HomeExchange member Don has hosted fellow home swappers from around the world in his San Diego home, with 23 exchanges under his belt. He shares his experiences using this authentic and budget-friendly way to travel as a self-proclaimed HomeExchanged addict!
What were some of your biggest fears when hosting another member?
My biggest fear was having something go wrong. What if a toilet overflows or an appliance stops working? I was worried that the guests wouldn't be able to work the TV or they would lose their house key.
How did you overcome this fear?
I meet all my guests in person. I even pick them up from the airport! I have a booklet that I prepared with all the relevant details of the condo and instructions on how to operate everything. The booklet lists emergency contacts (beside myself) in case something goes wrong.
Tell us about a memorable experience with a guest.
I had a couple stay from the Gold Coast in Australia. We did a non-reciprocal exchange. They stayed in my condo in July of 2019 and I flew down to the Gold Coast and stayed with them in September 2019. I met them at the airport and after they settled in I offered to spend a day showing them the sights of San Diego. We had a fabulous time and they really appreciated seeing parts of San Diego that they could not have seen without a car. We had lunch together and have became fast friends. Upon my arrival at the Gold Coast, Australia they picked me up at the airport and toured me around the area. We had a lovely dinner together and actually spent quite a bit of time with each other. They had a second condo just a few blocks away from where I stayed which made it easy for us to get together. We continue to talk and can't wait to be able to do this again!
What do you like most about hosting other members?
Meeting my home exchangers in person. Making a connection is what I like best about home exchange. All of my reciprocal and non reciprocal exchanges have overlapped by a few days so we could meet in person. It is BY FAR the best thing to do, if possible. I have life long friends now because of home exchange.
How do you prepare your home for your guests?
I leave a booklet with all of the pertinent information. Wifi password, instructions on how to use all the appliances, check out procedures and things to see and do in San Diego. Living downtown makes it easy to see and do a lot even without a car! I also leave seasonal gifts. Someone staying over New Years gets New Years Eve hats and party favors. Someone staying over Easter gets chocolate bunnies. Everyone gets a bottle of wine.
What tips and tricks would you give to others who are hosting guests?
Make a connection with your guests. Pick them up from the airport if they are flying in. That is a big one! Just navigating getting to someone's house can be daunting sometimes. Having that time with them to talk about your city and get them excited can make all the difference and will give your home exchangers a great first impression!
What did you realize after you hosted for the first time?
My first home exchange was from a couple in Sydney, Australia. It was a preferred destination of mine. When they contacted me they indicated they would like to take the WHOLE MONTH of February at my condo in downtown San Diego and would I be willing to spend the month in Sydney. I couldn't believe it!! The exchange was FANTASTIC!! It made me realize that I was addicted to home exchange and will make it a part of my life forever.