I realise that lots of people may be hesitant about Home Exchange. I am the same way inclined. It is completely normal to be nervous about opening up your home to strangers.
But, that’s where you might be surprised. After initial enquiry messages, then emails, and finally, phone and/or Skype calls, the person who will be staying in your home will no longer be an official Stranger! Getting to know your Exchange Partner in advance is one of the things we (really, really) recommend.
You may treat this experience as a bit of a ‘business transaction’ but actually, it might end up being more along the lines of a friendship. Sort of.
Anyway, I thought it might reassure you to read about some others’ experiences of Home Exchange. Unfortunately, British people seem less inclined to blog about Home Exchange, so two of these particular examples are from our overseas friends, but I’m sure you won’t mind, and people are people after all.
This is from Rosie Millard:
“Within our five swaps (so far), we have had one dissatisfied customer; the Madrid swappee. “You have too many stairs in your house,” she sniffed after she (and six of her friends) stayed in our home. Well, it is a London terrace. Everyone has stairs in London. “And your furniture is old.” That hurt. Did she not recognise shabby chic when she saw it? However, we acted on this last point, and replaced some admittedly ancient sofas with a fancy new one.”
And from thesebootstravel:
“The first question everyone always asks is, “Weren’t you worried about having a stranger in your house?” Yes, I was: for about five seconds. But think about it: is someone going to spend $130 bucks plus the cost of international airline tickets so they can rip you off? Not bloody likely. The people who go through the minor hassle of signing up with an exchange agency want what you want: an affordable vacation in an interesting part of the world. They’re not after your jewellery. Mutual trust is the bedrock of successful home exchange, so if you’re someone who doubts the essential goodness of humanity, you might want to book into a hotel instead.”
And finally, as things don’t always go as you want them to, an amusing story of Home Exchange unrequited love by Emma Straub:
“The woman sent us an email saying that she’d love to do it again sometime, except maybe we could just stay at her house. I don’t think she meant it. I think she knew how happy we had been, and felt a little guilty that the love had been unrequited.
Since that summer, when we visit Los Angeles, we go out of our way to check on the house. We drive by slowly, staring longingly out the window, remembering the good times we’d had—and never would again. Such is the nature of love.”
Read some of our top FAQs for Home Exchange here.
Our goal is to enable LOADS of lovely holidays, and your first year is FREE! Happy Holidays!
~Sharon (Teacher Home Exchange)
If you’ve got a story to tell about Home Exchange and your experience, I’d love to hear it. You can contact me below in the Comments, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org