But my house doesn't have a swimming pool...

... so nobody will probably be interested in exchanging with me

Every week there are several posts in the PLU Facebook group from potential new members who are reluctant to make a listing because their home is too small/too ordinary/too messy/not in a touristy location – or doesn’t have a pool. So I’d like to address some of those concerns here as seen from an experienced exchanger’s perspective.

My home is too small

Well, your house is big enough for you, so you just need to find a similar size family to exchange with. PLU has everything from singles to large families, tiny homes to mansions, so chances are you can find someone who will fit perfectly into your home. Describe clearly in your listing how many rooms, esp. bedrooms, you have, take good pictures of the rooms, and then people can decide for themselves if they will fit into your home.

My home is too ordinary

Look closely at a number of listings on PLU, and you will see that most of us actually have pretty ordinary homes. We might all drool over some of the awesome listings on PLU, but most of us are perfectly happy with ordinary (in fact many of us prefer that 😉). Your home doesn’t have to be Instagrammable, but do make it look as nice - and welcoming - as possible in your listing photos, so people can imagine having a great time there.

My home doesn’t have a pool

Neither does mine – or most of the 40+ homes my family and I have exchanged with so far. Yes, we did enjoy the few that had one, but we didn’t exchange there because of the pool. Perhaps there is a public pool or a small lake nearby? Then tell us about it in your listing.

My home needs repairs

Everything in your home doesn’t need to be picture perfect to start exchanging. But it might be an idea to get a few things fixed anyway. Try to look at your home with a stranger’s eyes: Would this problem annoy you if you were to come to your own house to spend a relaxing holiday? If it would – get it fixed. Most of us find an upcoming exchange THE best motivation to get things done 😉

My home is too messy

Again, try to imagine yourself as a guest in your home seeing your clutter with fresh eyes: OK or annoying? We’ve exchanged with extremely tidy homes and ones that were less so. Important for us has been that there was room for our things so they wouldn’t get lost among the “local” clutter. So perhaps it is time for a little decluttering after all, but you’ll love it yourself when you’re done – and it’ll make it so much easier for you to get your home ready before exchanges.

My home is not in a touristy location

People travel for all sorts of reasons: to visit family or friends, to attend a wedding or conference or school reunion, to visit colleges with their children etc. etc. So chances are high that someone will want to visit your location too.
Yes, you’ll get more enquiries if you have a penthouse condo in Manhattan, but we live in a small town that hardly anyone outside Denmark has heard about, and we have done 40+ exchanges! It may take us a little longer and require more enquiries for us to find an exchange at our dream destinations, but the extra work is totally worth it.
Take time to describe your area well in your listing, tell us what fun interesting things there are, and be active in the Facebook group, post photos from your area etc. to make people interested - and remember always to include a link (not just the number) to your listing. Send out lots of enquiries – don’t wait for people to contact you. Read people’s listings carefully so you can point out things in your area that might interest them. That way they are much more likely to consider an unknown destination. Many of us love the unknown gems, and we’ve had some of our best holidays in places we had never heard about before we exchanged there.

My home is not in Europe/the US/Australia

PLU has listings all over the world - except perhaps the North Pole (but I’m sure Drew is working on getting Santa to join up 😉) – and people want to go everywhere, so no continent or country is better than others. In fact, if you live in a country with few listings you’ll probably have even more chances of finding exchanges.

But what if I have

  • Small kids?
    Then find a similar family to exchange with! They will have all the gear you need, a child-friendly home, toys and games, and they’ll know all the best playgrounds and things to do with children in their area.
  • Pets?
    Say so clearly in your listing. Many exchangers would love to feed your cats, goldfish, Guinea pigs, chicken etc. Dogs may be a different matter, but you can always ask – either if people will look after your dog or if you can bring it to the exchange home.
  • Plants, mail, newspapers, trash cans that need to be taken care of?
    Just ask! Everyone we’ve ever exchanged with has always been happy to do that for us.

And what about:

  • Cars?
    Some like to exchange cars as well as homes, but you don’t have to. If you do - then make sure you have an agreement about insurance, who pays what in case of fender-benders etc.
  • Bikes?
    The use of your bikes can be an added bonus if your area is bike-friendly. But again – it’s entirely up to you if you want to let that be part of the deal.
  • Personal belongings?
    Some people put a few things away, perhaps lock up a room, but we have never done that. If you feel more comfortable locking up e.g. your personal papers or giving your children a box for precious toys to put away, by all means, do so. If you put granny’s crystal glasses at the back of your cupboard and have less-valuable ones where I can easily find them, then I’ll use the ones that are easy to grab, of course. People expect to come to a clean and tidy home, but a HOME and not a hotel or Airbnb empty of personal things.
  • Cleaning?
    People expect a clean home, but not disinfected one. Newbies worry a lot about how clean is clean enough - we certainly did before our first exchange until we found a dust ball behind a desk in the exchange home - then we relaxed and enjoyed our holiday 😅 We involved our three children from the start, and the prize for cleaning has always been a big ice cream and a great holiday.
    Most exchangers don’t spring clean, we pre-exchange clean. And we expect you to leave our homes in the same condition as you found them. If you have a regular cleaner, you can ask your exchange partners if they would like him/her to come in after they leave, and you can agree who is going to pay for this. As with everything else in homeexchanging, communication is key.
  • Closets and cupboards?
    Many people leave some room in their closets/drawers for your clothes, but ask them before you go to too much trouble rearranging things – some of us just live out of our suitcases anyway. If you don’t have much space available in your closets, consider getting an inexpensive foldable clothes rack that people can use for their clothes.
    We like some space left for us in your fridge and perhaps in a kitchen cupboard, but if your cupboards are full, get a small trolley/cart we can use for our groceries during our stay.
    Some people also appreciate a little space left in bathroom cabinets, but again a small trolley/cart can solve that problem, too.
  • Bedlinen?
    Should exchangers wash those after their stay? We have been asked to do so for people who were doing back-to-back exchanges, but you can only expect people to do that if they don’t have early departures. My advice is: get a friend to do the laundry in that case - or get some extra sets of bed linen. We even have extra duvets and pillows which means less hassle on departure day as we just throw our own duvets etc. in a closet and have freshly made-up ones ready to put on our beds.
  • Welcome baskets?
    You’ve probably seen some of the huge baskets with local delicacies etc. that some people leave for their exchange partners (and post pictures of on Facebook 😉). While some do this, others don’t leave anything at all, or just leave a souvenir or something when they leave the exchange home – and all of that is OK - but leaving e.g. a bottle of wine and a small card for your guests IS a very nice gesture and DOES make people feel welcome 😊
    It’s also good homeexchange etiquette to leave a note to thank people for a nice exchange when you leave their home.

Any more questions before you get started? Feel free to comment or ask in the Facebook group.

No more questions? Then what are you waiting for? Create a listing and start sending out enquiries! Don’t wait for others to contact you. Be active:

  • favourite the homes you like and see if they favourite yours
  • send out LOTS of enquiries – don’t wait for others to contact you
  • write posts in the Facebook group about all the fun and interesting places and things to do in your area.

And remember, the most important thing is COMMUNICATION! If you have any doubts, just ask your exchange partners what they expect.  

Happy exchanging!





Annemette & Ole

Travelling group
LGBTQ+ friendly