HomeExchanger Bethany from the United Kingdom has successfully completed a dozen exchanges, living like a local as she travels.
In exchange for staying in beautiful homes around the world, Bethany opens her home to HomeExchangers, welcoming them to stay in her Scotland home. Bethany shared her story about hosting guests through HomeExchange and why she loves this way of travel for her family.
What were some of your biggest fears when hosting another member with HomeExchange, and how did you overcome them?
One of my biggest fears around hosting another member was that they would have an issue or a need and I wouldn't be able to fix it from far away. I also worried about our cat being cared for while we were gone.
Communication is absolutely key for a successful home exchange. Our nearest neighbor was supportive and available for any needs that might come up for our guests. He was also on call for taking our cat to the vet if he needed it while we were gone.
What do you like most about hosting other members?
We love our home and enjoy sharing it with others. Perhaps I'm biased, but I think our little part of the world is very special. I loved sharing our favorite beaches and castles to visit, too.
How do you prepare your home for your guests?
To prepare for our guests, we created a home guidebook with key information about laundry, caring for our cat, and how to utilize the bikes and toys in our shed. We also made sure to put away any toys or valuables that could break. That way, we felt free to offer everything else to our guests without worry.
What tips and tricks would you give to others who are hosting guests?
If you have children, I highly recommend involving them in the process. Have them pick some toys that they'd like to put away for protection. Then, have your children organize their rooms in a way that is inviting for younger guests. Our kids loved knowing that other kids were having a blast in their space!
What did you realize after you hosted for the first time?
After hosting our first guests, I had much more appreciation for others who have hosted us in the past. I realized how connected two strangers can become through home exchange and how valuable it is to give and receive generosity.
Our first guests have become sweet friends of ours and we still keep in touch!