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Question - what to do for hosts?

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Question - what to do for hosts?


I've been a WS member for about a year. I've not hosted yet, though have received several emails for requests that did not pan out.

My wife, our puppy, and I about to take our first tour. It is unconventional in that my wife drives our vehicle and tiny teardrop trailer (barely larger than a tent) to our destination, then bikes back to meet me as I have left from our previous night's stop. We did something similar to this years ago on our honeymoon, and hope to have a similar experience.

In the part of the US that we're touring, it's been difficult to get campsites. Gratefully, as retirees, we've been able to arrange several WS hosts.

Since we're new, my wife and I are at a loss for what to do for hosts? Take them out to dinner? Make dinner? Conversation over wine/beer, and experience sharing?

Other hosts - I would like your input.

Thanks so much in advance.

Michael Valleriano

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
You are the gift

For me, my reward as a host is being able to support and encourage bike tourists and to hear about their experiences. Your example of simple act of traveling by bike is wonderful. I have had guests who brought wine or other gifts but I don't feel good about that because it feels like it adds to the riders burden. I suspect many other hosts feel the same.

Unregistered Imagen de anon_user
I think making dinner is a

I think making dinner is a lovely gesture and it works well with good conversation, wine and sharing of experiences. Most of my guests have done this at some stage and if they stay for more than a few days they also assist with cleaning up - we are all working so it can get difficult if everyone doesn't help out a bit - so any help is greatly appreciated :-)

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
This is your trip.

This is your trip, my family feel that your shouldn't have to do the work at your overnight stop.
We enjoy hearing about the adventures that got you this far.
All we ask is that you be courteous and friendly.

Unregistered Imagen de anon_user
Communicate with the host

Communicate with the host before you arrive. Let them know at least a day in advance where you will be cycling from, what your estimated time of arrival is. Also discuss plans for dinner before.

This may well be common sense for you, but I often need to ask cyclists when they think they will arrive. I assume that cyclists will arrive before dusk, but that is at at ten in the evening now.

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
You pay it forward in any way you can, eventually

I managed to only host 2 travellers before setting out on my own tour. Both my guests stayed for more than one night, and offered to make meals for us to share. When you're just staying the one night I feel your company is the gift. But, if you happen to have more than stories to share, go for it.

Personally I believe in paying it forward. Folks don't host on WS expecting anything but good company, shared stoke, and to be part of your story. I am used to giving, so it was incredibly humbling to be receiving more than I could give. However, I found opportunities to pay it forward in small ways, to other. In one case I stayed with a host for several days, so I made dinner, and offered to clean the host's drive train -- I was planning on doing my own, and it just so happened that my host's needed some TLC as well.

Generally, though, please don't feel obligated to bring gifts. Just pay forward the kindness in whatever way you can, even if it's just sharing advice with a fellow cyclist or human you meet en route or back home.

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
My sentiments exactly Ingrid.

My sentiments exactly Ingrid. "pay it forward". a wonderful way to make this planet a more happy friendly place. All my WS guests have been wonderful happy people. I am a lousy cook and so most Guests have cooked for me. washing/drying clothes is much easier than cooking. I enjoy the company and the shared experiences. And leave me your facebook page info and then i can follow you.

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
Be a host

Hello, My name is aviv from Indoensia. I have been a memebr of Warmshower for about 2 years and already hosted some cyclists around the world. I am glad to help them and I have new experience from them .

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
Totally agree with the others

Totally agree with the others that no gift is necessary. That being said, I appreciated receiving a hand made paper bookmark from one guest and my bike sports a sticker from cyclists on Kangaroo Island. An email of a photo of you finished your trip or a thank you card after you get back are most welcome.

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
What to do for hosts

I think the best thing I could receive as a host is a note or email about what happened after we last saw you. Did you make it? Did it go well? I guess I would ask for the gift of some vicarious biking, I love to know what happened.

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
I like Brent's reply. Since

I like Brent's reply. Since joining WarmShowers a couple of months ago we have had the pleasure of hosting twice. Got feedback from one which was nice. However, it would be nice to hear how their trip ended, what happened of interest along the way, etc. I have often thought about those two and about their trips because they touched our lives and gave us inspiration.

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
As a guest I carry

As a guest I carry refrigerator magnets and/or post cards from my home town. Any time someone goes above and beyond to help me (like hosting) I give them a refrigerator magnet and/or write a short note of thanks on the post card. They are small and light and appreciated.

I also offer to treat the host to dinner out.

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
As a host I don't expect

As a host I don't expect anything at all, though I always appreciate conversations and gratitude. On the rare occasions that the group was large or they stayed more than one night my guests have always left a little more behind, either in help with meals and cleaning up or wine (since they notice I have a variety on hand for entertaining).

In my experience as a guest I've noticed the same thing I feel as a host: the conversations are the main treat! I try to always have a little mental energy left to share as much as my host may wish to know. They often have a lot of questions and enjoy sharing their own adventures in return. Traveling by bicycle is a rare habit and most of us don't get much exposure to other bike tourists, it's nice to enjoy the company of a fellow bicyclist when you get the chance.

Michelle Nardi

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
One thing you should

One thing you should definitely do for hosts is underscore in your requests that you have your dog with you! In fact, mention it several times during your correspondence, to avoid the risk that the host will overlook it. Lots of hosts do not want other people’s animals in their home or on their property.

As for taking your hosts out to dinner, I would find that excessive. I think that many people on WS are hosting to help other travelers save money so they can tour longer; I definitely am. So, if you wanted to take me out to dinner, which around here would cost more total than a B&B room for the night, I would be wondering what the point of your staying was. A cheap – but not the absolute cheapest, of course – bottle of wine or a box of simple chocolates is IMHO much more in the spirit of a network for shoestring travelers.

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
We also don't expect anything

We also don't expect anything from guests. But if anyone really wants to bring something, a bottle or wine or some small mementos from back home are fine.


WS Member Imagen de WS Member
As for taking your hosts out to dinner

Excessive??? Oh please. In many parts of the US anyway, you can get dinner for 2 for under $30. That is not "excessive". Try to find even a half way decent hotel for $30 and you still need to feed yourself. Even a hostel dorm is going to cost at least $25.

As a guest I never expect my host to feed me. Offering to buy dinner, gets a lift to a local restaurant plus company.

As a host. I am busy working all day. I don't always have time to prepare dinner for my guests. Sometimes I do. Other times I ask if they want to order a pizza or just go out. Most times they just want to go out to a restaurant. Most times they buy other times they don't. It really doesn't matter to me. I just shouldn't be expected to cook for guests.

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
I’m not in the US, Bruce.

I’m not in the US, Bruce. Prices for things are different in different places. Let’s say that a guest feels obliged to take their host out to a restaurant dinner. Well, here (and I am representing only what it is like to be a host here), for the same amount of money they could have stayed in a local B&B and then self-catered. If I wasn’t going to order anything too fancy, then maybe the dinner would be slightly cheaper than a B&B, but in a B&B they wouldn’t have the burden of socializing with a host after a long, tiring day, so they might perceive the costs as equal. WS therefore only makes sense if they don’t take me out.

I agree hosts are not obliged to cook for guests and guests should always be prepared to cover their own meals etc. Most of my guests here are on long-haul trans-European or trans-Balkan routes where they really need to save money, so they are usually keen on cooking for themselves here in the kitchen, instead of going out and spending money on a restaurant.

WS Member Imagen de axia
I don't expect much from my

I don't expect much from my guests, but if they want to spend time talking to my son or helping to cook dinner or breakfast - it makes my life much easier. If they want to share recipes or participate in menu planning - its an added bonus. I like the new energy and ideas that guests bring to my home ... it breaks us out of our routine.

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
And on the second night...

I love paying-it-forward and giving guests a great experience. Because of the lengths we go to when hosting, I will not host people who seem "overly opportunistic" and only want to take from the community, only to delete their profile when their tour is over.

Despite wanting to give a good experience to guests, I do appreciate when guests will cook for us! If guests stay more than one night, it is a treat when they cook us a dish that is a local favorite to them. As we often host for multiple nights (and sometimes guests return for a second visit after reaching the border and heading back to the airport), this is a good way for guests to contribute to the experience.

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
No expectations

I have no expectations when I host travelers. I don' want them to use their money on gifts or food for me. I hosted 4 times this summer and that is certainly not a financial burden on me. I appreciate the travelers including me in their journey.
As mentioned by others, I do really appreciate the riders that make an attempt to update their hosts as to how their journey proceeds or finishes. Updates via a web site or email broadcast are fine, and much appreciated. But if you are not tech-savvy, that's ok too. Just have a wonderful, fun and safe trip!

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
What to do for hosts

I've been a host for over 11 years and I seldom if ever expect anything "special" from my guests. I've been very plesantly surprised on more than one occassion. I've come home to a wonderful meal, my laundry being neatly folded and my apartment cleaned. Certainly not necessary and certainly not to the extent some guests have gone to.

On a recent trip I had the privilege of staying with some very gracious WS hosts. In one instance my hosts were clearing brush on their property and insisted that I needn't join them in the clean-up. I just couldn't sit by and watch them work so I pitched in and helpped feed brush to a chipper.

Each host, guest and situation is different. The best advice I could give would be is to leave any place you stay better than you found it, ASK if there is anything you can do or contribute. Above all else, limit "screen" time and actually engage with your hosts. 

WS Member Imagen de WS Member

We dont think hosts expect something - when we are hosting we never expect something from guests. But some English guests guests brought me some really stinky and yummy cheeses once which we apreciated very much. They should come again! ;-)

But we try to bring something small like a bottle of wine for hosts when feasable so not always or we treat them to a drink or ice cream etc. If you stay longer, cooking your host dinner would be nice. When we start with visting a WF host on our first day we do bring Dutch cheese! We do agree on what others say here the most importamt ting is  the pay forward spirit. 

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