Have you ever worried that your home exchange guests wouldn't be satisfied with your home? You're not alone— Catalina, a house swapper from Germany, said she had the same concerns when she first embarked on the home exchanging journey.
But after she discovered what an amazing way to travel home exchanging can be, Catalina has done 13 exchanges, welcoming guests from France, Czech Republic, Italy, Switzerland, Austria and Spain. Catalina shared some of her best tips for home exchange hosts.
What were some of your biggest fears when hosting another member?
People's tastes and expectations are different, so our biggest fear is to disappoint in that regard. We also fear unexpected accidents or emergencies could occur in our absence. Last but not least, we are a bit afraid of big accidental damages brought to our home.
How did you overcome this fear?
We always do our best to leave our home in the best possible condition, we clean it thoroughly and always replace items that we think are old or could break. We cannot control many things while we are away, so we establish a strong base of communication with our guests and encourage them to do the same.
What do you like most about hosting other members?
Probably the moment when they discover our home and share their positive first impressions with us. On leaving our home, one guest left us a truly heartfelt hand-written note we really appreciated on our arrival back home.
How do you prepare your home for your guests?
Our home undergoes a very thorough preparation before every exchange which includes very careful cleaning and replacement of old or broken items. I prepared a home and city guide for our guests which I update before every exchange. I send a PDF of it via email prior to their arrival, and always leave a printed copy of it at home, next to a selection of brochures and travel tips for our city and region, and a little welcome gift.
We always leave some groceries at hand for the guests' first dinner and first breakfast in our home. Fresh sheets and towels on arrival are always at our guests' disposal.
What tips and tricks would you give to others who are hosting guests?
Thorough preparation before an exchange is the key, take your time weeks in advance to clean to prepare your home properly for the upcoming exchange. Good communication before the exchange will save you the trouble of explaining everything while you are away. Be there when your guests need you for emergencies.
Communication during the exchange is also very important. Be clear about the things you expect during the exchange. Be kind and patient. We strongly advise hosts to prepare a home and travel guide for their guests, ours always appreciate our home manual and all the information we give in advance.
What did you realize after you hosted for the first time?
People have different cleanliness standards. People appreciate different things about our home depending on their country of origin.