Preparing for your home exchange guests
Start a folder a few weeks before your holiday and include in it any information your guests might find useful. This can be kept for reference by future guests. Include:
- Tourist brochures, maps, recommended local restaurants, shops, bus and train time tables
- A list of phone numbers - your agent, doctor, dentist, garage, taxi, baby-sitter, servicemen, emergency numbers
- Instructions for operating appliances and heating system. It is a very good idea to use 'post it' notes to stick simple instructions, especially any little 'quirks', on appliances
- Indicate the location of your fuse box and water cut-off
- Give location of extra bedding and linen
- Provide instructions for caring for pets/plants
- Explain security measures that must be taken in your home
- Tell of arrangements for rubbish disposal, milk delivery
- Give arrangements for laundry of bedding before you return and handing back keys
- Make certain you have provided a map and clear instructions on how to reach your home in good time before the holiday if you have not arranged to have your guests collected from the airport.
- Before you go, leave your home clean and tidy with enough space for your partners to store their belongings. Clear out your refrigerator but leave just a few basic foods for your guests on arrival. After a long, tiring trip they'll appreciate your thoughtfulness.
- If exchanging cars, clean your car inside and out. Leave enough petrol in the tank so that your partners won't be stranded on their first day in an unfamiliar area. If you are leaving your car in the airport car park for collection give clear instructions on where it is parked and also on how to reach your home from the airport.
- If you have a friend or neighbour acting as your agent, provide them with two sets of keys for your home (and car) and ensure that they will be available to welcome your guests on arrival.
- If your exchange partners have agreed to look after pets, leave an adequate supply of food.
Note: Initial exchange offer inquiries are generally quite brief messages to gauge interest in a possible swap. Some members use information from their Reference folder to provide more details on their home, local area and distances to attractions and to answer any questions.