Sunday, May 08, 2011

Etiquette of Home Exchange

Greetings, friends!

It has been so long since I have posted that I am almost ashamed! But life has been busy; I have not had time to scan and share all of the lovely postcards I have collected since I last wrote--and there are a lot!

One of these days I will do it. I am just not sure when.

But I did want to write about a topic of interest right now, which is the etiquette of home exchanges. Actually, since I have not yet actually done a home exchange, I am thinking more of the etiquette of requesting a home exchange.

My husband and I recently joined We want to travel but find the cost prohibitive for our family of five. For example, do you know that, right now, round trip airfare to Munich (a place I'd LOVE to vist) is running about USD $1,400 per person? That comes out to USD $7,000 for a family of five. I don't know about you, but that's way too much money to spend on airfare alone.

A family outside of Paris recently wrote to us asking for an exchange this summer. While we would have LOVED to do so--PARIS!--airfare would have been the same as if traveling to Munich--$7,000. So, unfortunately, we had to decline. In my email reply though, I did ask if they would be interested in considering an exchange during other times--perhaps in the winter months when fares are lower, or maybe even Summer 2012, as I understand that fares may be lower if you book far out in advance.

However, to that proposal, I received no reply.

Another exchanger in Florida also wrote, asking to exchange homes this summer. The area was not one where we'd like to visit, so I proposed a possible three-way exchange: perhaps I could find someone in an area where we'd like to visit who wanted to visit Florida? Then I would stay in the 3rd party's home; the third party would stay in Florida; the Florida party would stay in my home, which is what they wanted all along.

However, to that proposal, I received no reply.

I have also written to two parties myself asking about possible domestic exchanges this summer--one more than a week ago, the other yesterday.

However, to both proposals, I have not yet received replies. (I'm not as concerned about the proposal sent yesterday; it takes even me at least one full day to ponder a request and to reply!)

And this leaves me wondering about the etiquette of requesting and responding to home exchanges.

  • Is it not hospitable to respond to every request, even if the response is negative?
  • Is it not hospitable to respond to requests promptly, within three days or so?

The people making requests are trying to plan--if the dates and details can be worked out, there are airfares to book, travel plans to make, lots of planning and dreaming and scheming to do! :)

I don't know about others, but I will not be offended if you cannot or do not want to take me up on my proposal. If you do not want to come to my area, or if you are otherwise engaged, just say so. But please, don't leave me hanging. I sent my request to you in full readiness to start acting--now! :)

I think this is a reasonable request. And I think that perhaps home exchange websites ought to publish information to members so that they know to respond courteously and promptly to all requests.

But--since I know I can't change the world, I will simply continue to do what I do and hope that others will follow my lead: I will respond to all requests promptly!

So if you're interested in an exchange, please review our listing online--and then write!

Even if it is negative, I promise a prompt reply.... :)

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