HomeExchanger Kim has done more than 60 exchanges in six years, traveling around the world and experiencing life as a local in many countries.
In exchange for staying in beautiful homes around the world, Kim opens her home to HomeExchangers, welcoming them to stay in her Berkeley, California house. Kim shares her story about hosting guests through HomeExchange.
Kim's home swapping experience
What were some of your biggest fears when hosting another member, and how did you overcome them?
I was initially worried that I wouldn’t have people interested in my house. Or if I did that I might not like their house or be able to travel at the same time. This turned out to be completely wrong.
I started searching for my first exchange and was super excited by all the wonderful places I found and soon learned that I had tons of options. By using points and non-simultaneous exchanges, I had even more opportunities for an exchange.
Have you hosted members from different countries?
Oh yes. We have hosted people from all over the world. We now have friends from all over the world. We have had people from England, France, Guatemala, Ecuador, Canada, Mexico, Spain, USA, Italy, Germany, Mexico and more.
Tell us about a memorable experience with a guest.
We had a young girl from France come stay while she was waiting for her dorm to open at UC Berkeley. We became fast friends with her and, in the end, her wonderful family. We were invited to stay with them in the south of France and they showed us a France that we never would have seen. We are going to have her entire family here some day as well. We now call the girl who came out "French daughter."
What do you like most about hosting other members?
Getting to know people from other countries makes the world a smaller and more hospitable place. We have been able to show people our part of the world and make sure they have a good time. That has become as rewarding to us as our own adventures.
How do you prepare your home for your Guests?
We have a detailed and updated guest book that explains the house and also things to do, shopping, hikes etc. We clear a few drawers so people can unpack and we try to leave a bottle of local wine or some local food. We also take a small gift to their house when we go there.
Did you encounter any unexpected cultural differences?
Only good ones. Our favorite thing is to learn of new kinds of food we haven’t experienced before.
What tips and tricks would you give to others who are hosting Guests?
Make a good house book. It is the one thing I don’t think people do enough. It really helps and is very appreciated
What did you realize after you hosted for the first time?
The world is my oyster!! We were so excited by our first trip that we dove in head first. We have done over 60 exchanges in 6 years. We take our friends with us to amazing places and have had the most incredible experiences. We never could have done this without home exchange.