Preparing Your Home for a Home Exchange

homeHome exchange is an exciting and inexpensive way of enjoying an overseas vacation. By swapping homes with a family intent on vacationing in your area, you save a lot of money on hefty hotel price tags, as well as being able to experience the foreign country in a truly local setting. But before leaving your home, there are some things that you need to check.

Leave the name and phone number of your trusted neighbor – This would come in handy in case your exchange partner may want to ask simple questions. Make sure that your neighbor is aware of this set-up and they may be more than willing to serve as your exchange partner’s guide.

Leave a list of emergency numbers – This includes fire, police, your doctor, the local clinic or hospital, and even the repair services. If your exchange partner needs babysitting services, provide the name and phone number of an available babysitter as well.

Leave your cell phone number – Provide your contact numbers where you may be reached while traveling, as your home exchange partner may have certain concerns about your house. This includes your hotel phone number.

Work out agreements in advance – Produce a signed (or conformed) agreement as to the arrangement of phone use, pet care, and computer use in your respective homes. For instance, make sure to indicate how the phone charges would be handled. If applicable, indicate also if you would allow pets full access of your home or only in selected areas. Include in the agreement whether or not you allow the visiting family to use your personal computer.

Leave instructions for plant care – If you have a garden, make sure to leave a list of instructions—and provide materials as well—as to how to take care of your garden. This would actually create a healthy activity for your exchange partner as well.

Leave instructions for operating the appliances and electronics – All appliances are not created equally. Provide a list on how to operated the TV, VCR, CD player, microwave, washer and dryer, home alarm, air conditioning and heating systems, vacuum cleaner, and others. Also include in your list the garbage and recycling pick-up times, as well as

Put your mail on hold – Apply for a post office box. Inform your local post office that all mail will be delivered to the P.O. Box while you are away.

Pay your bills in advance – It would be a bit embarrassing if your exchange partner would receive bills warning about disconnecting the utilities.

Leave spaces in closets and drawers – Your exchange partner would like to put remove their things from the suitcases. Don’t forget to provide a lot of hangers.

Leave enough clean linens – Make sure that you are providing clean linens on the beds, as well as clean bath and kitchen towels. Also, furnish plenty of toilet paper, Kleenex, soap bars, bathroom and kitchen cleaners, and vacuum bags.

Lock valuables away – You may keep personal items, small pieces of furniture, and home décor items locked in a room or compartment. You could also opt for storage service.

Leave your house and surroundings completely clean – Make sure that you are leaving your house fully made-up, lawn freshly mowed, and the yard tended. If you have a pool, make sure it’s clean.

Leave copies of car insurance and registration – In case both parties plan to exchange cars, it is best to leave copies of legal documents just in case. Also, provide a separate written agreement about car use, and don’t forget to have your car tuned-up and washed.

Leave a small amount of fresh food – Put some cheese, bread, fruit, and a few bottles of water, soda, or perhaps a bottle of wine for your exchange partner’s arrival. It’s a courtesy of convenience your guest will appreciate after hours spent traveling to your home.

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