Home Exchange Checklist

Prepare To Welcome Guests

It is important to make your home as warm and inviting for your exchange guests as you would for any of your friends. Make sure that your house is clean and ready for their arrival. Remember that you expect the same from your exchange partners.

  • A bottle of wine and some flowers provide a special welcome.
  • Make up beds with fresh linens, and arrange clean towels in the bathrooms.
  • Make sure that staple foods such as sugar, tea, coffee and salt have not run out. Make it easy for your guests to get off to a comfortable start.
  • Leave your refrigerator clean and empty except for basic foods and staples. Examples might include: milk, ketchup, or pickles. It is understood that food left in the refrigerator is for your guests use, and may or may not still be there upon your return. To be clear though, you should not leave leftovers, or partially used items (opened bottles of milk) unless the item is not intended to be used in full within a few days (ketchup, mustard, condiments).
  • Be sure you have paid any bills which come due during your holiday.
  • Leave instructions regarding how appliances work and where to locate the central heating/hot water, fuse box and other facilities. Ask a neighbor or friend to stop by and introduce themselves to make sure your guests are finding everything they need.
  • Leave any necessary instructions regarding the care of plants and pets. Don't forget to include your veterinarian's name and telephone number.
  • Leave a list of important numbers next to the phone, including emergency numbers, operator, directory enquiries, doctor or hospital, friends to call for advice if a problem arises, and babysitters, if applicable.
  • Provide any special instructions for leaving your house secure. Leave an extra set of keys with your neighbor or friend in case of emergencies.
  • Leave a note concerning milk/paper delivery, nearest petrol station/shops/supermarket
  • Store irreplaceable ornaments and special personal items, if there is worry about breakage. It is not necessary or desirable to remove all ornaments and furniture.
  • Prepare adequate wardrobe and drawer space for guests to store their clothes and belongings.
  • If your guests are bringing their own laptop, be sure to leave them instructions for connecting to the internet through your router, wireless LAN, or modem.
  • Leave a notebook by the telephone for recording long-distance phone calls or messages.
  • Indicate if any parts of your home are off limits or equipment is not to be used e.g. office rooms or a computer.
  • Don't forget to leave the information pack you collected on the table for your guest's use.

Leaving Your Exchange Home

You've had a great holiday and now it's time to go home. Following is a checklist of some important things that you should remember to do just before you go...

  • Replace basic foods (coffee, tea, sugar, salt...)
  • Clean up so as to return your partner's home to them to the same (or better!) condition as you found it. Obviously standards will differ, but aim high! Be sure to leave the linens as arranged with your exchange partner in advance.
  • Leave cash for phone calls and any minor breakage. Be sure to leave a note of any incidents or items replaced or broken.
  • If you depart early for any reason, make sure that your exchange partner and their neighbours are notified.
  • Follow your partner's home security procedures prior to leaving for the airport. Take care to return the keys to their designated locations.
  • A thank you note, and perhaps a small gift as a token of your appreciation is always a welcome homecoming.