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So it’s almost time for you to get packing and venture off onto your exciting swap adventure. As well as packing your suitcase, there are a few other things to remember before you jet off. To help you out, we’ve put together a guide on what to remember before your swap… 

The list:

- Leave your home guide
- Make a plan for your keys
- Gather your local tips, maps etc.
- Write down your rules and expectations
- Let your neighbours know
- Enlist and brief your local contact
- Make space
- Move valuables
- Stock the cupboards
- Add your personal touches 

Leave a guide

How your home works may be second nature to you, but for others it might take a little getting used to. It's good to leave a little guide to your home for your visitors, some things you might want to include are:

- Wifi password

- How to use the: TV/ entertainment system, shower, air con or central heating, household appliances and any fancy gadgets

- Any neighbourhood tips, like when the garbage is taken out or any parking rules

- Any guidelines for taking care of the house and pets if you have them and their staying

- List of numbers (doctor, emergency services etc)

Make a plan for keys

One of the first things most swappers wonder is how they'll swap keys. While most leave keys with a neighbour, friend or family member to deliver upon arrival, others securely courier a spare set ahead of time, or store them in a secure locker for collection.

Discuss your options with your swapper - just don't leave them under the mat!

Add in your local tips

Many Love Home Swappers exchange for a more local feel on vacation - so you'll find more often than not that your local knowledge will be happily welcomed. Local information you could consider sharing in your guide to your home includes:

- Local transport information

- Maps and/or guidelines on accessing local amenities

- Guide pamphlets to attractions you know might be of interest

- Your favourite cafés, bars, restaurants etc.

- A reliable taxi service

- Numbers for cleaning, babysitting and other helpful services

Write down your rules and expectations

Pre-swap you both need to know what's allowed and what isn't. Some swappers might be more than happy to share their car but would rather you didn't touch the family piano.

Plenty of communication will ensure your wine cellar remains unexplored and your bikes unused if you wish. You can also include a helpful reminder of this to guests in the guide you leave them.

Remember - if you don't tell them it's off-limits there's no way they can know, so be up-front about your do's and don't's. Things to consider are:

- Food and drink

- Cars (you'll need to run this by your insurance company too)

- Sport equipment (especially for ski breaks)

- Gadget and electronics, like computers

Let your neighbours know

Some of your neighbours might see strangers going into your house and have a few questions, so it might be worth alerting one or two of them what you're doing.

Enlist and brief your local contact

Your guests will be reassured by knowing the names and contact numbers of neighbours or friends in the area. They'll generally know a few important things about your home and often they're the ones who'll be giving your guests the keys.

Make space

One of the real perks of home swapping is all that lovely space. Compared to the standard hotel room, even a London studio apartment is pretty spacious - so make sure your swappers are going to feel the benefit!

Make some space in drawers, wardrobes and kitchen cupboards so your guests can spread out and enjoy your home.

Move Valuables

While we believe in the integrity of all our swappers, it's still wise to make sure you're not putting yourself at risk.

Valuable items you wouldn't want to risk being broken or damaged should be locked away or moved from the property pre-swap as a precaution to ensure you aren't left with any nasty surprises.

Stock the cupboards

It's a nice gesture to leave your guest with some bare essentials and home comforts. Again, this should be discussed pre-swap, so you don't start your swap on the wrong food, disappointed your hosts didn't leave you what you'd expect. Items to consider bringing in for your guest include:

- Cleaning products

- Laundry detergent

- Basic food items like bread, milk

Add your personal touches

Many of our member's leave guests bottles of wine and even hampers or baskets of goodies to welcome their guests.

Many people travel for special occasions too, so it's worth chatting about your guests reason for travelling (as well as your own), especially if you're the type of person who likes to go above and beyond for others.

Your basic host checklist

- Cleaning - House, garden and pool or car if applicable

- Contact numbers - Emergency services, friend or neighbour, taxi service

- Local guide - Selection of your favourite restaurants/bars, shops in the area, best beaches, events taking place during their stay

- Fresh linen and cupboard space

- Gadget guide - TV, Wifi, security, washing machine etc

- Household basics

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