Frequently Asked Questions

Introduction

The Warm Showers Community is a free worldwide hospitality exchange for touring cyclists. People who are willing to host touring cyclists sign up and provide their contact information, and may occasionally have someone stay with them and share great stories and a drink.

In 1993, Terry Zmrhal and Geoff Cashman were the originators of this service. In 1996, Roger Gravel began updating and managing the Warm Showers List after he found that it hadn't been maintained. Randy Fay turned the list into a database-and-map enabled website in 2005 and eventually assumed the registrar role from Roger when Roger retired in 2009. Now a small but dedicated group of volunteers manage the site and communication with our members.

The short answer is: You are responsible for your own personal security during all interactions with members, when you accept guests into your own home, or when you visit another member's home as a guest. Warmshowers.org does not control or participate in any of these interactions, so you alone must decide what is reasonable in your circumstances.

  • Warmshowers.org provides a way for members to meet and share hospitality, and provides information about members that they themselves provide or other members provide about them. But we do not have any way to vouch for the good intentions or the identity of any member. 
  • You alone are responsible for your security and safety. Use your good sense.
  • You choose how much information to post on your profile. You may include or omit your phone number; you may include or omit most parts of your address and location.
  • You are under no obligation at any time to invite anyone to your home. Even if they show up at your door after you've invited them, and you change your mind, you can find other alternatives, like having them camp on a lawn, or escorting them to a hostel.
  • If you're uncomfortable with having strangers visit you, or with staying with strangers, a hospitality network like this might not be for you. That's OK.

 

(For a longer answer, visit Personal Security in the Warmshowers.org community and read the Terms of Use).

 

 

 We believe that you have the right to control all of the information and content that you share, post and submit on the site.

  • We do not disclose your information in any way to any third party, for advertising or any other purpose.
  • Only members are able to view information about you that you post on your profile, including address or telephone details that you choose to include. 
  • Only members are able to contact you through the "Send Message" button and the site's private messaging facility
  • Your email address will not be disclosed to any member or third party unless you choose to disclose it, with perhaps an emergency exception as discussed in the Privacy Policy.
  • Postings that you make in the Warmshowers.org forums are visible to anyone on the internet.
  • Any posting on the site may be deleted by you at any time, or you can request that we delete it.

Please read our full Privacy Policy.

 

Fundamentals

This video screencast summarizes the process.

After logging in, visit the main page and either move the map (it's a regular Google map) or use the search capabilities on the left side.

  • Search by name or email: Enter a part of the member's name you're looking for. If the member's name is "Joe Rufus", you're better to just search for "Rufus", because he might be listed as "Joseph Rufus" or "Joseph A. Rufus" and then you'll miss him. (You can also search by email if you already have the member's email.) (image)
  • Search by location:
    • Choose a country. (image)
    • Optionally choose a town or state/province within that country. Start typing the first part of the name of the town or province and wait for the site to autocomplete. Then select from the list of towns. They'll be listed in order of population. (image)
    • Click the "map" button to go to the selected place or... (image)
    • Click the "list" button to get a list of members in order of distance from the center of the location you specfied or...
    • Click the "csv" button to go to a page with a full listing of that country's members. You can choose a particular state/province, and there's a link which will let you download an Excel/CSV version of the listing. Please remember that this information is only for your use in contacting hosts concerning hospitality and may not be shared or used in any other way.

On the map, red markers indicate individual hosts. If the red marker has a number in it, then more than one member is at that exact spot.  "Cluster"markers indicate that there are too many members in the area shown to display - if you click on a cluster marker you'll automatically zoom into the area that has all those individual members, or you can zoom in using any of the map's zoom tools. , so you need to zoom in on that area (using the map's zoom function) to see the individual hosts. (image)

After finding a prospective host, visit their profile page and contact them using the "Send Message" button on the right side of their profile page (image). Please make sure to read the entire page first, to make sure that the host fits your needs and you fit the host's preferences. Also, please do not contact hosts listed as "not currently available" for hospitality.

Well, we don't have very many rules, but there are a few.

  1. The member information on this site is to be used only for members to contact each other about hospitality , and not for any other purpose. People have graciously given their information for the purpose of arranging hospitality. (No B&B's or commercial hostels, no commercial uses at all. Thanks.)
  2. The WSL is for hospitality for private individuals (or couples or very small groups) touring on bicycles. Please don't use it for other types of hospitality - for your large group of teenagers doing a cross-country ride, or for your large-group fund-raising event (even though it's for AIDS or cancer or some other fine cause). Please don't use it for non-bicycle travel.
  3. Please keep your information up-to-date, and please be responsive . Every cyclist deserves to expect at least a response from each host contacted. If your information is out of date or you are not responsive, it can be very frustrating for a cyclist.
  4. Please log into the site at least once every year and check your information We request that you log into the site at least once every year to check your information and update it. Accounts that get out of date will be deleted (we'll send you a warning email first).
  5. When seeking hospitality you should contact prospective hosts in advance. And if your plans change please let your host know as soon as possible. Do not make arrangements with a host and then fail to keep your agreement, unless you contact them, of course.
  6. Hosts are not allowed to require any payment for the hospitality that they offer other warmshowers members. Guests may help out of course; you can fix a meal, bring some beer, etc.
  7. Businesses (hotels, B&B's, etc.) may not use the site for promotional purposes or charge members for the hospitality that they offer.
  8. Say "no" to any hosting request if you're uncomfortable or for any other reasons. For example, if you request notice, and someone calls you on the spur of the moment, just say "sorry, I have to have some notice, as it says on my account".
  9. Minors are not allowed to use the site. Sorry, for legal and liability reasons, minors (people not of legal age) are not allowed to use the site.
  10. Our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy are presented as separate pages. You may want to read them. The Terms of Use emphasizes that you alone are responsible for the choices you make when using Warmshowers.org, and that the Warmshowers.org Foundation has no way to guarantee your experience with any guest or host.
  • Please respond to contacts from members in a timely manner, whether you choose to host them or not. If you can't do this, please make sure your profile is marked "not currently available".
  • When contacted by a member for hospitality, read their profile and recommendations and decide whether you want to offer hospitality (you are under no obligation to offer hospitality!) Note that the link to the contacting member's profile will be in the email you receive from the site.
  • If you decide to offer hospitality, continue the contact with the member to make specific arrangements, and give them additional contact and location details if necessary.
  • Always provide feedback after any visit from a guest. This builds trust in the community. Normally it will be positive, but if it's neutral or negative, please provide it anyway.
  • Please read the article How to be a good host for more detail.
  • Before contacting a prospective host read their warmshowers account carefully. Be aware of the hospitality that they offer as well as any restrictions that they may have. Read their recommendations to see what others have said about them.
  • Show up at the agreed-upon location as you have discussed with the host. If you can't, please contact them as soon as you can. (No-shows have been a consistent complaint from hosts, and do damage to our hosting community.)
  • Ask the host what your responsibilities are as a guest. Are you expected to fix a meal? How long are you allowed/expected to stay? 
  • Guests should generally figure out some way to be responsive to the host's kind hospitality... bringing a beer, fixing a meal, telling good stories.
  • Always provide feedback (and thanks) to hosts by clicking the "Provide Feedback" button on their profile page. Note that although it's unusual, feedback may be neutral or negative. Your honest feedback helps build trust in the community.
  • If a host was responsive to your contact, please visit their profile page and click the "Mark responsive" button. If they do not respond, please click the "Mark unresponsive" button. This information will help other members determine what hosts are best to contact.
  • Please read the article How to be a good guest for more information.
Account Features

The Warmshowers community depends on your feedback about other members. We operate on trust, and it's easier to trust someone if you can see what others have said about them.

To provide feedback about a member, visit their profile page (use the "search by name or email" or other capabilities to find them.) Then click the "Provide Feedback" button on the right side of their profile page. (image)

Although most feedback is really just thank-you letters, there are times when feedback might be neutral or negative. If a guest might be a problem for other hosts or other members might not think a host was appropriate, please go ahead and say this. Feedback of this type is important to the community.

Also, please mark all members you contact as responsive if they respond to you, or unresponsive otherwise. (image). 

Changing your account

Log in using your current password. On the main page, you can click "Edit profile" (image) or you can go to View profile and click the "edit" tab (image). You can change it there. Click "submit".

If you have lost or forgotten your password, go to the request a new password page (image), which will send a link to you by email. You can click on the link (image) and you'll land on the page to change your password.

Just log into your account and go to my account and click on the "Edit" tab. On the Edit tab, Look down the page to the "Warm Showers Host Profile". There you'll find a checkbox for "Not Currently Available" (image). Click that box and nobody will find you via the map searches, and your profile page will say clearly that you're not available.

Please remember that this list is reciprocal hospitality, so you're expected to offer hospitality in the future (perhaps the distant future) even if you can't right now. (It's OK to go years, maybe many years, set to "not currently available". But someday...)

Make sure you have clicked "Save". Or maybe there was an error - look for the popup message telling you that. If you accidentally don't complete the state/province or country, zipcode, your full name, "about me", etc., your submission won't be accepted. Please read the error message and fill in the required fields. If you're still having trouble, send us a note using the contact form.

You can click the "Delete Account" button (image) at the bottom of the page when editing your account. Follow the prompts. Remember, if you just want people not to contact you for a period of time, you can just click the "not currently available" checkbox (image) on that same "edit account" page.

Account problems

Most likely the email went into your spam or bulk mail folder. Please look there first. If you don't find it, please send a note to us using the contact form.

In this situation, you log into the site, but you get the error message "Access denied" (image). This is not the same as a message saying "Invalid username or password" (in that case, try again, or get a one-time login link sent to you so you can change your password.) 

If you log in and get the "Access denied" message, it's almost certainly because your browser is not allowing cookies. Nearly all websites require cookies to work in order for visitors to log in. Google has an article explaining how to enable cookies on most web browsers here.  

If you can't resolve this, you may want to use a different web browser, and install Chrome or Firefox. If you can't install Firefox because you don't have permissions on the computer, try Firefox Portable Edition, which doesn't require any installation.

Any program that blocks cookies on your computer or your network can cause this problem. For example, CA Security Center may block cookies in all programs. Try temporarily disabling your firewall and virus protection to see if they're the problem.

If you get "Unrecognized username or password" when you try to log in, you can get a one-time login link mailed to you by visiting the request new password page (image). Here you can enter your email address. It will send you an email with a link that you can click on to log in - and then change your password (image).

This one-time login link may land in your spam folder, so look there. And please add wsl@warmshowers.org to your "Approved senders" list or your address book to prevent that from happening.

Pictures are generally cached by your own browser (Internet Explorer or Firefox or whatever). Go to your profile page and hold down the Shift key and press the "refresh" icon on top of the browser (image) and it will refresh the entire page and you should see the new picture. Here is a screencast showing how to upload a picture and demonstrating the refresh problem.

If you can log in, you're a member. But you may be set to "not currently available", in which case your name won't show in most searches.

If you find that you can't log in, try getting a password reset email sent to your address. Just visit the password reset page and enter your email.

We do delete members annually if they haven't logged in for more than a year, and we delete members when they are consistently unreachable. In both of these cases we attempt to contact you first.

If you account has been deleted, you are welcome to create a new one at any time.

Since Internet Explorer 9 was released, sites and users all over the web have reported that users with IE9 can't upload pictures. In our case, you might add a profile picture on your profile and press "Save"... and then it just waits and waits and never completes. We have not found a solution to this problem. You might want to use the free Chrome or Firefox browsers.

Website Tools

There's a writeup on using the map here.

First, please make sure that all your address information is correct. If you have provided at least a partial address, particularly with the postal code, that will usually give an approximate (and sometimes very accurate) location.

If that doesn't do it, please set your own location on the map. Click the "Update location" button on the main page (image), or the "Set location" button on your profile page (image). Zoom in or out, move around, and click where you actually live, and then press the "submit" button.

 Yes, we have mobile apps for iPhone/iPad, Android, and Windows Phone. They were developed and are maintained by individual members who took on this task. You'll find them in their appropriate App Stores. See this article for full information. 

Other Questions

Send them on! We want this to be a great resource! Send your thoughts to us using the contact form. Also, please suggest your own entries to this FAQ, or leave a comment here.

There is also a forum for discussing feature requests and bugs.

Yes, it is fine to be a member even though you don't know when in the future you might be able to host others. The idea is that you're just committing to host "someday". Many of us don't know when we'll be able to host, but most of us will be able to at some point in our lives.

Please remember to keep the "not currently available" checkbox (image) checked when you're not available to host.

Please let us know about all problems you have with the site. We're working hard to improve it. Of course, we're just volunteers, so it can take some time to get things fixed. Please send a note via the contact form with errors you encounter, problems you have, etc. Please do be patient with us. This is a big project and it continues to mature over time.

Note that our open bugs are on github, and you're welcome to look through them to see if yours has been reported. If you have a free github account, you can comment on those issues or help out explaining them, or just create one there.

If you have the time and are a native speaker of your language, with a good grasp of English, please contact us and we'll tell you what it entails. It's a fair chunk of work, and has to be maintained in the future, so you're signing up for a bit of a commitment. Volunteers have already translated the site into Spanish, French, Portuguese and German.  We only accept translation projects where the translator is willing to make a long-term commitment to keep the translation up-to-date.

Yes, it does cost to maintain the site, and if you'd like to donate to the cause, just go to the Donations page and send any amount you'd like via Paypal. The money received will go toward maintaining the site.

When using the site in a public place, please click "log out" at the top of the screen when you're done using the site (image).

When logging in on a shared computer, do not check the "remember me" checkbox (image). 

Warmshowers.org is registered as a Colorado Nonprofit Corporation in the state of Colorado, USA.

According to the US IRS rules, contributions to Warmshowers.org are tax-deductible to US taxpayers.

  1. Please try to sort out whether the problem is one of miscommunication or cultural difference. If that's what it is, please move on.
  2. If you think that other hosts or guests should be aware of the member's situation, please leave feedback in the form of negative feedback. Simply click the "Provide Feedback" button on their profile page and explain the facts of your concern and your experience. You'll choose "Negative" or "Neutral" as the rating, of course.
  3. If the situation involves serious misbehavior (theft, sexual misbehavior, etc.), please let us know the facts of the situation by using the contact form. We will ask you for specific factual details of your experience and ask the other party for their view. In serious cases we can post an administrative feedback (anonymous for you) on the member's account, or delete the accused member's account, if that is warranted.
  4. If the situation involves criminal behavior, please immediately inform your local legal authorities. Call the police.

 

Bien sûr - Mais vous devez le faire avec deux comptes. Deux adresses e-mail que vous consultez régulièrement feront l'affaire. Vous devrez les définir comme disponible ou indisponible à votre convenance.

Si vous utilisez Gmail, vous pouvez créer deux comptes Warmshowers avec une seule adresse en utilisant le "plus addressing". Si votre adresse e-mail est moi@gmail.com, vous pouvez configurer un compte Warmshowers avec l'adresse moi+maison_paris@gmail.com et un autre avec l'adresse moi+maison_lyon@gmail.com. Tous les e-mails arriveront sur moi@gmail.com.