Don’t forget to check this list before you exchange homes

Updated: Jul 26, 2020

Thinking about home swapping for your next vacation? Great choice. Home swapping has proven itself as a distinct fund saver, it’s safe and it lets you experience local culture authentically.

But before you pack your bags, you should establish your own set of guidelines that needs to be transparent with your swapping partner. Once both sides openly discuss their guidelines, they can achieve a mutual understanding that will increase the trust between them and aspire to eliminate time-wasting and error probability.

You could discuss the guidelines over the home swapping platform’s chat, or by using a video conference service - which is my recommendation.

Let’s get started:

Keys - there are plenty of options available, from deposit boxes to friends/family or neighbours, be sure that the solution is the best one for your partner. If you leave the key with a person you trust, make sure he will be available for your partner on arrival. If you leave the key in a specific location, make sure you gave your partner the proper instructions.

Amenities special instructions - most home exchange platforms allow you to view the property’s amenities, so you probably will not contact a property owner that doesn’t obtain your ‘must-have features’. If the baseline is acceptable, make sure that the amenities’ status remains intact, and ask for specific operation instructions for electric appliances, etc. it is also acceptable that you request a short-written instruction manual to be available to you.

Off limited areas - many swappers choose to keep their valuables in a locked room, closet, or a safe. Make sure you know the areas of the property that the owner would like to keep his privacy and respect it.

Cleaning & maintenance - preliminary cleaning might sound obvious, however, it’s good to discuss mutual expectations (especially in the post COVID-19 era). When traveling for longer periods, some property maintenance might be needed, such as mowing the lawn, pool cleaning, general housekeeping, etc. Before you leave, you should make sure that you set the property to its original state. If you don’t want to clean yourself, make sure you get the owner’s cleaning service contact and schedule the appointment.

Things you need to bring - usually, your swapper will prepare clean linen and towels, if you have any issues you’ll probably bring some of your own. It’s appropriate to wash the linen and towels before you leave unless discussed otherwise.

Another important thing that you can request your swapper - to get specific grocery items you like for the first day, as we all know flights can be exhausting and there’s nothing better than your favorite drinks and snacks waiting for you on your arrival.

Neighborhood guidelines - take in consideration that home swapping is different than going to a hotel, you will be staying at apartments or houses in ordinary residential buildings and neighborhoods, so you have to blend in. Check if your partner has any issues with the neighbours and if there are any neighbourhood regulations or normas.

Landlord management - if you swap with a rental resident, check if the swap is legit with the landlord. If you both rather take your chances, make sure you know what to tell the landlord if he plans a surprise visit (although this situation is extremely rare).

Pets - different pets have different needs. Feeding fish or taking care of cats is less demanding than walking a dog 3 times a day, so make sure you are prepared for that kind of responsibility. Of course, if you both share the same pets it might be a perfect solution for you, but make sure you get very specific instructions and background of the pet’s general behavior. Having pet issues is the last thing you want during your stay.

Vehicles - there's a good chance that the apartment is not the only asset your swapping partner leaves behind. He could be an owner of a car, motorbike, scooter, bicycle, and even surfboard, snowboard, ski… you get the point. These all are assets you might want to use during your stay, just make sure you have your partner’s approval and all the needed licenses and insurance policies.

That’s about it, you’re all set!

If you wish to extend your swapping possibilities, make sure you sign up for pre-launch updates on our new app SWAPLET - the only freemium based home exchange platform. Our current mission is to establish a community of early adopters to try SWAPLET as soon as it launches - and we could sure use you as a community member!


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About the author

Itamar Kab is an entrepreneur and an experienced traveler with a strong agenda. He enjoys simplifying complex subjects and solving problems using his technological and management skills.

"I’m currently trying to change the way people travel in the post-COVID era. Will you join my quest?"