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During the summer of 2020, many countries were given the go-ahead to welcome guests back into their homes. Which made us insanely happy! But we’re also mindful that we still need to look after our valuable community. So read on for a handy guide to some of the key things you’ll need to consider to safely home swap during the pandemic. 

As the saying goes, ‘knowledge is power’. And with constantly changing circumstances surrounding when and where it is safe to travel, that sentiment couldn’t be more apt. So top of your ‘to do’ list before embarking on your travels, should be this: for the latest, most up-to-date advice, check your local government website as well as the local government guidelines of the country and area you are intending to visit prior to travelling. It also goes without saying that you should not travel if you’ve been recently exposed to, or have symptoms of Covid-19. If you have been exposed to the virus or if you have symptoms and you need to cancel your upcoming home swap, please get in touch with our friendly Customer Services team who will help you navigate the next steps.  
 

Be prepared 


If you are thinking of travelling soon, there are a few more considerations to review compared to your usual pre-travel to-do-list. But with a little bit of planning, and our useful guides below, you’ll be packing that suitcase before you know it:  

Home swapping as a guest 
Home swapping as a host 

 

 

Home swapping as a guest

 

Confirm travel details 

Before you do anything, confirm that you can visit your host’s home given national and regional travel restrictions. Requirements change frequently and quickly, so check the relevant guidelines every 3-4 days leading up to your home swap. 

 

Confirm quarantine requirements 

Many countries’ borders are open; however, some still require you to self-isolate upon arrival. In cases like these, it is important to discuss with the host anything that you may need to pick up or pre-order ahead of your stay, so that you’re fully prepared. 

 

Get your paperwork sorted 

Aside from your usual travel paperwork, you may need additional certificates and paperwork in order to enter the area you’re visiting.  

This may include: 

- Proof of a negative Covid-19 test prior to arriving  

- Some form of visa 

- Additional forms specific to Covid-19 on arrival and return 

- Proof of booked accommodation  

- Travel insurance that includes Covid-19 cover 

 

For Covid-19 tests, make sure you check how old these can be, as some places will accept tests taken up to 72 hours earlier, while others only accept tests that are no older than 48 hours. 

Similar to the rules surrounding international travel, the rules around visas can change at short notice too. Make sure you regularly check the your local government’s website for your destination to find out the specific visa requirements. 

Ask your host to share their contact details and address ahead of arriving at your home swap

 

Confirm your swap details 

Due to newly introduced track-and-trace systems, many countries require an address for where you will be staying during your visit. Be sure to confirm this with your host ahead of your trip, and make sure you have their contact details in case you need to provide a reference.  

 

Read up on local social distancing requirements 

As each country and region is different, you will need to know the social distancing requirements for both your travel destination, and the mode of transport that you will be travelling by (including bus, taxi, car rentals, train or plane).  

If the area you are travelling to has relaxed requirements around PPE and social distancing, follow the philosophy of ‘better safe than sorry’ - so make sure you have antibacterial hand gel and some form of face covering with you at all times.  
 

Know the key Covid-19 phrases 

No one wants to be caught out without a mask, or unable to book a table. So to help you navigate these unusual times, we have created an easily downloadable audio guide to all the key Covid-19 phrases you will need whilst abroad.  

 

Double-check what you need to pack 

Although in the past your host may have happily provided towels and linens, with the new additional cleaning requirements, some may ask you to provide your own supplies. A simple email or text will confirm this ahead of setting off on your travels. 

Check with your host whether you need to pack essentials such as towels and bed linen.  

 

Confirm house rules 

Again, something as trivial as picking up a book from your host’s bookshelf may seem silly to ask permission to do, but it’s important to understand what is now ‘off limits’ in their home. Key questions to ask are whether you can use the ingredients in their food cupboard, whether your kids can use their children’s toys, and whether there are any areas of their home that they don’t want you to use.  Take a look at our guide to house rules for more inspiration. 

 

Pack extra cleaning supplies 

While your host will of course take the time to clean their home for your visit, you can also take some precautionary measures by packing some cleaning supplies to make your stay as comfortable as possible. This includes disposable, compact antibacterial surface wipes for frequently touched surfaces, as well as some detergent for washing your masks and towels regularly.  

 

Packing extra cleaning supplies to provide peace of mind whilst on your home swap

 

 

Home swapping as a host 

 

Check your local authority Covid-19 policies 

Restrictions regarding Covid-19 change quickly according to country, region, city and even suburbs, so it’s important to keep up-to-date with your local government’s policies before welcoming guests to your home.  
 

Check if they have any special requirements  

Are your guests going to be working from your home? If so, it might be nice to clear some space for them to create a makeshift ‘home office’ as well as checking your WiFi. If your guests are arriving by plane or train and not their own private car, it may be worth sharing some local taxi details, or booking them an Uber to ensure they arrive at yours safely. 

 

Stock up on cleaning supplies 

You may be hiring a professional cleaner to take care of cleaning before and after your guests arrive, but it’s always good practice to stock up on cleaning supplies for their stay. This way, your guests can ensure your home stays clean and sanitised throughout their stay. 

 

Provide local recommendations 

Local knowledge is so valuable! All those delicious takeaways and scenic walking trails you’ve discovered during lockdown? Share these nuggets of wisdom with your home swap guests. Not only are these great insider tips, it’s also a great way to bring custom to local businesses, and help your guests stay clear of busy tourist spots.   

Share information your favourite takeaways and cafes with your guests 

 

Give your neighbours a heads-up 

More than ever, it’s important that your neighbours are aware of guests staying in your home, especially if your home is in a complex or apartment block with shared spaces.  

 

Confirm any cleaning costs 

Sometimes home swappers negotiate an additional cleaning fee with their guests. It’s always important to make your guests aware of any additional costs such as these, so that they can factor them into their overall travel costs.  

 

Stay safe and keep swapping! 

Most importantly, we want all of our members to keep up the spirit of home swapping. We have an amazing community of travel-lovers who are excited to welcome guests to their home, and share their local area with others.  

If you have any questions about home swapping, our fantastic Customer Services team are on hand to help. We’d love to hear from you.  

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