I’m not really interested in hosting strangers in my home while I’m there. It’s not that there’s anything I’m afraid of, and I actually like people quite a lot. But having to constantly interact with a stranger in my home seems hard, and not particularly relaxing. I want to keep my stranger interaction to places outside my home, where I can always leave if I want.
But it turns out my private home space does have a price.
First I have to explain that I recently booked lodging for a two week vacation to Scotland, in both Edinburgh and in the highlands using home exchange points on LoveHomeSwap. That site has a lot of Scottish folks, many of whom have listed vacation homes. Booking these second homes using points instead of doing a simultaneous swap gives us the flexibility to explore several parts of Scotland. So for this vacation I “spent” a lot of the bank of points that I’ve built up hosting other travelers while we were out of town visiting family or friends. (Read more about home exchange with points here.)
Suddenly my LoveHomeSwap points bank was running low. And so when I got a request from a British man coming to San Francisco for a week and a half for work conferences I was inspired to suggest that he could stay in our spare room if he wasn’t able to find something better. I figured it was a long shot, after all I was clear we can only offer an air mattress in a small room. But he didn’t find anything better and was enthusiastic about saving the money by staying with us (he’s the CEO of an early stage startup working on a shoestring budget).
And so, eager to replenish our points budget, my wife and I agreed to host a stranger while we were in town. It turns out he’s a super nice guy. No surprise, so far all of the people I’ve met through home exchange have been super nice. And fortunately for us he also has good social skills so it’s not hard to have him around.
For very little effort on our part we are earning the equivalent of 10 free nights of lodging. This summer we’re staying in a place that looks like a castle on the shores of a loch in the highlands of Scotland. I’m pretty sure we’ll get some great value from those additional 10 nights on a future trip.