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Hi, I'm cycling around the world and not yet spent a night with a host

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Hi, I'm cycling around the world and not yet spent a night with a host

Hi Everyone,

I have been a member of Warmshowers for quite some time, in preparation for my attempt to cycle completely around the world. As a first time cycle tourist and not a regular cyclist, I’m happy with my cycle through the UK, St-Malo in France down to San Sebastian in Spain, San Sebastian to Valencia via Madrid, then up the coast to Marseille in Southern France.

Due to major mechanical breakdown that was only repairable by my returning to the UK under warranty, the Rohloff gearing is now restored and I will be returning to Marseille on the 1st of March 2018 to continue on.

I will then be taking the ferry from Toulon to Sardinia, and up to Corsica, then over the Livorno Italy and all the way down the coast to Greece, over to Turkey, Cyprus then India.

Oh, my question. Having never stayed with anyone before, I have no idea how to go about it. Do I start asking days or weeks in advance? I’m a little shy you see, but think Warmshowers is a great idea.

All the best everyone on this Christmas day.

Steve

 

http://www.stephenpeel.co.uk/

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what I like when hosting warmshowers guests

is a general request as far in advance as possible, like "in about 2 weks after easter I´ll come through your area" followed by "if all goes well I´ll be in your town by the evening of tuesday 9th or by midday wednesday 10th" followed by "I am 25 km away and will make it by 1800 h" on the 9th. 

If I give you a yes 8 weeks ahead I've committed to being there for you and finetune the date in communication with you. I'll arange my plans around you.

Of course anyone can try when they are already in front of the house but I'll likely say no.

Same goes for cancellations: As early as possible. PLEASE!

We both may have sudden circumstances that call for change of plans. My mother might call for assistance and I'd have to catch a train to 500 km north. You might meet the love of your life half an hour before reaching my house. ;-)

On my WS profile page I provide a lot of infos about the area and other hosting options so folks who hear a No can check their other options.

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Thank you Thomas, great

Thank you Thomas, great advice.

Steve

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Even in short notice

But I would also send messages on a short notice, sometimes you just wanna cycle more or change your plans,  that's the magic of cycle touring , you are flexible to change plans and alter your routes on the fly etc. Yes it will be harder for hosts saying yes, but  don't hesitate to ask even on the same day! During our long journey it worked really well for example in France.

Have fun on your journey 

Christos 

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Thanks. It's all new to me

Thanks. It's all new to me but no doubt once I start staying at hosts, I will enjoy it. Hope they don't mind if I snore from time to time. I am a very tidy and very clean person. In fact in 3 months through the UK France and Spain, I only ever wore a shirt 2 days on in a row and never wore a pair of shorts twice. No doubt at some point I won't be able to find anywhere to wash my clothes or have a shower for a week, and that concerns me a lot :)

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Since I am not on a specific

Since I am not on a specific route I just message a day in advance and usually find someone.  I have messaged ahead and didn't make it and the host was mad!  I'm on a freaking bike, breakdowns and fatigue happen and I don't have that much control over it.  I can see if you are on a very well documented route and can study every inch of the way but I just don't tour like that.  I have only been told no because of no advanced warning once and a few other times WS hosts found a friend/family member for me to stay with because they couldn't host me at that moment.

It is nice if you can plan ahead but if you just 'go' it is more difficult. I wouldn't be worried to ask the day of needing a place to stay, if they can't the hosts will say no or simply not respond.  If you were on a plane or in a car yeah, lots of advance notice but it isn't always possible on a bike.

So just don't sit alone in a motel because a breakdown caught you somewhere, if there are WS hosts try it.  Most of the time I rather socialize with a host than sit alone in a room.

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I have no idea where I will

I have no idea where I will be from one day to the next, as I just look at my google map in a morning, pin a point on it, and off I go. Giving someone notice a week in advance would be pretty hard going, as I wouldn't want to then be messaging them to say I'm still days away. But a lot of warmshowers host I would imagine understand this, as long as they are kept up to speed. With regard to sitting on my own in a hotel room. I don't mind that so much, I love getting washed up, washing my clothes and drying them out of the windows or on radiators. I bit of TV and some photo editing and it's bed time.

I like being on a campsite too, as I like seeing and hearing others moving around, getting a shower and doing my chores, and chatting to others. Wild camping I'm not so keen on. It would be great with a partner or others, but being solo is very different no doubt. Alone all day they alone all night in the bushes, with nowhere to wash, is not my ideal, and although I do it from time to time, campsites, budget hotels or hostals with my own room are the way to go.

I find I cover many more miles in a day when I know I have a hotel or place to stay at the end of the day. When I'm not sure where I am gonig to stay, I end up starting to look in mid afternoon. So in some ways, staying in a hotel can work out OK if I put the miles in. 3 nights campsites vs 2 nights in hotels as the miles go. 

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I actually find it really

I actually find it really lonely in a motel, which is weird because when I'm not touring I spend a lot of time alone.  I've actually only done clothes with people I stayed with but I do wear my clothes for at least two days, often more.  I use baby wipes to freshen up every morning I don't get a shower and that helps a lot.

That is one huge advantage of WS over Couchsurfing, it is almost expected you stink and need to wash clothes and shower.  HUGE ADVANTAGE! 

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:) yes, and they expect you

:) yes, and they expect you coming along with a bike and all the gear so have somewhere safe to put it. A lot of hotels don’t allow a bike in the room sadly. 

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I can't think of anyone we've

I can't think of anyone we've hosted with more than 2 days notice. Some one day, and one on the same day. I like 2-3 days notice so we cna tidy up and have a room that is in good shape for our guests. If you arrive same day, you may not get food or the room might be a mess. This is not to be harsh, but just the reality of our lifestyle (we mealplan and buy groceries to a budget). 

I've only done one cycle tour, but was surprised by how many hosts either didn't reply at all, or weren't available to us. I take requests much more seriously now, knowing how difficult it can be for tourers to find shelter for the night. In fact on our week-long tour we ended up staying with contacts from other organizations since no one listed on WS was available for the whole ride. I think that the only way to compensate for this is to plan a couple days ahead to see who is available.

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My plan now is to get from

My plan now is to get from Marsielle through Sardinia and Corsica, over to Italy, Greece, Turkey and into Cyprus. From there I plan to get to India then Thailand. I think my attemps at finding hosts will be until I reach Cyprus. There have been days were it has got late and I haven't found a place to stay or even wild camp, and have been looking for bus shelters to prop myself up in, but luckily have have managed to avoid that and have found other options last minute :)

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Stephen,

Stephen,

How dare you cycle through our area without stopping with us or our wonderful co-hosts, Steve and Marcia to the north!

You have an excellent story there, share it, my friend.  Good luck mate.

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:) Thanks for your message. I

:) Thanks for your message. I have wanted to try Warmshowers, but to be honest I'm a little shy and although I know people wouldn't offer to host if they didn't want to, I just felt a little like I was scrounging in some way. Not that I would want feeding or anything, it's just that I was missing having a good chat with anyone for days or weeks on end. I have shared my story so check out my website or my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/StephenPeelAdventureTravel/

Thanks again and I wish you the very best. Steve

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Warmshowers has been hard work for us

I've found it really difficult to get hosted when we travel in Europe.  The most success we have had is when able to give weeks and weeks notice due to the request being for the first or last place on a trip and therefore had an ability to give an exact day.  That said we've also had a very poor response, or no response at all when trying to find hosts even weeks out.   This happened lately when trying to find somewhere to stay in Portugal/Lisboa.  We either had no reply or the reply we had was very curt and unwelcoming.  I've hosted quite a bit and found most people I've had as guests have only given us a couple of day's notice at most, and at times only a number of hours, but that's the nature of the beast I would have thought. We resort to using AirB&B and have had fabulous experiences and welcomes; most notably lately from a woman, Margarida, in Lisboa who stored our bike boxes and ferried us to and from the airport and really put herself out for us!!!  Other AirB&B hosts have been very welcoming too but of course they are getting a fairly good income from being welcoming!  It has cost us a bit for accommodation in the proces but fortunately we can afford it, but would rather use Warmshowers to meet like minded cyclo tourists around the world.  I think this is an issue Warmshowers admin need to address as a lot of people seem to be on the register for their own benefit without wanting to host/give back!!   Partly due to this I am currently marked as "Not available"!

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I'm wondering whether it is

I'm wondering whether it is easier for solo cyclists to find a host rather than couples. I'm wondering this because of what you say in your response. Do you find it easier to host solo vs couples, or does it not make any difference? What I found myself doing at times when there were no campsites available and nowhere to wildcamp, I would look at booking . com on my phone to try to find some cheap digs at my destination. I found that sometimes because I was booking so late, that I would find some cheaper prices. But it's still expensive in Europe, and as I'm not just on a trip for few weeks or months, but instead years, I really have to watch my pennies. I have a budget of £50 a day for 3 years to include flights, visas, digs and food. It might not sound very much, but over 3 years it's an awful lot. Just one night in digs can blow my whole days budget in Europe, or more, so if I can find the odd nights host, wild camp, or cheap campsite, I'm covered for my flights and other costs. Wouldn't it be great to no have to budget :), but wouldn't imagine many people not wanting to keep to a budget on a 3 year holiday.

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It depends on the host

Hi. My friend and I are cycling in the States at the moment. We do not follow any set cycle routes or have any modern gadgetry with us, so we kind of have to use libraries to find hosts. We have found that some people are surprised if we message them a month in advance as they prefer a few days in advance notice. Some people have noted on their profile what notice in advance they prefer. 

We have found hosts by messaging them a month in advance and a night before we arrive. It really depends on the host.

Good luck traveling and finding hosts (:

Krista

 

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Thanks Krista,

Thanks Krista,

All the best on your travels.

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Cycling in the States... (Krista Nevis)

Cyling in the States.

The USA, the more remote states for sure, are one of the most hospitable countries is our experience and to prevent the nowadays hassle to get a positive reaction of WS-hosts, there are a lot of other possibillities. 

--City parks (every town has one) are a good option. If camping not allowed, we contact the local police and we always got permission to stay for one night.

--Churches. If you see any activity there, ask the members. Success guaranteed. We even slept IN a church. (any church has an outdoor hose for the flowers...)

--Locals, especially in villages, are very helpful. When we ask for a campground, we often were invited in peoples homes.

--Gasstations. Open 24/7. Next door grass field. Bathroom, sometimes even a shower, available.

--Simple hotels. Ask the manager to put up your tent next to the building, negotiate about the price and use their bathroom + showers.

--Area's  with mobile homes, shabby homes. Often rather poor people. They know better than others how's life and share gladly the grass next door and  their simple facillities. Give them a bottle of wine and you'll have a great time.

--Police in very small cities: We once slept in the prison of a local policestation, another time next to the station.

--Sports grounds/fairfields outside towns often have free bathrooms, even showers. 

--Town hall. These people know exactly places you wouldn't find by yourself. They even make phone calls with local sport clubs and connect you with them. Result: you are invited.

So,...be creative, do ask people and you will see how many occasions you are free to camp or are invited. Every day a new surprise...

Note: In area's with dense population these idea's are much more difficult. Don't count on it. 

 

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I drove 6500 miles around all

I drove 6500 miles around all the Southern States and 3500 miles around the West Coast, and although I met amazingly wonderful people everywhere, I found Tennessee to be incredibly friendly.

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Removed

Text of our forum contribution here above was doubled. So we removed it.

 

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Hosting Solo cyclists, Couples or Families

Hi Stephen,

Hosting solo cyclists, couples or families it really doesn't matter to us, although I think it would probably be easier for most folks to say Yes to solo cyclists.

A couple of pointers from a hosting point of view. 1. Have a nice friendly, smiling, profile mug shot. It's important, both couples, the parents and kiddies.

2. Referrals/feedback from other hosts really, really help  3. Check your potential host's response rate before contacting, If it's low, chances are you'll get no reply.

4. Seek out WS hosts, go out of your way/route to start building feedback, you certainly won't regret it. 5. A wee gift of wine or chocolates says so much.

Cheers, Richard y Sandy

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Visa

Hi Stephen,

Sounds as an incredibly terrific plan! Do you kinda know the countries where you want to cycle through? Of course Europe will be no issue, but from Turkey on, you will have to make sure that you get visa for the countries you want to cycle through. Better do this in advance. Just call to the countries and you will see. Most probable route would be Turkey-Iran (Van-Tabriz)-Pakistan (Zahedan-Taftan)-India-(Nepal/Bangladesh)-China-Vietnam-Cambodia-Thailand-Malaysia-Indonesia-Australia-New Zealand (only way from there would be either by plane or freight ship to Chile or Peru or Hawaii/California and through the US). Northern route would be Iran-the Stans-(Mongolia-Siberia) or (China-Japan) to Canada and/or US.

Anyway, plan your trip long time before due to visa and good luck and have the most terrific time of your life!

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Hi, yes it's a tall order for

Hi, yes it's a tall order for the middle aged father, and today while having dinner out with my eldest daughter, she informs me I am to be a Grandfather for the first time in around September, so no matter what, from wherever I am I will be flying back for a few weeks for that very special time, then back to where I left off. My tour has to include at least 18000 actual cycling miles around the globe on at least 4 continents and I have to cross 2 points on the Earth (antipodal points) I have already passed through Madrid and the second will be Wellington in New Zealand, these are the 2 points I have chosen. 

I will be covering the miles in the countries I want to visit, and none that I don't have any interest in. So as follows: UK, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, India, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, USA, UK.  I have created a bit of a map to explain more: https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1t8LSQ8w92bKMonOpy45l3pW7KWD4TF1Z&ll=42.04600904036742%2C13.256723117675847&z=5

The only visa I need to apply for in advance, so I believe, is India. I sent my passport off yesterday and hope to receive a 12 month multiple entry visa in the coming weeks. This nean no messing around by the time I reach Cyprus. On the first of March I am back in Marceille where I left off a few weeks ago after 3300 km's. The bike has been repaired and converted to chain and Rohloff instead of belt and Rohloff, and I'm excited about my return to the tour.

Thanks for the wishes

Steve