I’ve managed to find a few home exchanges for one night stays. For instance, my recent stay in London. But I’ve never hosted someone for just one night. To get a one night home swap I think you have to be open to the possibility that your host might be home. Be prepared to stay in a guest bedroom. And also anticipate some social interaction with your host. It’s not ideal for everyone, but if you’re traveling alone this can be a great option. And a way to meet some nice people. (Read my pros and cons of hosted home exchanges post for more on this.)

I had someone request a one night stay recently with a message that she didn’t mind a shared home. So I offered her my guest room, with an air mattress. Certainly not luxury accommodations, though it’s an expensive air mattress! It turned out she really only planned to sleep for a few hours between an evening event and her morning flight. So this was more than sufficient for her needs.

I happened to also have a flight the next morning, so I was able to offer my guest a free ride to the airport. I didn’t get a chance to chat with her until that drive as we were both super busy the day before. But we got along quite well. I was fascinated by her job as an air traffic controller. I found myself wishing her stay had included some social time in my home.

This stay was booked through Guest to Guest, using their points system. I earned some points for hosting this woman for a night. For such short stays I think points are the best option. Very few people are looking for a simultaneous house swap for 1 night. And the odds of coordinating dates and locations to find someone matching your needs are tremendously low.

In many ways these short hosted stays resemble Couchsurfing, a network of free hosted lodging. I’ve only used Couchsurfing a few times, and I’ve never hosted anyone with that network.¬†With home exchange networks there is more verification of users, some insurance options, and a requirement that everyone host people to earn the points they are spending. For me this makes the difference in terms of how I feel about letting strangers into my home.