I’m not very good about keeping my home exchange network calendars up to date. In theory, everyone notes the dates they have available. This makes searching for a swap much easier. But with our travel plans constantly evolving, I often forget to update these calendars.
Still I get a lot of requests that end up overlapping with our travel plans. Most recently, while we will be away for a work trip we have someone visiting from Palm Springs.
If you are traveling for work and staying in hotels, I hope you are being strategic about your hotel points and status earning. Your work is basically paying you to earn free points. A little research will help you optimize these hotel stays. And then you can double your points earnings on these trips by hosting someone in your empty home. Hotel points + home exchange points = lots of free future lodging.
This house swap was pretty easy to arrange. The fellow reached out and asked if we had any availability for a week some time between February and May. If you’re looking for a home exchange and can offer people this kind of flexibility you’ll have a much easier time finding a match. When I first got his message I wasn’t sure of the dates we’d be away, but I let him know I could probably accommodate him. I asked him to check back in a few weeks when we would know our schedule.
As an aside, I never offer to get back to people when our plans firm up if they are requesting a points swap. When I’m not the one looking for a place to stay I’m likely to forget to do this. And I figure if they haven’t found a place they will get back in touch. It would be nicer if I offered to update people when our plans solidify. But at least this way I’m never disappointing people by forgetting about them.
I actually remembered to update my calendar on LoveHomeSwap, the network this requestor used. So when he next got in touch it was a quick back and forth to fix on a week within the time we’d be away.
I still have a complaint about networks that allow simultaneous and non-simultaneous exchanges not handling the availability calendar very well. I want to be able to note when I can host someone and also when I’m open for a simultaneous swap. For me, with only one home, these are not the same thing. But all the networks set up their calendars to handle only one type of availability. Maybe this is a low priority for the networks. Perhaps it’s because most people are like me and bad at keeping calendars up to date. But for me this lack of specificity is a disincentive to doing regular calendar updates.