By putting out your welcome mat before an exchange, your guests will feel more comfortable visiting your home and have a worry-free vacation. Here are a few tips to prepare yourself for an exchange.

1. Tidy up your home

Do you prefer to have a home with everything in its place or are you a little more relaxed? Whatever your housekeeping method, it is always best to clarify before you arrange an exchange. Many members prefer to exchange with people who have similar habits as it can make everyone feel more comfortable during their stay. If you are a family with tiny humans, look for homes that are better equipped to handle sticky fingers and offer laundry facilities. Communicating your expectations and needs clearly is a great way to make sure everyone has the best exchange possible.

2. Leave some space

A little room can go a long way when it comes to feeling at home. By making sure your guests have plenty of space for their luggage, clothes, and groceries, they will feel all the more welcome. Leave some room in your closets, empty a few drawers, leave plenty of empty clothes hangers and clear enough space in the kitchen for them to store mealtime staples. You can also share which items are moveable and which you would prefer they keep in place. It is also ideal to:

  • Make sure there are enough clean towels and linens for your guests.
  • Stock up on items like toilet paper, bath soap, and cleaning supplies.
  • Store any valuables or lock important items away in a closet.

3. Leave Instructions

When preparing your home for the arrival of your guests, it is helpful to:

  • Leave written directions or an simple guide in a handy place for things like TV remotes, kitchen appliances, WiFi networks, alarm systems, heating units, air conditioners, and the vacuum cleaner.
  • Make a list of names and phone numbers of repair people you trust.
  • Leave simple, written instructions for pet and plant care.
  • Ask your post office to hold your mail for you until you return.
  • Temporarily discontinue newspaper delivery.
  • Prepay your bills.
  • Get the lawn mowed, pool cleaned, etc. prior to your guest's arrival.
  • If a car is part of the exchange, leave copies of your car insurance and registration. Also, you might want to get your car tuned up.
  • Make a list of emergency numbers that include your doctor, a nearby hospital or emergency clinic, the fire department, and the police.

4. Share the local flavor

One of the many perks of using HomeExchange for travel is the ability to live like a local. Help give your guests an orientation to the area by leaving a city guide with insider information. Here are some items that might help them make the most of their visit:

  • It might seem basic, but where do you do your grocery shopping? If the store a few miles away has a much better selection than the one across the street, your guests will appreciate the information (and directions).
  • Include a range of restaurants, from cheap eats to special nights out (and be up front about prices). If possible, leave menus for your guests from local take-out and delivery restaurants for those nights when cooking or going out both seem like daunting tasks!
  • Find out ahead of time if there are certain types of activities your guests plan on doing. If they love hiking, print out a local trail map. Into museums? Leave tips on free museum days and upcoming exhibits.
  • If you live in a suburb, include the best ways to get into the city (highway always crowded around rush hour? What’s your secret shortcut?) Your guests will appreciate not having to sit in traffic, and they’ll have more time to enjoy the activities listed in their city guide!
  • Stay away from the stuff in the tour books (chances are your guest already read those). What are YOUR favorite things to do in your town?

5. A warm welcome

A lot of our Members like to leave a small gift for their Exchange Partners. It can be a bottle of wine, breakfast food, some fruits, a simple meal or even a local delicacy. While it isn’t necessary, it is wonderful gesture to help them kick off their exchange.

For more tips on getting your home ready, take a look at this comprehensive checklist.

Are you ready to exchange? Join now and start living like a local.

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