How often do you travel and leave your home empty? For most people this is the norm. That’s a lot of empty homes. I used to consider this normal. Maybe I’d worry a bit about break ins or the mailbox overflowing if UPSP failed to implement my mail hold. But after years of home exchanging, I now feel like it’s a waste to leave my home empty when I could be hosting a fellow traveler.
So when I planned a road trip recently I didn’t want to leave my home empty. The road trip itself didn’t involve any home exchanges. But that doesn’t mean I can’t host guests. I did list my home as available on a few networks that offer points-based exchanges, but I didn’t get any requests. No surprise since most people aren’t traveling much during the pandemic. Before giving up, I posted in the People Like Us Facebook group that my home would be available. This group does have a system of Globes which can be earned and spent for non-simultaneous stays (similar to points-based swapping). But I wasn’t trying to earn a Globe, I just wanted to make good use of my empty home. And a few people expressed interest.
I ended up agreeing to host a woman and her daughter who live a few hours from me. I’d had some conversations with her about doing a simultaneous swap at some point. It was a nice bonus to build a relationship with someone who I hope to exchange with in the future.
Am I crazy for welcoming strangers into my home while I’m away? Well, from my perspective I actually got some good value:
- No worries about break ins or stolen packages.
- Building relationships with other home exchangers.
- Helping someone have a low cost vacation.
- We’ve having a bit of an ant problem in spite of very careful cleaning and food storage. Having someone around to beat back any new encroaching attacks gave me peace of mind (yes, I warned them about this issue).
- My guests left us some lovely thank you gifts, local products from their town. That wasn’t expected but certainly appreciated.
I hope to find home exchanges for my future travels, but when that’s not possible I will definitely offer to host people again.