Christine, Thomas and Luca are not new to home exchanging, having completed 10 exchanges. Before hosting guests in their home in Toronto, Canada, they admit they had some doubts. Here's how they overcame their apprehensions and became hosts to people from around the world.
What were some of your biggest fears when hosting another member?
We have a custom designed home with a lot of cream furniture, so we were afraid that people wouldn’t be careful and respectful to our belongings and our home. We were scared of any damages and our furniture getting dirty.
How did you overcome this fear?
We love that it is the members that connect with each other for exchanges, so it puts you in control of selecting whom you feel comfortable hosting in your house. It made us comfortable hosting families that have been rated on their previous stays so we knew the families would be respectful in our home. Being able to communicate directly with the families and getting to know them was also important for us.
Have you hosted members from different countries?
We have hosted families from across the globe, families from the United States, Spain, and the United Kingdom. This is one of the things we love the most about home exchanging, building connections with other like minded people from all over the world.
Tell us about a memorable experience with a guest.
To be honest it is really hard to pick one, as we have had nothing but positive experiences. There is one family from Spain that we directly swapped homes with and we were in contact with each other the entire duration, we would give each other suggestions on where to eat, what visit. It was like we both had private tour guides helping us plan our schedules. We have connected on social media and still follow each other’s travel journeys.
What do you like most about hosting other members?
We love making connections with like-minded people from all over the world, all with the same passion for travel. We like learning what our guests enjoyed most about our home city and what they loved about their stay at our home. We have hosted many families and have been guests even more times. We love how this program is budget way to travel without compromising your quality of accommodations.
How do you prepare your home for your guests?
We have created a welcome booklet and package. It has everything they need to know about our home, where to find things, how to reach us, basically anything they need to know to make their stay comfortable. We also leave behind pamphlets on popular tourist sites, underground transit maps, restaurant recommendations, and local supermarkets for them to buy food for days they want a home cooked meal.
What tips and tricks would you give to others who are hosting guests?
Get to know your guest and be available if they need to reach you with any questions they may have about your city or your home. Having this communication will ease your mind and reassure you that your home is in good hands. We feel when you build a relationship with your guests the more respectful they are to your home.
What did you realize after you hosted for the first time?
We realize how incredible this program is. We have hosted many families and have been guests even more times. It is an amazing and budget way to travel. You meet amazing people all with the same passion of travel. From a guest perspective you are able to experience a new city as a local, which we absolutely love.