I’m planning a trip to Singapore in the fall. And I’m looking forward to having time to really explore this tiny country. But in truth, I think 9 days is too much time for the city itself. So I’m also considering a few day trips out to islands and maybe to nearby cities in Malaysia. As part of this trip planning I’m reaching out to people with listings on my home exchange networks, proposing swaps or points stays.
There are a number of home exchangers in Singapore. I’m talking with a few people about potential swaps, but so far no one has been able to confirm for my dates. This is an inherent problem with picking my dates before working on my home exchanges. But for now this is my priority: dates that work and free (or nearly free) award flights. I know I may not secure an exchange, especially in a place without a ton of home swap listings. But that’s what my hotel points are for. (Also I have a good friend living there who has an extra bedroom).
In researching day trips I came across Malacca, a city a few hours north of Singapore, in Malaysia. The city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I put this on my list of potential places to visit. And I noticed that one of the homes listed near Singapore on LoveHomeSwap is in Malacca. I contacted the owner of this home and he agreed that a points-based stay would work well for my dates.
I only really want to visit Malacca for a few days. My Malaysian friends agree this is enough time to see the city and enjoy the food. So it’s great that we can use points for a short stay in this otherwise unoccupied second home.
But I want to mention some potential problems with short points-based swaps. First, the home owner might worry about the cost/effort of cleaning the place. I certainly try to leave my house swaps in the same clean condition they were when I arrived. But not everyone does this. And it’s a hassle to clean every few days.
Second, I admit this swap feels like a transaction more than a home exchange agreement. I’m paying points for a stay, and communication with my swap partner has been pretty limited. I offered to do a skype call, or answer question, to let my host get to know me. But he didn’t think this was necessary. Though he has been very responsive and helpful in our email communication. And once we agreed to the swap he connected with me over WhatsApp and offered to provide helpful tips about things to do and places to eat in Malacca.
I’m not concerned for two reasons. First, I’ve done points-based stays before with limited communication and they’ve all turned out great. As long as my swap partner is responsive and kind in emails, I don’t worry. And in this case the swap presents me with little risk. Lodging in Malacca is quite cheap, and I’m confident I could find something as a backup last minute if something goes wrong.
I have done short points-based home stays before, and they have all worked out really well. In fact I’ve ended up friends with some of my hosts. I don’t anticipate any problems, but I know these concerns prevent some people from hosting or doing short points-based home exchanges.