Giving hosts notice
I am curious how others manage the issue of giving notice. I personally tend to seldom know for sure where I will stop for the day until I am there or very nearly so. I seldom even know if I will be staying in a given town much less when. As a result I manage to stay with warmshowers hosts pretty seldom. I usually ask if they are OK with short notice when I make contact before the trip and skip any who are not. I then carry the culled list and usually manage to miss most of the potential hosts.
That said, when I do (rarely) manage to be a guest or host it has always been a positive experience.
I am a host and have no problem with someone phoning me on the day they arrive. I prefer short notice really. Then I don't have to plan my time around a cyclist who may never arrive because they encountered bad weather, good weather, mechanicals, better offers or whatever. I don't mind long notice really but those who give it are usually the ones who don't show up and usually don't make contact to say they aren't coming. So I'd say just ask, the worst that can happen is someone will say "no".
What we've done is to discuss early a probable date, and then make sure to follow up when the date comes or changes. I think most hosts can cope with that.
Many hosts do put significant effort into preparing, though, so for many of them it's worth working with them on actual expectations.
I too am open to short notice. Obviously with short notice the guest needs to accept that I may have other plans for the evening. There will still be a bed, shower and free run of house with computer etc but I may not be able to socialize for long nor prepare a 3 course dinner. So it is in the best interest of the cyclists to plan ahead and update hosts (me) of changes if they want good hospitality.
From my Warm Showers experience with ~100 guests over the 6 years that we have been members there has never been a problem. Where we live (Sault Ste Marie Canada) cell phone and internet accessibility to cyclists traveling on the Trans Canada is marginal - especially if traveling west to east. Despite this constraint I can say that, with a single exception, every one of our guests has either arrived as planned or contacted us to advise of a change in schedule. So my observation is that touring cyclists are both resourceful and reliable.
hey this is probably the wrong place to be posting but i cant find my way around to create a new post. im cyclign the eurovelo6 from east to west......can you tell me where i need to post my questions please....
sorry to bother you
Not sure what your questions are. If you want to know about the route there appears to be lots of relevant websites such as: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?doc_id=6817 I have not cycled the route myself but it does look interesting. Bon Voyage.
Personally, as a NEW host, I would like to know if I will be hosting someone in advance, especially someone with no experience. A month before that the tour is or may be planned through my area would be very nice.. Exact dates are not all that important. But it gives me a chance to exchange phone numbers, needs etc.
While I have more than one house, the side of a mountain for primitive hiking camping and a one room 4 person hostel (no, this is not a shameless plug LOL), this has only given me experience with those arriving by car, or Amtrak train.
With that said, I'm thankful for the couchsurfer guest that came over to surf yesterday, today and tomorrow that is a bicyclist. It helps that he has some experience couchsurfing so it depends on the person. He gave only short notice of a few days. With the rain last night, he would have been a drowned rat in the woods, and his trip to the laundromat a mute point, LOL!
A month's worth of notice? I would say "impossible". Most people don't even know if they're going to a city, not to mention a location.
I just got back from a 72 day tour in Europe, 5 countries. My trip changed a lot. Might want to have a small set of requirements you put on your location (sheets/blankets, pillows, etc.) and have the guest rely on themselves. Prepare a sheet of FAQ (wifi, map, contact info, etc.) and you're done. The more flexible, the better. Rely on email.
Just as an aside, I found it strange that a lot of users provided phone numbers. Overseas travellers won't buy a phone as they should need an address to get a phone. email is best. Or Skype (I guess this could be used as phone).
I, too, am a last minute notice kind of traveler, mainly due to the fact I wing my way around doing 80+ miles a day. I tend to only contact host after a long hard haul or emergency. I try to send as much info in an email and call/text if that info is given. I do take in consideration time and day of the week. I figure the only answer is yes or no. I try to explain how little attention I need, just a piece of mind resting in peace, shower, and directions generally.
I just did not respond to a request as it was a phone message last night with just a first name and they would be arriving this afternoon. I didn't respond be cause they didn't use the website also. Probably nothing out of sorts but I would prefer contact through the website. They still may show up as I have a map with my profile.
I should point out that the reason we have the place for a phone number on the site is so people can contact hosts by phone. If you don't want that, you might want to remove your phone number, or say in your "About me" that you prefer it not be used.
Also, please remember that many travelers do not have internet as they travel, but they may have phone.
Finally, any guest that shows up without prior arrangement with you is, in my opinion, scum, and should not be invited in. Not everybody agrees with me about that; we had a long forum thread about that some time ago.
Maybe it was the lack of info given. I have had groups through before without internet or phone. A little more than this is Joe I want to stay at your tomorrow. I have no problem with calling. I've had 15+ groups through and know exact times and such are near impossible. especially with the border crossing.
I think most of us understand the possible constraints of timing and contact on the road... gear, weather, routes, cell/net coverage/access, etc. But in this day and age of technology, it's easier than ever to somehow get word... Just contact us as you can, with what info you have, and we'll take it from there... I've had people contact me as late as a hour before they arrived - I have the option of saying "sure!" or "sorry!" (I said "sure!") All hosts ask for is some respect.
My problem is when someone actually tells me a specific plan ("I will be there Thursday night") and then does not show up and does not contact me. Some people make the effort to prepare - clean the shower, mow the camping lawn, stock the fridge, make plans to have friends over to meet the biker, whatever. And then.... nothing...
I have my cell phone, work phone, home phone, & email address listed. I can get a call, a text, a voicmail, an email. In my most recent experience, we waited around for this guy to show up, as we were going out to dinner for my birthday and would invite him to join us. He never showed and never called.
24 hours later, he did email, saying progress was slower than he expected so he had to turn around early, so couldn't make it. Glad I did hear *something* but... would have been better to hear it before, not after.
Problem is, if he's from another continent, he's not going to have his cell phone activated here. Roaming fees, and even packages, can be very expensive. I had to turn my cell phone off because it was just way too steep. Those guys are thieves. Anyway, finding WiFi while on the road can be hard. I was surprised how bad some of the WiFi was while on the road. If people don't show up, then that's because things happen.
This is OT but i don't understand how anyone want to travel without being able to use a mobile phone...!?
For personal safety and comfort i find it is an easy and affordable set up.
I would say that anyone, anywhere in Europe, is able to buy an affordable prepaid SIM card in the next Tobacco shop/grocery on the corner.
There is fixed mobile prices all over EU countries making a cross country call (28 Cent) or SMS (9 Cent) affordable.
I know of one who, in the middle of nowhere, was hit seriously by a "run away" car. -The only reason he survived was he's ability to call help from his mobile kept in his jacket ! If the phone had been on the bike, which were hundred meters away in total darkness, he would have died on the spot he landed.. This happened in Germany which, compared to many other parts of Europe, is a pretty civilized country to travel...
In the EU it's easy to take a phone from one country to another, but in many other places it's not. In Latin America the carrier changed every country... we often didn't have a phone. And many travelers don't have a way to charge them.
Of course... a phone is a wonderful thing. But no, not all travelers have them, and many have them turned off.
I admit i like to be able to help myself, or others, when in trouble. I carry a mobile as well as tools for repairing my bike. As well as gloves & helmet for protection, when something goes wrong. = Ca 300 gr necessary equipment.
-Turned on 0.5 hour daily two batteries makes a mobile use able some four month. -No one is able to be on the road that long, without hitting electricity.
If not the trouble buying another SIM card is acceptable, the cost of using border crossing SMS seems affordable.
(my total equipment weight is ca 15 kg, including tent, sleeping bag and a stove. Comfortably & self sufficient biking all over Europe in weather from +40 to -10 C. Sun/snow/rain..)
I know of two incidents where single bikers would have died without their mobile...
I guess this is more a question of culture/lifestyle... -I've seen some travellers travel "happy go lucky" style when on the road. Then at home everything runs quite tight with even minor details controlled. ;-) Aka: "Ohh no !! X or Y just left my house, careless leaving hair in the shower"... !!! -Unbearable situation...
I never carry a mobile phone when touring, particularly in foreign countries, however internet is generally pretty widely available. In the UK you can use them for free as guests of local libraries. I personally would also want to see the warmshowers email. Last minute is totally fine, if its possible we'll take you in, if not then nothing lost.
I've been wondering the same thing. In reality on a longer distance tour through multiple regions is is really too difficult to know exactly where you will be and when as there are so many factors that will change during your journey and effect your daily travel distances.
I prefer to take the chance of contacting someone at short notice and actually be able to make it there, rather than try and arrange something a week before and then not be able to stay there due to some other factor. What I expect from a host is only basic any way, a patch of grass in the back yard and access to a bathroom would be more than enough. I'm sure most people have no issues with providing this level of hospitality even at short notice. If they have no plans and have the time to share a beer and some stories then that is an added bonus.
We live on the west side of rocky Mountain NP. Most cyclists come east to west over a very high mountain road...12,000 feet and the ride must be made in one day... No safe place to camp up there. We usually get one to three days notice, but there is NO internet access and NO cell phone access in the NP, so if someone will be very late they can not contact us until they are nearly at our home. We had one couple who called us from the edge of the NP at 9:45 pm and we felt we had to host them...they had no place to stay otherwise. Also camping on our lawn is not an option as we have bears, moose, etc. that are in the area and sometimes in the yard. We just try to accommodate anyone who comes through if we are available as we know they have few options if it is late in the day when they arrive.
Sadly, I am at the point I don't even return calls from cylists who call us saying they are already in Truckee and need a place to stay. We are 6 miles from the downtown area. A few days ago, we got a call at almost 7pm. We put right on our profile, front and center, that we need adherence to our notice requirement. We love hosting, but we are running two businesses and have very busy lives. I'm thinking of taking our telephone number off and requiring an email contact initially. We continue friendships with several of the people who have stayed with us, and we've helped people get out of predicaments, including injury and taking a woman to the Reno Airport and then shipping her bike back east because she was completely unprepared for her x-country journey and only made it to Truckee from San Francisco.
I realize the importance of a certain amount of freedom while touring, but if you expect Free hospitality services from, I would guess most people, there needs to be some understanding that others are not living the life you are living..... I wish I was living that life actually, but nevertheless, I would adhere to the needs of the hosts. As Truckee-Tahoe is a popular cycling route, we got numerous, anoying, last minute calls all through the summer of 2012. Not one person adhered to our requirement and we didn't host one person either. Kind of sad for us as well as we really enjoy doing it.
I figure that it is fine to make whatever notice requirement you choose, but... I think you essentially eliminate your hosting the majority of tourists if you don't allow short notice.
I think that if both hosts and guests make their intentions clear it helps a lot.
Personally I am fine with someone calling and saying they need a place to stay tonight. I am also fine if they say that they are not positive if they will make it to my house and will likely pass me by the next day if they don't. I do reserve the right to say no, but have never exercised it.
On the other hand as a guest, I just skip those hosts who require much notice. As a result I don't wind up staying with warmshowers hosts much. I will try to let a host know that I might be in need of a place to stay, but can't pin down a day or even be certain I will need a place to stay when I get to their town.
The exception is at the start of a tour in the city I am flying in to. In that case I might actually know when and where I will need a place to stay a month ahead of time.
As hosts, we're good with short notice. Heck, I even "capture" touring cyclists off the highway. Kinda fun that way. Less formalities. Advance notice ok too of course, but unless the cyclist stays in touch, don't expect us to sit around waiting.
As a potentail guest, I tend to give lots of advance 'warning' that I might be showing up. Gives the host time to check me out. I then give the host periodic email or text updates of my progress. Has worked just fine so far. Except for the rare no response. When that happens, I call if there's a phone #, figure the email might have fallen into a spam trap, or just over looked.
We host lots of cyclists. Probably a thousand just in the past 5 yrs. We are on a popular route. Short notice is ok for me. In fact, I find short notice better than waaay advanced notice that always gets jacked, due to unforeseen changes..weather, flats, sick, detours, etc. In fact on my message on my phone, I say all the "leave a message" stuff, and at the end, I say "if you are a travelling cyclist, you are welcome here". Many cyclists have told me that it assauged fears that they would show up and be turned away..but in our rural area, there is sporadic cell service for several days' ride either way..And *I* figure that they got my number off warmshowers...
I do not like it when someone does make contact, and makes arrangements and then is a no show..Fine, it's their trip, but have the decency to call to cancel and say thanks anyway.
I've had 3 cyclists the past 4 days. One of them was a "repeat". He did the route one way, and now on his way back home, going the opposite way.