Your first time on something is always exciting and frightening as you don't know exactly how things will go. This was our first time on home exchange, we are subscribed on Knok, and we wanted to give it a try. Our first house exchange we wanted to be something near home, and we find a house exchange in a little town Ayamonte near Portugal. We decided to go on Easter Holidays to be around the Holly week and visit Sevilla that was an hour and a half far from Ayamonte.
In Ayamonte a Spanish Family, Luis and Josefina and their two kids were willing to come to Barcelona so we agreed to a non simultaneous exchange as we couldn't make it at the same time. We went to their house in Ayamonte at Easter holidays and they will come to Barcelona in July to our house when the kids don't go to school.
Agreement of Exchange
We signed an agreement through Knok that gives you an insurance policy in case something happens during the exchange, it is actually a good thing as you can sleep much comfortable knowing that if something happens there is an insurance to cover that up.
The agreement it is not only for the insurance but also about the conditions you agree on when exchanging the house, who will give you the keys, what things will be provided in the house and what things you need to bring yourself or buy etc...
That is good to have it on writing so everything is clear on the conditions and rules of every house in the exchange. In our agreement. they were very welcoming and did not want us to replace the items used such as salt, oil, shampoo etc...We did it anyway and we did a refill of what we used. This way there are no misunderstandings as everyone knows what the agreement is about.
The house was just what we needed, a three bedroom house with a big kitchen where we could eat breakfast and enjoy the sun coming from he window. In Ayamonte, easy car park in front of the house, a 2min ride to the city center and supermarket right in the corner. We wanted to have a relaxed few days to visit the area and go local, eat some food in the house but also out and try out some local delish dishes.
Our hosts were not in town so we picked up the keys from the neighboor, she was very nice and we called her when we arrived and she was waiting for us. We had only one little stone in our path, when we were about to get a shower we had to turn on the water-heater, and after trying with no success we had to call our hosts for guidance.
I am such a desaster with machines so between Roger and Luis on the phone guiding him we managed to get it on. We spent a great time in Ayamonte, and we are looking forward to go for a house exchange again.
A house exchange allows you to go at your own pace, cook at home if you want and be in a more comfortable environment, watch tv and do what you do at home but visiting a different area and going for day trips around as you would do at home too.
Recommendations from a newbie in house exchange
This was my first time doing a home exchange, but we loved it and we are already planning our second for September in France. This are my recommendarions when doing a home exchange that made out first one a success:
- Have a first contact with your host either phone or skype: we did have a conversation explaining who we were what we did for living and agreed everything on the house exchange. This helps you control the situation as you hear a voice and get more comfortable knowing the people you are exchanging with.
- Do the agreement: the agreement online in Knok is a choice but it will cover up as an insurance in case something happens and is also part of the conditions you agree on the exchange.
- Bring a detail or leave something for them at home: when we arrived at the house they have left for us some chocolates and typical paté from the area. It was a very nice gesture that made us feel at home, they write us a note as well welcoming us. We plan on buying them some typical stuff as well when they come to our house in July.