Essential guide

Contents

The Key to the Best Gay Homes Around the World
Getting to Know You
Preparing Your Home For Exchange Guests
Your Home Information Kit
Key and Home Security
Vacationing With Children
Caring For Pets
Car Exchanging
Arranging Insurance
Saying Goodbye
Sample Letter of Agreement/Contract
Sample Letters of Exchange
Sample Emails Between Guest and Host

The Key to the Best Gay Homes Around the World

Discover what it’s really like to live as a resident and not stay as a tourist.

At Home Around The World members all share a love of travel and by avoiding the cost of hotel accommodation discover imaginative and unique solutions to create the perfect holiday. The ideal vacation might involve a direct home exchange, a hospitality exchange, house sitting, or simply renting a room in another member’s home. Some members even offer free hospitality to other gay travellers.

Home members choose from six main holiday options.

Home Swapping

A home exchange is a direct exchange of homes. Your exchange partner stays in your home, while you vacation in theirs. Swapping homes presents an exceptional opportunity to see the world for free. But it is much more than a way of making considerable savings on hotel accommodation. Living in a home and not staying in a hotel brings a very different holiday experience and provides unique opportunities to make new friends and learn about other people’s cultures and lifestyles.

Most people are naturally hesitant about the idea of accepting strangers into their homes, but the reality of home swapping is quite different. You discover that strangers soon become friends, as emails, letters and photographs are eagerly swapped. Have you got a web-cam? Then use it!!

Before departure, some members may find it a comfort to summarise all previous correspondence. An agreement provides you with written reassurance at the start, so that no unfortunate ‘misunderstandings’ can occur at a later date. Please read our sample Exchange Agreement.

Hospitality Exchanging

A hospitality exchange is an indirect exchange of homes. You stay with your exchanger, who “hosts” you in their home. Your exchange is “banked” until a mutually convenient future date when you return the favour.

Whether travelling alone, or as a couple, almost everyone involved in a hospitality exchange discovers that travel really is a great way to make new friends.

As with direct Home Exchanging, spend time communicating your mutual expectations beforehand. Follow this up with an Exchange Agreement if you wish.

Perhaps next year, once you are more familiar and confident with the home exchanging concept, you too will be ready to exchange your home!

Room Exchanging

You don’t even have to own your own home to enjoy the advantages of home exchange. If you live in a shared apartment or house, simply swap your room and your roommates! Room Exchanging is another free accommodation option, which is very popular, particularly with our younger members.

Exchanging a room is an economical way to travel, and enables everyone involved the opportunity to enjoy the company of new people. Of course, your current roommates must first agreement to this arrangement, as after all, it is they and not you, who will be living with your exchanger.

And always check with your landlord.

House Sitting

House sitting provides members with the security of having their pets and plants looked after when they have to travel on business or pleasure in return for offering free accommodation. If your house sitter has participated in previous home exchanges, he or she may be willing to provide you with references.

Members interested in caring for another’s home, plants and pets must take this responsibility seriously. If you promise to look after Fifi, then that’s what you must do, even if Fifi is a 75- kilo Great Dane who expects to be exercised at 5.00 a.m.

Be A Guest

Staying as a GUEST in another member’s home provides a unique travel experience and is another ideal opportunity for single gay people to travel. Friendships become easy and you need never feel lonely.

Whether you travel alone or with your partner, each day brings a fresh adventure as you learn what it is really like to live as a resident in another country. Be open to a world of new and exciting experiences, as very often your hosts will invite you to meet their friends. Dinners, boat trips, anything can happen… and… usually does.

However, do not feel it is your host’s duty to entertain you. You share as much or as little of each other’s lives as you each feel comfortable with. All relationships are different.

Should your host offer you free accommodation, please remember never to outstay your welcome and always find a way to reciprocate your host’s generosity. Taking your hosts out to dinner, buying wine and flowers may be all the thanks they require for their kindness in providing you with a bed for a few days only.

Be A Host

Being a HOST presents a rare opportunity to meet other gay people and earn money by making your home available at times that suit you and with conditions that suit you.

In your correspondence, think about the following issues:

Rent – Would you like to offer free accommodation? Would you like to charge a nominal rent? How much?

Smoking – Do you allow smoking in your home?

Using the telephone/other bills – Discuss how you are going to handle phone calls. Most telephone companies today do itemised billing. It is an easy matter to photocopy your statement when it arrives and send a copy of it to your guest who must of course reimburse you.

Use of kitchen – Are you going to provide breakfast? Can your guest use your kitchen to prepare meals? Arrange whatever is right for both of you.

Making these decisions together avoids unfortunate ‘misunderstandings’ that might occur later. An Agreement sent to the forthcoming guest, is a helpful confirmation of all the issues discussed. Both parties should sign and date the agreement.

What kind of homes do our members look for?

It’s about the location every time. If you are looking for a beautiful San Francisco apartment, close to the Castro and with views to die for, then chances are you are not alone. Likewise, someone will be offering that ideal mountain retreat, perfect for relaxation, far away from civilisation ~ it too may be popular with the weary gay traveller eager to escape the hustle and bustle of city life for a while. Your small one-bed apartment in London may be the ideal swap for the couple in Los Angeles, whose home is set in 2 acres and comes complete with pool.

Never underestimate the value of your own home. There’s always someone out there who may be looking for exactly what you are offering.

Next page: Getting to know you