How to get the best out of Space Swaps?
Design an exchange email.
When designing your house swap email, be sure to include travel dates, desired locations, and anything enticing about your house and home town. State any major requirements too. If you absolutely can’t exchange with anyone who has stairs or who owns cats, say that. Don’t include a grocery list of perfect vacation home desires. Keep it simple — two short paragraphs maximum. Offer to do a virtual video tour as this gives confidence of what is expected and it’s in fact your actual swapping listing.
Of course, you should contact anyone who lives in your destination of choice, but also include those who live in other locations.
Our messaging system makes sure it’s easy to view your conversation and know when you have had a reply through notifications.
Peruse potential exchange homes.
The fun part is next: perusing potential matches. Narrow down your search by travel dates, destination, and/or exchangers interested in visiting your location. I get a kick out of taking a peek into the homes of others. I love imagining myself as the main character in the story of their lives for a brief period of time.
Narrow down choices.
If you find someone who looks like a good match, you will send a message through the site that includes a link to your home’s profile. You should be courteous by replying to every inquiry you receive, even if only to say, “Sorry we can’t exchange…good luck!”
Have realistic expectations.
If you live in a popular vacation destination like London, United Kingdom you will likely have an easier time finding an appropriate exchange than someone who hails from a small town. But you never know. There may be someone residing in your ideal destination looking to come to your home town to visit family, attend a wedding, or experience a new slice of the world. If you hail from a less popular destination, you may need to lower your expectations in terms of square footage or proximity to attractions so you can nab an exchange.
Paint a positive, but realistic picture.
Play up the benefits of your home. Do you have a snooker table or a community pool? Is your home within walking distance to shops and public transport. What may be borrowing to you, may be an absolute dream to another swapper. Think of your swap from an outsider perspective and highlight away.
While you want to paint a positive picture of your home and location, do not exaggerate. You want to find someone who will appreciate what your house has to offer instead of drawing in a disgruntled temporary inhabitant of your home.
Get to know your Swapper.
Message back and forth with the owners asking and answering questions. After dates are agreed upon, set up a time to chat by phone or Skype. If the swapper seems put out by your questions, emails, or request for a phone meeting — perhaps this is not the right exchange for you. You should feel a sense of camaraderie and comfort with your home swappers.
Consider exchanging cars and pets.
This can save both swappers a considerable amount of cash on rental car fees and pet-sitting services. If you are already a pet lover, having a holiday pet could be an excellent solution. Want to go for dog walks abroad well then meet your new travel buddy for the week.
Use House Rules.
List expected house rules within your post but don’t be ridiculous and ask them to help your nan’s with groceries, this a holiday remember. Household rules like no eating in the bedroom and no house parties are fair rules to keep both parties happy. Anything you don’t want to be damaged due to an accident, put it away to avoid any issues. Your house won’t be made of glass so just the odd item that is fragile put it away and have complete piece of mind.
Hide expensive items.
Even if you’ve built a rapport with your exchangers, put away anything you don’t want to risk being stolen, such as expensive jewellery. Our community is based on like-minded travellers and we have an internal team to monitor the safety of the website. However doing this simple task will make both parties feel comfortable, as the swapper using your home don’t want to be liable for your expensive items whilst staying there. Keep everybody to focus on your travel experience and stay.
So why exchange? The extra room, better sleep, homey conveniences, and huge travel savings outweigh the risks of using space swaps for me. Just be sure to cover your bases before your home swap. Get know your Swapper but video call is essential. The adventure is out there but don’t let your travel funds slow you down!