Organising a home swap: contacting members
First, make sure you have given a good description of your exchange offer in your listing and add photos before starting to contact members to suggest an exchange.
Be as flexible as possible about your preferred destinations. Part of the fun of home exchange is discovering exciting exchange offers in places you may not have considered visiting before.
Allow plenty of time to arrange your exchange. Take the initiative and contact members directly. Many experienced exchangers use the sites messaging system to contact 20 or more members with 'feeler' messages. At this stage you are not making a commitment but just gauging interest in your exchange offer. You will soon narrow the field to those members who are interested in an exchange with you.
Initial Contact Check List
- Introduce your family briefly - the ages and interests of any children plus a little information about your own hobbies and work.
- Describe your home - type of home, age, size and any special features it has along with a brief list of household equipment your exchange partner will be able to use. *Note: if you are offering a swimming pool make sure you indicate if the pool is shared rather than your private pool.
- Describe your neighbourhood, climate, local amenities and other areas of interest that are accessible from your home. Look at your area from a visitor's point of view.
- Give details of public transport and distances to closest airports and cities.
- If you are offering to exchange your car, give details of make, year, automatic or manual and condition (Note: do not make a definite agreement to swap cars without first checking that your insurance company will cover your exchange partners).
- Try to exchange with people in like circumstances if possible. If you are a retired couple, your home may not be geared up for the needs of a family with toddlers. Likewise, if you have a young family, exchanging with another family - with baby equipment, toys, books and often local playmates and baby-sitters - makes the holiday so much easier.
- Always personalise your exchange offer message before sending. Address the member by name and start your message with a sentence or two on what has attracted you to their exchange offer. Also mention the reasons you feel your home and offer would suit their particular needs - this will show you have read their exchange offer carefully and have noted any special requests they have.
- Check out for new listings regularly; remember that you can use your membership to arrange more than one exchange holiday each year.
- IMPORTANT: When you receive a home exchange message please respond to ALL enquiries irrespective of whether you can consider the home exchange or not.
Personal Websites: some members now have their own websites and it is useful to include a link in your listing for members to find additional information on your exchange offer. You may also like to include links to websites giving information on attractions in your area in your exchange offer messages.
Multiple exchanges: when travelling abroad some members do not wish to spend their entire holiday in one area. It is possible to arrange more than one home exchange on a trip; however, if complications occur in one link in the exchange chain it can affect the plans of other members. Generally, it is wisest to arrange only one or two concurrent exchanges and use other accommodation if you plan to travel around.