It's really fun to share our town with others. We've gathered lots of maps, menus, and travel guides for our area and leave recommendations for nearby activities. It gives us an excuse to explore more of our area (and eat at more restaurants) in order to share our favorites with our guests.
What country are you from?
United States of America
What were some of your biggest fears when hosting another member?
I wasn't fearful about hosting strangers in our home because we had already been doing house trades for several years through craigslist. We had learned from those trades how to vet our trade partners, which mostly meant listening to "gut feelings." Joining HomeExchange actually gave us more confidence in our trades in that we knew our partners were serious and experienced traders.
How did you overcome this fear?
Any concerns we had were handled by interactions with our trade partners (email, phone, Skype). Once we had contact and got to know our guests, we felt confident. We also used HomeExchanges ratings to verify that our guests had experience with trades and were welcome guests in others' homes.
Have you hosted members from different countries?
Most of our guests have been from the United States, but we've hosted couples from Canada twice, and we're looking forward to having guests from anywhere in the world.
Tell us about a memorable experience with a guest...
We love it when we get repeat guests. We've had a young couple from San Francisco return several times. We've never met them in person, but we always leave little gifts for each other, and it feels like they've become friends now. We hope we'll meet them some day!
How do you prepare your home for your Guests?
First, we clean from top to bottom! (It's nice to have an excuse to do deep cleaning.)
We keep a binder with house instructions (how to run the dishwasher, where fresh towels are, etc.), anything we think our guests might need to know. We also leave contact info in case anything goes wrong. We're always happy to answer questions by phone/text/email.
We've picked up lots of local tourist information from our Chamber of Commerce and leave a list of our favorite restaurants.
We also leave a welcome gift of wine and cheese or chocolates. It's a friendly gesture to make our guests know they are welcome. (We experienced this ourselves when we were guests and have been doing it ever since.)
What did you realize after you hosted for the first time?
It was very satisfying to know that our guests enjoyed our house and town and our efforts to make sure they had everything they needed. Their heartfelt thank you made us feel appreciated.
Would you like to see the world and meet new and interesting people?