I'm going to miss a lot of good stuff about my home country like bread, ice cream in Italian Gelaterias, beer gardens. Certain dishes even tasted nice out of season - prepared by my aunt for me knowing I would love the white asparagus, which is not available after 21 June. She also had a winter specialty, kale, prepared and frozen for me in a manner only available in the north of Germany.
Sign up with a reputable agency which has numerous members in as many countries as possible. There is also an agency for seniors only. This means you're dealing with couples, not families with children. Maybe that will take your angst away about the safety of your home. By the same token they are likely to have smaller homes. Many have downsized. If you fall into that category, that company is ideal for you. I found out that many of them are looking for long-term stays as they have no job obligations and time constraints anymore.
On the other hand, invitations make come in at the last minute also as happened this year with our Dutch partners. Don't hesitate to be proactive. Contact exchanges that you wold fancy instead of waiting around. Allow me to compare it again to dating on line. You're not committed until you have a contract with them.
Set up an owner's closet, even a separate room with a lock to safeguard your valuables or personal belongings; just for your own peace of mind in case you still have reservations. An umbrella insurance is also a good idea to cover yourself against possible liabilities.
If you have the time, line up two or even more swaps. Once you're overseas, it's easy to move around in Europe with all these cheap air carriers or by train. A flight from London, Dublin or Paris to Berlin for example will only set you back by about $100.
Once you've tried home swapping, you'll want to repeat this great experience. We can't wait to start the selection process for next year. While waiting for our connection flight in Atlanta, a very tempting offer came in from Sweden. With home swapping the world is your oyster! Good luck and happy travels!