While traveling with friends this summer we will all be staying together in an Airbnb. This leaves my home available to host home exchange guests for a week. I indicated this availability on the calendar on my home swap network websites. And I got a few requests from members of those networks. The first request came from a couple who is doing a road trip with a stop in my city. They wanted to stay for 4 nights, matching the first 4 nights of my trip. After a bit of discussion I agreed to host them.
A few months later I got another request, for just two nights, directly after the previous guest. This meant having guests stay back-to-back in my home. Without me having a chance to get home to clean, wash the sheets, and make sure the place was ready for guests. I had a few reasons to turn down this request, aside from the challenge of a back-to-back exchange. First, the short stay requires as much work on my end as a longer stay. And second, this request was on the Love Home Swap network, which I’m considering quitting at the end of the year. I politely declined, explaining that I’m just not set up to host consecutive stays.
More recently another person reached out to ask about staying for four nights, again directly after my other guests. This is someone I know from some Home Exchange social media groups. So I have a bit of a personal connection. But still I explained that I don’t have any way of preparing my home for back-to-back guests. I told him to come back to me if he couldn’t find anything else. And a few weeks later he got back in touch saying that all his other requests were turned down. He also offered to clean and do the laundry upon arrival so that I wouldn’t have to worry about preparing my home.
I don’t think it should be necessary for my guests to clean the home when they arrive. But I hadn’t talked about cleaning yet with my first set of summer guests. So I contacted them to ask about their departure time, and also to talk about my expectation that they leave the home as clean as when they arrived. I got a quick reply back assuring me that they would definitely clean before leaving and even had planned to wash the linens. Conveniently they have a train to catch at 8am so they will be out quite early that day. I assured them that doing laundry before 8am is definitely not expected.
With this assurance I was able to go back to my second guests and agree to their stay with the understanding that they will need to wash the sheets and towels upon arrival.
I do have some neighbors who I might ask to check in on the place in between guests. But I don’t anticipate any problems. I know some people like to have a cleaner come in between guests. But scheduling that down to the hour after guests leave seems challenging. And I don’t have someone I use regularly who I could just ask to check on the place and not do a cleaning if it looks good.
Having no check on my home in between guests raises a concern I’ve heard from others: the Home Exchange network insurance system doesn’t account for back-to-back guests. They require the host to sign off that nothing was broken or otherwise ruined in their home after guests leave. But how can the host distinguish between the acts of one guest and the next without a thorough review of the home in between? I don’t think there’s anything Home Exchange can do about this to help hosts. But it’s something to consider if you don’t trust your guests to be honest when they break stuff. I prefer to just trust my guests and not worry about it.