Home Exchange

Home exchange without the exchange

home exchange

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:

  1. No worries about break ins or stolen packages.
  2. Building relationships with other home exchangers.
  3. Helping someone have a low cost vacation.
  4. 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).
  5. 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.

 

2 Comments

  • We have done this, too. Before we started homeexchanging we used to do a lot of things to make our house look like we were still at home, put timers on our lamps, arrange for someone to empty the mailbox, water the plants etc etc. But when we exchange we don’t need to worry about all that, as we know that someone is taking good care of our home. Therefore we’ve tried to find fellow exchangers who would like to stay here when we’ve been away on a non-exchange trip, so we didn’t need to worry about our house while away.

  • In Australia we often have a problem exchanging with Europe and the US. Most people want to come to Australia but it’s so far away, expensive to get here and when people arrive they tend to want to travel around a bit rather than stay in one place.

    Last year when we went to Europe, just pre-covid, we organised some shorter one-way exchanges also via People Like Us. That was a mixture of Globe, non-simultaneous and good, old-fashioned, no expectation in return hospitality. None of those wanted to travel to Australia at exactly that time so we also advertised our place in the People Like Us Facebook group to see if anyone wanted to stay. We were lucky enough to find a lovely couple who come to Australia nearly every year and who I had met on their previous trip. They stayed in our home for 3 weeks.

    We booked this as an open-ended non-simultaneous exchange as we didn’t know when, if ever, we’d be able to get to their place in the US. One day we may reciprocate but if we don’t, it still doesn’t matter. I see only positives in this. We caught up when we returned as they were completing their trip. They are just the loveliest couple and I really feel we’ve made friends out of the experience. Sharing what you have brings a lot of happiness to the world!

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