Home swapping can be an incredible and unique way to holiday, whilst also saving a ton of money on travel accommodation. To make sure that you make the most of this way to travel, we’ve compiled our top 10 home swap tips to ensuring you have the best home swap experience.
1. Create a detailed home listing
Most home swapping platforms, including Love Home Swap require you to build a profile to swap homes. This is normally the first thing that a home swap site asks you to complete, so is often overlooked by users as they’re keen to browse the homes on the site first.
However, your listing is the first impression that any other member on the site has of you, so it’s crucial for yours to show you and your home’s personality. The requirements for what you include on your listing varies according to what platform you are using, but for Love Home Swap details include:
- Location – where it is, what’s nearby, what there is to do nearby
- Description – describe what makes your home and your area special
- Facilities – appliances, car use, child-friendly etc.
- Photos – include photos of bedrooms, the view, the outside of the home, and nearby sights
2. Read listings carefully before enquiring
No one likes a full inbox. So it’s important to check dates, details and the location of the home you are enquiring before you contact the member to ensure that it’s the right fit for you. If the member’s listing doesn’t include the details you need to know, make a note and include this in your home swap request.
3. Write the perfect home swap request
When sending a message to other members, it’s vital to make a good first impression. First double check that the member is available during the times you are looking to travel, and then consider what you are looking for. This needs to be personable, whilst also remaining as concise as possible. Often members in highly desired areas like major cities receive a lot of home swap requests, so it’s important to stand out in a good way.
4. Keep an open mind
Don’t be discouraged if you are struggling to find an exchange in the exact location you are looking for. Instead, look further afield to nearby towns and cities that may have more properties. If you’re not set on exact dates, being flexible on when you exchange can also help you secure a home swap.
Also, when receiving swap enquiries do consider trips that you wouldn’t have normally. Consider the fact that home swapping is not only about having a fantastic holiday, it’s also about meeting new people who may become friends for life. Some of our members best home swap experiences have been from unplanned holidays to destinations they had not considered before.
5. Have realistic expectations
If you live in a popular travel or tourist destination like New York, Paris, London you will most likely receive a great deal of swap requests in comparison to those more in lesser known destinations.
The important thing to remember in cases like these is that members travel for various reasons – it could be for a wedding, to visit family. Is your home within an hour’s drive from a area of interest? If you live in greater L.A. but can drive to Disney Land in 2 hours, put it on your profile!
6. Get to know your homeswap hosts better
Once you have found the perfect home swap for you, it’s important to provide not only information about yourself but also the hosts. Before details of the swap have been confirmed on the platform (see tip 8), it’s a good idea to set up a video call on FaceTime or Skype. This way you can be confident in knowing the exchange host is the right fit for your home swap, if you don’t feel comfortable after speaking to them then you know it’s not the right for you.
7. Sort the travel details before swapping
Arriving at 2am from your 7-hour flight? Make sure that your hosts have left a key somewhere safe and accessible for your arrival time. Details about what is included in the home, what to do with dirty linen and towels once you leave and directions to the home should all be sorted ahead of time to prevent ant last minute swap mishaps.
8. Keep the conversation on the platform
It’s important to make sure any decisions about your home swap are kept on the platform. This way, any potential hiccups or difficulties along the way can be dealt with quickly and efficiently by the customer services team. If you’ve arranged to be picked up from the airport by your hosts, and there’s a no show – there’s nothing on paper that your home exchange platform can do if it’s off-site.
9. Hide away any valuables before guests arrive
The beauty of home swapping is that you don’t need to pack away everything for your guests. Clearing some space in the wardrobe, drawers and kitchen cupboards is more than enough. However, anything that you’d feel more comfortable being out of reach of your guests should be securely put or locked away. You can store your items in a secured box hidden out of the way or choose to store items in a room that is ‘out of bounds’. If there is a room that you would not like your guests using, it’s important to not list any images of this room and make this clear in your conversations or your property listing.
10. Establish ground rules prior to the home swap
No matter how you travel, there are always bound to be some hiccups along the way. Iron out any specific requirements that you have of your hosts (do they need to take the bins out during their stay? If it’s a long-term home swap, how will bills be sorted?) before doing your home swap. An easy way of doing this and ensuring you haven't missed anything out is by creating a set of house rules to give your guest. This can also be a time to ask any questions you have for your host and your stay at theirs. Once this is cleared up, it’s time to…
Now that you have these tips, it’s time to get searching and find your perfect home swap! To test out home swapping for yourselves, sign up now for a two-week free trial. Any Qs? Get in touch and we’d be happy to help.