes all the difference ... what makes it so unique and authentic.
We have compiled various anecdotes about hosting from HomeExchange Members, who tell us about their initial doubts that became unforgettable stories of hosting and exchanging homes.
The Fear of the Unknown
It’s human nature to be a little afraid of the unknown ... and of welcoming strangers into your home.
“What if they aren’t trustworthy? What if they won’t keep the house clean and tidy? What if they’re disrespectful?” - Rebecca
You doubt your own home or city.
“We wondered if our home was even nice enough and if our town would interest visitors.” - Yvonne
We want everything to be perfect and we are afraid that nothing will be good enough - we are afraid of disappointing our guests.
“We’re so nervous about the first time! We’re afraid we’ll forget something or that our guests won’t like our home or the area.” - Annie
"At the beginning and being the first time, it stressed me out a little, I must admit, because I wanted everything to be perfect. I thought about what my guests would like more, how much space they would need, if they would be comfortable, etc. One wants to trust that others will behave as you would in their home, but there are always doubts the first time.” - Ari
Communication is Key
Focus on chatting with future guests, learning more about them, discovering common ground, and creating a relationship of trust. All this helps to calm doubts and fears.
“My fears were overcome once I first started to communicate with my guests. I got a very good feel of who they were and the type of people who were coming to my house. It made me feel like they’re not strangers anymore.” - Rebecca
“The contact with my guests at all times was pleasant and fluid, and the whole process of communication was very easy and my guests were a lovely and super relaxed family. We had an unexpected problem and they couldn't take a shower one day. I was super worried and upset that this would happen to us the first time someone came to our home. They had a baby and two teenagers. You know what they said to me? ‘Relax! The kids will be glad not to shower!’" - Ari
Beautiful Memories are Created
Through discussion, and even meetings when possible, we discover common ground, we share good times, and far from the apprehensions of the first exchange, friendships are woven.
"We shared a wonderful afternoon in our garden when we met our Dutch hosts at the end of our exchange. We exchanged our experiences living each others’ lives and found we had a lot in common. We have become great friends and now go on exchanges every year at the same time." - Yvonne
"We recently lent our house to an Argentinian couple on a mission to Paris for a long weekend. We were able to wait for their arrival to give them the keys and have lunch with them. They had two little girls, one who was the same age as our daughter. The girls got along right away, our daughter didn't want to go away for the weekend anymore, she wanted to stay at home with our guests! We communicated all weekend, the girls sent photos to each other, and when we returned, little details awaited us everywhere in the house." - Sophie
“With each exchange, we’re always delighted to have been in contact with new people. This creates a beautiful community! During almost every exchange, I could say that we were lucky to have an exceptional experience! We would like to share this little anecdote: our current Canadian exchangers have integrated well into our neighborhood; they spent New Years’ Eve with our friends and neighbors. It was really fun and unique to share a moment with them and our friends via video conference that evening! ” - Annie
Impossible to Live Without
Hospitality is an essential part of HomeExchange: everyone welcomes and is welcomed in return. It is this common sharing, this respectful kindness, and this open-mindedness that make home exchanging and hospitality so addictive!
“After hosting for the 1st time, I realized just how easy it is! And also how kind and generous it encourages us to be." - Yvonne
“After our first exchange, we felt more confident, everything went well and we realized how simple, pleasant and rich this concept was! Our guests share this adventure with us. They ‘look like us’ and respect our home as they want us to respect theirs! It is truly a different and care-free way to travel.” -Annie
"What I particularly like is finding out what visits our guests liked or what they enjoyed discovering near our home. You always get new ideas about what is fun to see where you live, places that are just around the corner that you didn’t even know about. I will always remember our Spanish hosts from Andalucia telling us about "Beloeil Castle" just 30 minutes from our home. We were very curious about it and decided to visit it on a Sunday afternoon. We were amazed! We didn't know such a beautiful castle existed in our area!" - Sophie