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I'm reluctant to completely cancel but.....

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I'm reluctant to completely cancel but.....

I've been a warmshowers host for more than 3 years.  Couchsurfer host many years well before and hosted wwoofers on our organic farm.

It's been a battle with my wife to keep our account active in warmshowers and I've finally given up. 

I've traveled thousands of miles by bike.  Several journeys to Europe, Asia, the US, and central America where I live.  I think in my years traveling since being a member of warmshowers I've perhaps stayed in 4 places as a guest.  Hosts generally don't respond in my experience.  But I'm older.  Perhaps they're distrustful or want younger people.  Although all of our many guests have given rave reviews.  You'd think it would be enough.

Recently negotiating with my wife to allow us to stay available in warmshowers I finally agreed to allow guests to stay for a very minimal charge.  Since, after all, we're also a hostel.  She agreed to a half price stay.  About $5 US.  We also are coffee roasters.

We've a very nice place.  Make chocolate, offer all the free coffee you want since we're also coffee roasters.  We brew artisan beer which we sell.  We've almost never had anyone stay for only a day.  Most extend longer than expected.  Even a couple of people as long as a month.  We give people the codes to go in and out as they wish.  We don't monitor and people enjoy the town into well past our bedtime.  Which is fine and frankly easier for us.

Many people are nice.  Respectful.  Ask to help out sometimes.  Don't overwealm us with needs.  But unfortunately too many see us being here as sort of a right.  Like since we're in this network then they can use it as part of a plan for cheap travel.  They calculate their trip budget around expected warmshowers and couchsurfer stays.  Which puts a certain financial association/expectation, perhaps pressure, on traveling by network.

We put all our data on line.  Phone numbers, whatsapp, house location.  This last year people started just calling or using whatsapp.  Bypassing completely the ability to vet.  See who they are.  Have them register.  I still let them come but several we still have no idea who they were.  So I removed our phone numbers. 

This last though; a couple of guys from Europe; just showed up on our doorstep one evening.  We let them in.  My wife got out of bed to make up theirs.  It was a nuisance but okay.  They gave me first names (which I now don't remember).  And ended up staying for 3 days.  They were nice enough.  I made them a lot of shots.  Gave them some free beer.  They hung out.  Asked to use the kitchen which we let happen.  One wanted to trade a crap book for a valuable one which I let happen.  I'm not too attached to belongings.  The usual.  They cleaned up.  And then one morning left.

I've no real serious complaints about them as people.  But I also don't know who they are.  They, as has occured lately, didn't register nor did they leave any cards or whatever.  They also didn't pay the little bit we asked though we gave them way more in beer and coffee than even that little bit would have covered.  And we pay a girl to help wash and clean up.  That's our expense and I don't calculate it.  But it all adds up.  Particulary in the unwritten calculations by my wife.

Unfortunately I'm the biker.  My wife isn't and is particularly mad that I get no one to respond when I tour.  Our warmshowers relationship is completely lopsided as hosts only.  And now as take for granted hosts.

So though I've not canceled I'm also not available.  I agree it's not specifically a warmshowers problem.  But guests could have been more supportive of us and been more forthright.  Rather than simply treating us as a right they had for being in the network.



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Rude Guests

Hey Daniel:  Sorry to hear of your negative experiences.  And I really get it that the wife has her reservations.  Both of you are expecting everyone to have manners equal to your own and unfortunately that's unrealistic.  Personally, the best part of my touring experiences has to do with hosts.  I look forward to each and every stay.  Residents are civilized reflections of an area and the real reason one is traveling. We grow through interaction, not isolation.  I restrict who can reach me, routing them always through the online organizers.  I give lots of information online and write guest expectations clearly in my bio.  I have never had a problem.  That has not always been true with my hosts.  A few had no clue to cleanliness or behavior.  It works both ways.  So my recommendation is more control by requiring a satisfactory bio and feedback from other hosts.  If you feel you are being taken advantage of, be up front.  They will change their ways, or they can hit the road.  ...Fair winds and safe travels!  

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Ethical Problem

Your profile is not in accordance with the rules of WS.  You clearly say that you charge (even at a reduced rate).  The rules in the WS FAQ state, "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."  

Please know that your profile may be removed if you change your status to "available" and continue to charge users.

Ken Francis


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