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Whether it's your first swap or your fiftieth, sometimes in all the excitement we can forget the details which make our trips not only seamless, but unforgettable. With this in mind, we've compiled our comprehensive pre-swap checklist, so next time you hit the airport, you won't be hit with panic.

The list...

  1. - Leave your guide
  2. - Make a plan for keys
  3. - Gather your local tips, maps etc
  4. - Write down your rules and expectations
  5. - Warn the neighbours
  6. - Enlist and brief your local contact
  7. - Make space
  8. - Move valuables
  9. - Stock the cupboards
  10. - 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

 

 Photo credit: Davidlohr Bueso

 

A helping hand

In most cases you'll have a friend or neighbour who can help out your guest if needed, so make sure your swapper knows who this is pre-swap.

Make sure to leave their details in your guide if you leave one too, so your guest has their details to hand should they need them.

You can also include Love Home Swap's number so our customer service team can assist.

Let the 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.

 

 Photo credit: Johnny Ainsworth

 

Set guidelines

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

 

Don't leave it lying

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.

For items you can't so easily move, like that pristine, stain-free white sofa, you can also used Love Home Swaps on-site security deposit to ensure any damage incurred during your swap is covered. Speaking of insurance, it's also wise to get in touch with your home and contents insurers (if you have them) and check where they stand on home exchange.

 

 Photo credit: Jasleen Kaur

 

Set expectations

The Love Home Swap community is a very intelligent one, but we're yet to come across a single one who can read minds. If you expect all towels and linens to be washed and put back in place at the end of a swap, you need to make that known to your guests.

It's good to agree on house-keeping things pre-swap (and again, handy to give a reminder in that helpful home guide we've talked about). This way everyone know's their place and come back to their home just as they expect it.

Make way

One of the big benefits of home swapping, as opposed to staying in a hotel, is all that extra space. Make sure your guests feel that benefit by freeing up some cupboard and drawer space for them. This goes for bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens.

Stock up

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

 

Special occasions?

On that note, 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.

 Photo credit: JD Hancock
 

We'd also love to hear how you got on with our tips. Share your story by emailing press@lovehomeswap.com or share your comments, pics and videos with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram

 

 

 

 

 

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