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Warm Showers

Old 11-15-16, 11:43 AM
  #1  
TDJ1776
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Warm Showers

Sorry about the confusion of the Showers Pass thread.

I'd like to hear from anyone, user or provider, about Warm Showers. Good, bad, or indifferent.
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Old 11-15-16, 11:59 AM
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I've used WarmShowers on all of my tours. It's a great resource. Even if they can't host you most people can offer suggestions or another place to stay. Most host are really flexible and rarely found trouble finding a place to stay same day. If they said they didn't have space I offered to camp in their yard if they'd allow me to.

I've only had one bad experience on WarmShowers but I've stayed at over 150 WarmShowers host. A guy in Pittsburgh who stole from me. Otherwise I've made a lot of friends using WarmShowers and all the great experiences far outweigh the one negative. Some of the best food I had on my trips were from WarmShowers host.

Make sure you find out where they live before you proceed to where you think they live. I live in Beaverton, Oregon but my map pin is in Portland. I found a lot of host have it this way for privacy. Was only an issue for me once. A guy refused to give me his address unless I reached Toledo, Ohio. Only to find out I'd passed his house 10 miles back.

If you host I highly recommend getting a guestbook and having visitors sign it. Take a photo of them before they leave and paste it with their entry. Probably one of the best things I've done.

The same would all apply for Couchsurfing but I feel like CS is dying out. It's hard to get people to respond and I've pretty much stopped using it.
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Old 11-15-16, 12:08 PM
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Sometimes hosts have things stolen from them.
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Old 11-15-16, 01:03 PM
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I used Warmshowers twice. Once in Montreal and once in Colorado. Both experiences were just wonderful. My first host wrote me an itinerary of the city so that I would be able to explore easier (unfortunately, I crashed my bike on the way there!) and my second host was a NASA engineer and shared a lot of amazing stories. Amtrak lost my bike for 24 hours on that trip, and my host drove me around Colorado showing me the sights to make the most of my afternoon.

It felt like staying with family on both accounts.

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Old 11-15-16, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Ty0604 View Post
I've used WarmShowers on all of my tours. It's a great resource. Even if they can't host you most people can offer suggestions or another place to stay. Most host are really flexible and rarely found trouble finding a place to stay same day. If they said they didn't have space I offered to camp in their yard if they'd allow me to.

I've only had one bad experience on WarmShowers but I've stayed at over 150 WarmShowers host. A guy in Pittsburgh who stole from me. Otherwise I've made a lot of friends using WarmShowers and all the great experiences far outweigh the one negative. Some of the best food I had on my trips were from WarmShowers host.

Make sure you find out where they live before you proceed to where you think they live. I live in Beaverton, Oregon but my map pin is in Portland. I found a lot of host have it this way for privacy. Was only an issue for me once. A guy refused to give me his address unless I reached Toledo, Ohio. Only to find out I'd passed his house 10 miles back.

If you host I highly recommend getting a guestbook and having visitors sign it. Take a photo of them before they leave and paste it with their entry. Probably one of the best things I've done.

The same would all apply for Couchsurfing but I feel like CS is dying out. It's hard to get people to respond and I've pretty much stopped using it.
What advice would you give to a new user? I'm not a member yet, but plan on using it when I cross the country.
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Old 11-15-16, 04:03 PM
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In Europe I use Hostels, and commercial Campgrounds so I Paid for the Hot (sometimes not) water .
now, Where I Live the town has Plenty of Motel rooms , several Hotels , 1 hostel [2nd floor]

Fort Stevens state park is where the camping is , about 8 miles to the west ..

I did not tour with a Phone..



...

Last edited by fietsbob; 11-16-16 at 05:20 PM.
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Old 11-15-16, 04:17 PM
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I had a difficult exchange with the owner of WarmShowers after I googled a cyclist and discovered that he had been directly involved in brutal sexual abuse of fraternity pledges while he was pledge director. I asked the owner whether such a person should be listed and he told me that was not his job to decide.

Websites like WarmShowers are great - and I have had wonderful guests from WS and Couchsurfing - but it only takes one. The dangers are even greater for women users. There are sociopaths out there and they tend to gravitate toward link-up websites like WS, CS, Craigslisr, dating sites. I am not convinced that WarmShowers has adequate protections.

I withdrew from WarmShowers after this exchange as did a number of my friends.
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Old 11-15-16, 04:54 PM
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My wife and I have been a part of Warm Showers since 2007. We've only hosted a handful of people (we're not on a popular route). All of the guests we've had have been great. It's fun to swap stories, and it feels good to provide shelter for fellow bicycle travelers.

We've also been hosted many times over the years. All of our experiences with hosts have been fantastic, beyond anything we'd expect from a stranger. They've picked us up at airports, cooked us meals, given us tours of their city, provided tons of route suggestions. In turn we'd leave a six-pack, or some movie tickets, or some other little gift.

On our recent trip in Europe however, we struggled to find responsive hosts. It was partly our fault. We didn't have a phone with a cellular connection. But it was also due to Warm Showers' growing popularity. It seems like anyone even remotely interested in cycling offers hosting now. From reading host profiles, the percentage of people who have actually toured is becoming smaller. Without this experience, I think people have less emotional investment in helping a fellow tourist out. Without this experience, how is it any different than Couch Surfing? Maybe that doesn't matter to most people, but to me it makes a difference.

Despite this problem, we still had two very good experiences in Scotland.
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Old 11-15-16, 05:18 PM
  #9  
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On my cross country ride I stayed with Warm Showers a third of the nights (one third was camping and one third motels). Absolutely every one was fantastic and I met some wonderful people. The accommodation was variable, but the welcome was always warm.

My advice is to be open minded and considerate. I found that a day's notice was usually enough for the hosts and that worked well with my planning. I would use the app to ask a few hosts if they had space and usually got a place easily.
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Old 11-15-16, 06:07 PM
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I hosted about 30 people over a three year period and used it once as a guest myself.
Unfortunately I live close to an airport and also close to the city and ferry terminals and had to stop listing myself as available because too many were contacting me.
As a host the experience was generally good to very good and my one experience as a guest was good also.
I recently met some foreign cycle tourists on the street while out walking and it turned out they were WS members and invited them to stay which they did.
I think I'll adopt this tactic in the future.
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Old 11-15-16, 06:37 PM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
I am not convinced that WarmShowers has adequate protections.
+1 - The WS host who stole from me is still on there. I complained but the WS employee who replied didn't seem to care too much. I didn't file a police report because it wasn't much. $100 in gear roughly.

Originally Posted by TDJ1776 View Post
What advice would you give to a new user? I'm not a member yet, but plan on using it when I cross the country.
Spend time building your profile. Photos etc. Don't copy and paste when writing messages. Make them personal to each WS host. Pretty much all I can think of.
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Old 11-15-16, 07:15 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Sometimes hosts have things stolen from them.
Yeah I've read some blog posts about that sort of thing. It really is sad when people abuse generosity that way. Being open, generous and trusting is the best philosophy 99.9% of the time, but I always keep my phone and wallet on me and sleep with them inside my sleeping bag. On my trip I met lots of folks on the road and enjoyed their company for a few days here and there, but sensible precautions are ..........well, just sensible.
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Old 11-15-16, 07:27 PM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Sometimes hosts have things stolen from them.
pretty amazing folks would think they can get away with that.
especially on a bicycle on a known route with limited alternates.

it's like a ****** with a fast car thinking he can outrun radio signals.
like what do you do when the authorities catch up with you?

gosh officer (bat eyelashes) how ever could that have gotten in there!
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Old 11-15-16, 08:11 PM
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Have been using WS for 8 years or so.

As a guest: Be courteous and polite. After all, you're in someone's home. Read their profile before contacting them, particularly about needing notice before hosting (some of us do) and what they can provide and what they can't. (Camping space? A bed? Laundry? Mechanical help?)

As a host: Be sensitive to the needs of your guest. Understand that they may be chatty but they may want space, or feel awkward in your home. Clean your shower, please, and be clear about what you can offer.

Everybody: Leave feedback. (It's kind of a dick move not to.) Above all, be nice.
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Old 11-15-16, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Ty0604 View Post
I've used WarmShowers on all of my tours. It's a great resource. Even if they can't host you most people can offer suggestions or another place to stay. Most host are really flexible and rarely found trouble finding a place to stay same day. If they said they didn't have space I offered to camp in their yard if they'd allow me to.

I've only had one bad experience on WarmShowers but I've stayed at over 150 WarmShowers host. A guy in Pittsburgh who stole from me. Otherwise I've made a lot of friends using WarmShowers and all the great experiences far outweigh the one negative. Some of the best food I had on my trips were from WarmShowers host.

Make sure you find out where they live before you proceed to where you think they live. I live in Beaverton, Oregon but my map pin is in Portland. I found a lot of host have it this way for privacy. Was only an issue for me once. A guy refused to give me his address unless I reached Toledo, Ohio. Only to find out I'd passed his house 10 miles back.

If you host I highly recommend getting a guestbook and having visitors sign it. Take a photo of them before they leave and paste it with their entry. Probably one of the best things I've done.

The same would all apply for Couchsurfing but I feel like CS is dying out. It's hard to get people to respond and I've pretty much stopped using it.

Hey, hey! We don't still in Pittsburgh. You should have stayed with me. Or maybe you did and I am the guy? Was it an old t-shirt? I remember a guest leaving an old t-shirt. I figured it was not worht worrying about.

I like the idea of a guest book but I don't like to impose. I used to take photos but stopped for some reason.


I think all in all my experiences were good. A couple of guests that were a bit of a pain but I am sure hosts have said the same of me.
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Old 11-15-16, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
I had a difficult exchange with the owner of WarmShowers after I googled a cyclist and discovered that he had been directly involved in brutal sexual abuse of fraternity pledges while he was pledge director. I asked the owner whether such a person should be listed and he told me that was not his job to decide.

Websites like WarmShowers are great - and I have had wonderful guests from WS and Couchsurfing - but it only takes one. The dangers are even greater for women users. There are sociopaths out there and they tend to gravitate toward link-up websites like WS, CS, Craigslisr, dating sites. I am not convinced that WarmShowers has adequate protections.

I withdrew from WarmShowers after this exchange as did a number of my friends.

Couch Surfing did a much better job at vetting people. You could become a certified host. Not sure of the exact process but I think it involved you meeting a couchsurfing rep. I never really like CS. The members are a bit odd in the US. In Italy, it was much better.
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Old 11-15-16, 09:12 PM
  #17  
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
pretty amazing folks would think they can get away with that.
especially on a bicycle on a known route with limited alternates.

it's like a ****** with a fast car thinking he can outrun radio signals.
like what do you do when the authorities catch up with you?

gosh officer (bat eyelashes) how ever could that have gotten in there!

Try to prove they stole it. They could say they packed quickly and the item wound up in their bag or some other nonsense.

I never leave guests home alone. They have a defined area in my game room and there is really nothing much there to steal aside maybe my camping gear. If they need it that badly they can have it. The of course there are my bikes in my garage but I want to see them ride two at the same time.
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Old 11-15-16, 10:08 PM
  #18  
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A couple of times my hosts were out when I arrived, but they had told me how to get in and where to shower and do laundry and to help myself to anything in the fridge. Amazingly generous and trusting. One time the host was away for the weekend, but said I could stay in the his guest house. One thing my trip dod was to renew my faith in the basic goodness of people.
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Old 11-15-16, 10:50 PM
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I've been a member on the WS site for about four years but never connected with a host until this year's ride. Stayed with two in fact. One in Glasgow, MT and the other in St. Paul, MN. It was very successful on both occasions. I have not hosted anyone myself and wonder how it might work best. The least complicated thing would be to allow camping on our property which is pretty extensive, though I'm not sure how best to facilitate that. Those folks who have stayed with a WS host who provided camping only, can you give me some tips?
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Old 11-16-16, 06:58 AM
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I'm a member and have had tourists contact me, but each time I was out of town. I did hook them up with another local host and all went well.

I travelled the country recently on my motorcycle and stayed with people that offer on a motorcycle forum similar to WS. Each of those stays and interactions were the highpoint of my (6.5 week) trip and I feel like I have made long lasting friends as well.
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Old 11-16-16, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by hilltowner View Post
...Those folks who have stayed with a WS host who provided camping only, can you give me some tips?
The main issue is the toilet. At the most basic, you could provide a private location and a shovel. If you expect or want more traffic, you can build a pit toilet/outhouse.

For the shower, I once used a pretty nice solar set up (Donn Olson's place in Dalbo, MN). A place I stayed at near Mazama, WA provided a propane tankless water heater with an outside stall (I saw some of those in Asia and South America). A garden hose on a hot day is more than welcome. A couple of gallon jugs of clean water would be fine, too.

WS has been a great experience both as a guest and host, far more often as a host. This summer we had our first US guest in quite a while. It's been great fun meeting cyclists from around the world.

Ditto the note about leaving personal feedback. We had a couple from Holland stay with us for five days, cordial and thankful while here, but the fact that they didn't leave feedback or ever contact us again kind of rankles a bit.
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Old 11-16-16, 08:20 AM
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Amazing service that will make even the most cynical cyclist see the good in humanity. I've stayed with about a dozen or so hosts from WarmShowers, and they were all incredibly gracious in their hospitality. Honestly, when I was super-fatigued halfway through my trans-US tour, the best host was the one that just showed me my room and let me space out and relax. If that wasn't the case, I usually enjoyed some nice conversation and was given a yard to pitch my tent. This was way better than using a campground seeing as it afforded us a personal shower, wi-fi (usually), electricity, etc. Simple things like using actual eating utensils and bowls were so reinvigorating.

Once we have our guest "nook" remodeled in the next few months, I'll have my home in Philadelphia listed on WarmShowers. I'm looking forward to hosting folks.
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Old 11-16-16, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
Ditto the note about leaving personal feedback. We had a couple from Holland stay with us for five days, cordial and thankful while here, but the fact that they didn't leave feedback or ever contact us again kind of rankles a bit.
YES. Common courtesy dictates that one should always leave some sort of thank you note or follow up by mail/text/anything to express gratitude.

ESPECIALLY after a five-day stay. Yeesh.
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Old 11-16-16, 11:28 AM
  #24  
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I signed up 5 years ago, planning to take a week long bike trip. I haven't done that yet.

But in the meantime I've met probably 60+ friendly people (I live on the Northern Tier). I've have 2 families of 5 stay with me, and up to 6 people in one night (2 groups of people). I've had a few quirky people stay with me and one that didn't speak English. But for the most part, I've gotten to meet some interesting people and be part of their journey.

Early on, I learned not to expect much notice. Same day... maybe a couple days before. I've had people arrive early and I just tell them to set up their tent where ever they want.

When they get there, I'm offer food, laundry, shower, water, and internet access. But always follow up with "if you need something I didn't offer, just ask". So far, we've taken a mom and 3 kids to Wal-Mart for groceries and ice cream, a lady to buy a six pack of local beer (she was from England and enjoyed trying local beers). Sometimes, people just want to be on their own and I let them be. We have a small building that I built for the kids that's perfect for cyclists to sleep in (we don't have room in our house and are clear on WS about that). We do ask if they think they'll need to come in at night.. if they do we show them were the basement toilet is and leave the house unlocked.

I've had a few people that were just so exhausted or injured that they stayed an extra day. I've had to help some people with minor bike repairs or missing gear (one girl needed dog spray).

I prefer when people contact me through the web site instead of my phone number so I can leave feedback, but some people call and that's OK. I've been doing this long enough to be comfortable with people that show up.

I'm glad I hosted before I tried to be a guest. I've learned about how other hosts work. And I've learned not to be shy about asking. People are doing this because they want to be nice, and will usually help you in anyway they can as long as you're not being greedy.
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Old 11-16-16, 12:19 PM
  #25  
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Do you tip or offer any compensation?

Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
I signed up 5 years ago, planning to take a week long bike trip. I haven't done that yet.

When they get there, I'm offer food, laundry, shower, water, and internet access. But always follow up with "if you need something I didn't offer, just ask". So far, we've taken a mom and 3 kids to Wal-Mart for groceries and ice cream, a lady to buy a six pack of local beer (she was from England and enjoyed trying local beers). Sometimes, people just want to be on their own and I let them be.
That's pretty amazing surface. Most hotels I stay at don't offer that level of surface.

So as a Guest, do you typically tip or somehow compensate the host? It is expected or even accepted by hosts?
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