Member Stories: Allie & Cliff

Discover home exchange with GuestToGuest Members

Allie and Cliff are very active members of the GuesttoGuest community with over 8 exchanges.  Allie and Cliff’s home in Palm Springs, California sits right in the heart of a world renowned desert resort and is just minutes away from the trendy, hip and historical downtown Palm Springs with it’s mid-century architecture.

 

Allie & Cliff

Why did you join the GuesttoGuest community?

I think GuesttoGuest offers one of the most flexible programs and best values for easy entrance into the world of home swapping!  The point system allows you to use your home almost as you would a timeshare but without the upfront and maintenance costs.  Unlike almost every program I’ve seen out there, GuesttoGuest is one of the few that doesn’t saddle you with monthly membership fees.  Promoting friendships and cross cultural exploration through home swapping clearly takes precedence over profit!

Were you a host or a guest during your recent exchange?

My most recent exchange was a non-reciprocal exchange with a great family traveling from France to discover the Wild West of the Southern California Desert.

Allie and Cliff's home
Allie & Cliff’s home

Did you have any concerns or fears before the exchange?

None at all.  I have lots of conversations with my guests beforehand.  I’ve been doing home swapping for about four years and I’ve never had a problem.  I do a good job at checking out my guests ahead of time in addition to relying on the GuesttoGuest verification process.

Promoting friendships and cross cultural exploration through home swapping clearly takes precedence over profit!

Did you like the relationship you had with your guests?

I’ve had great interactions with my last guest and almost every guest or host I’ve had.  In fact, I have made great friends around the world that I now communicate with on a regular basis.  Some of them were the friends of the host family. Several years ago, we stayed at 700 year old home in a historic 2,000 medieval village in the south of England.  The host was a Vicar in the Church of England.  He sent some of his congregants to check in on us and we ended dining with them for several meals.  They even met us at the train station for one last hug.  We have stayed in touch with them ever since.  Another couple visited us from the Vancouver area.  When they had contacted us, we were not able to do a swap but since we had a plenty of room, we just invited them to come stay with us…and they did!  We had great fun together and enjoyed playing tour guide.

What do you think is the best advantage of swapping your home?

Home exchange is just as much about creating new friendships as it is saving money when you travel.  When you keep that in mind, the whole experience is far richer.  And isn’t that why we travel in the first place?  Beyond that, an opportunity to learn about the culture of a city or neighborhood on a whole other level than just staying at a hotel or more formal lodging.  Another added advantage is some of the unique properties that are available that you generally do not find on paid vacation rental sites.

Feel free to share any other information that you would like our other fabulous GuesttoGuest members to know…

Like any relationship or venture, it’s all about communication.  Ask questions, lots of questions.  We ended up making a walk-through video which we explained how to use the TVs, the air-conditioner, the pool/spa etc.  This has proven to be invaluable in not just answering questions, but getting people familiar with the property before they even arrive.  I also go to the local Visitor Center in our area and pick up local magazines, maps and brochures.  I then have in a basket along with a welcome card with any essential numbers.  It is helpful to include a local contact number for a neighbor, Fire and Police, local Theater numbers, etc.   Treat your guests like your favorite Aunt and treat a Host’s home like you would want someone to treat yours.

Allie & Cliff's living room
Allie & Cliff’s living room

What advice would you give to a friend that doesn’t know about home exchange or is reluctant to join?

I would advise anyone to do their homework and compare the various websites and different types of home swap arrangements.  Each home swap program is set up differently and varies in size, flexibility, cost and geography.  As you begin talking to your friends about the concept of home swapping, you will most likely be surprised at how many people are either familiar with it or knows someone who has tried it.

Unlike almost every program I’ve seen out there, GuesttoGuest is one of the few that doesn’t saddle you with monthly membership fees.

Click here to learn more about home exchange.