We’re now up to 8 home exchanges and ready for more but I’ve drawn up a little list of do’s and don’t’s. If I have been remiss in any of these areas in the past, I hope that my exchangers will forgive me. I now know better!
So, in addition to a good bed, a clean house and a decent shower, here are my personal suggestions.
Do wash new towels: it’s great providing a set of new towels for guests, but remember to wash them first or your poor guests won’t be able to dry themselves.
Don’t leave perishables in the fridge or in the kitchen that won’t survive until your return. Not everyone eats the same food as you do. A bottle of wine, a vase of flowers or a frozen meal in the freezer will be appreciated more than fruit and vegetables that might end up in the bin.
Do leave a shelf in your pantry free: your guests may not be dining out every day and may prefer to be able to put their food away rather than leave it on the bench or table during their entire stay.
Don’t provide a washing machine that doesn’t work properly: you may know the trick of how to get your machine to spin properly, but your guests are not going to be happy if it takes 3 days to get their clothes dry.
Do leave hanging space with hangers: perhaps you don’t hang up any clothes yourself, but your guests may wear shirts every day – and don’t forget to provide enough hangers (count one shirt hanger per person per number of days’ exchange up to a week and two or three skirt/trouser hangers per person).
Don’t leave your fridge ¾ full: your guests need to have space to put their own food without having to shop every day. At least two empty shelves, including door shelves, should be left free.
Do provide a blanket as well as a dooner for the bed: you may be freezing at 15°C because you used to live in Africa, but your guests may prefer a light blanket at that temperature. Give them the choice.
Don’t use photos that don’t correspond to your listing, particularly as the cover photo: if you don’t live within walking distance of the sea, a picture of a fishing boat is not appropriate. Neither is a monument two metro stops away.
Do leave adequate instructions about your house: guests need to know when to put the rubbish out, how to work your expresso machine, and what the wifi code is (and why not change the original 26-character code to something easier for your guests?)
Don’t leave dirty sponges in the kitchen: provide a clean sponge for each new set of guests.
Do you have any other suggestions that will make your home exchange a more pleasurable experience?