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Disappointed with WarmShowers and CouchSurfing

Old 10-04-19, 08:56 AM
  #1  
jamawani 
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Disappointed with WarmShowers and CouchSurfing

Don't know if I have ever stayed with WS or CS hosts.
But I have hosted quite a few people at my home over the past few years.

What disappoints me is how unthinking some of my guests have been.
I state online and in our emails/texts that I go to bed early and get up early.
I don't expect folks to get up at 5 a.m., but sleeping in to 9 or 10 is simply rude.

Because, basically, there is a stranger or strangers in my house.
And I cannot go about my normal business until they get up.
And really, I shouldn't even have to list do's and don't's.
Like smoking.

I have been welcomed into people's homes on my many bike trips.
I have been treated well - but I always ask.
What time would you like me to arrive?
What time do you get up?

It really takes the fun out of hosting -
When you start to feel like motel help.
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Old 10-04-19, 11:30 AM
  #2  
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That is rude. I feel uncomfortable enough staying with strangers. Putting my needs/wants before those of my hosts would be unthinkable for me.

When I did ACA's group Northern Tier tour 20 years ago there was a couple in Sandpoint, ID, that would offer to host the tour every year. We were supposed to camp in the yard. Apparently, as I learned later, our leader pressured the couple to let us flop inside due to cold and wet conditions. It was a really tight fit. Come Monday their daughter had to step over people when she came downstairs to get ready to go to school. Some other issues arose during our two-day stay there, including us showing up a day earlier than our leader said we would. Yadda, yadda, yadda...The couple refused to host the tour again. How do I know? I was out that way at the same time the following year and crossed paths with the ACA group tour. Asked a participant if they were staying with the couple. He told me that because of some problems that happened the previous year the couple said no more.
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Old 10-04-19, 01:38 PM
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I've done it a few times, but I'm terribly embarrassed to impose on people. I know that they volunteer their homes and yards, but it always seems like I'm inconveniencing them.
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Old 10-04-19, 04:54 PM
  #4  
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I, We, the wife and I solved all/most these problems a host can have with strangers in their house, by using our camper as a guest house... it seems to have a 100% success rate, as everyone seemed to have loved staying in it so far for the last 5 years...
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Old 10-05-19, 05:59 AM
  #5  
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Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
What disappoints me is how unthinking some of my guests have been.
I state online and in our emails/texts that I go to bed early and get up early.
I don't expect folks to get up at 5 a.m., but sleeping in to 9 or 10 is simply rude.
I am an early riser too and I haven't had a problem with that. Do you discuss specifically what time you need them up and out in advance?

When in Maryland we had a few folks who were pretty good about staying one night, rising early when required, and so on. They were obviously on a long tour. Here in Tallahassee, I got the idea a few folks were just bouncing around town staying multiple days and moving on to the next host. I set our status to away and stopped hosting.

I never used these services much as a guest. I dislike planning ahead more than I have to. I prefer to decide where to stay when I arrive and most hosts prefer a bit of notice, so I have only used them very rarely, like when I know I will be somewhere or need someone to receive or hold a box for me or something.
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Old 10-05-19, 06:30 AM
  #6  
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I work largely from my home.
And the office is also the spare bedroom with a double futon.

I tell people that the guest room is my office.
And I tell them that I need to get started by 8:00.
But I do not tell them that they MUST be up by 7:00.

Perhaps I am too old-fashioned.
I think that most people should understand from the above info -
Without having to be given a boot-camp order.
But apparently . . .
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Old 10-05-19, 07:25 AM
  #7  
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I think what is most important when choosing to accept a guest or not, is to see if they have been vetted by other people, and if not, to make sure you're comfortable with them based on a conversation.

But in either case, it helps to be more laid back about these things. I've couch surfed a bunch, and have hosted many people from all over the world. There wasn't a single person I met that I didn't feel safe giving a key to. If I had to leave early for work, I just told them to make sure they lock the door, and gave them a place to hide the key. Maybe that's just me though.

That said, there are numerous people I've talked back and forth with and decided not to host.
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Old 10-05-19, 07:26 AM
  #8  
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I have spend many night with Warmshowers hosts. The last one ran a cafe and woke me up at 6am to accompany him there. I was a bit surprised but in 10 minutes I went from asleep to on my bike riding to the cafe. This host and his wife had 2 kids in a 1 bedroom apartment. I got the 1 bedroom and the 4 of them slept in the living room. I felt bad for being treated so special!

Since I tour solo, finding like-minded souls who will host me is one of the highlights of my trips. I always ask as much as I can about what is required of me both before I arrive and while I am there. That said, if someone had a need but didn't tell me about it, I wouldn't know about it.

One idea, if you prefer not to be so direct, is to post a notice in your office/spare room that you would like it available for work by 8am. I'd also suggest you write a standard note that you send to everyone you accept as a guest about your needs. I certainly would not be offended if someone offering me a place to stay asked that I vacate their space at a certain time.

In some way, not telling people what you need and expect is doing your guests a bit of a disservice. My guess is that most, if not all, would be happy to comply with your very reasonable requests if you make them clear. No one really wants to be seen as a discourteous or disappointing guest.
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Old 10-05-19, 08:51 AM
  #9  
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Raybo -

I think that "This is my office."
And "I need to start working at 8:00."
Is pretty darn direct info.

Some people and most dogs have selective hearing.
Or maybe it's - Some dogs and most people have selective hearing.
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Old 10-05-19, 12:27 PM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
Raybo -

I think that "This is my office."
And "I need to start working at 8:00."
Is pretty darn direct info.

Some people and most dogs have selective hearing.
Or maybe it's - Some dogs and most people have selective hearing.
John,

A much more direct thing to say would be "This is my office and you need to be out of it at 8am." Then, I would post a sign there that says the exact same thing. Then, I would simply come in at 8am, say good morning and start working.

I'd also put on your acceptance email that your guests understand that they need to vacate the room by 8am. I'd also ask them to acknowledge that they understand your house rules.

While I don't think your message is too subtle, I do think you haven't made clear to your guests what you want them to do: "Clear the room by 8am" is different then "I work here starting at 8am."

Keep in mind that people on a long bike tour, especially those who ride solo, might have entered that state of mind where reality is reduced to eating, riding, and sleeping. In such states, people might not register the difference between "I need to work here at 8am" and "I need you out of this room at 8am."
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Old 10-05-19, 01:12 PM
  #11  
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I hear you Raybo.
But if I have to bark out orders like a drill sergeant,
and have a 17-page contract like a Hollywood pre-nup,
then I'm not so sure I want to host.
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Old 10-05-19, 01:34 PM
  #12  
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Jama, I thought you were no longer hosting, at least on WS. If so, you are not listed as available, now at least. Anyway, I totally agree with you about people not respecting your rules. I guess I make myself abundantly clear if I need them gone by a certain time before they even arrive, i.e. "I have to leave at 8:00am, so if you want to stay, you MUST be out of here by 7:55am" and then I reiterate that when they arrive. Course I say it as I am giving them a beer when they arrive.

Thanks BTW, for hosting my car when I toured in your area. Best, John
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Old 10-05-19, 05:19 PM
  #13  
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TJ - I used to do both but bagged WarmShowers after a difficult encounter with the website owner.
A guy was coming thru and when I Googled him there were news articles reporting
he had pled a lesser charge involving sexual assault during a fraternity hazing.
When I contacted the website owner and questioned whether this guy should be using WarmShowers.
the owner said it was the responsibiity of the host to check up on any guests.
That WarmShowers wasn't in the vetting business.
I found his response absolutely unacceptable and dropped out.
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Old 10-06-19, 06:55 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
I hear you Raybo.
But if I have to bark out orders like a drill sergeant,
and have a 17-page contract like a Hollywood pre-nup,
then I'm not so sure I want to host.
I was cycling with a couple of girls in South America and as we were separating they were looking for hosts in a city I was not going to. One of the people they found had the longest list of rules I've ever seen, all of which he required guests to acknowledge they had read completely and accepted fully before he would agree to let them stay. Some of them were as simple as guests agree to take a shower each day that they stay. At first I thought it was a bit overboard, but I'm trying to learn to give people the benefit of the doubt and eventually I realized he must have had some really horrible experiences to need to tell people in advance that, for example, he expects them to maintain their own hygiene.

I have not hosted but I can understand how you don't want to have to make it weird for them or for you by being overboard with your rules and expectations, but if you don't make things explicitly clear, you get people taking advantage of the situation. It's a tough spot to be in.
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Old 10-06-19, 07:16 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
I
and have a 17-page contract


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Old 10-06-19, 08:05 AM
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Yeah, but Sheldon is soooooo compulsive, no?
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Old 10-06-19, 08:12 AM
  #17  
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Well, well, well.

5th CS guest since I got back from my bike tour in late August.
5th time I am debating whether to holler out, "Time to get up!"
5th time I explained clearly in writing before and in person that I got up early
and that I needed them to get up reasonably early.
Specifically stated that it was my office and they had to be out by 8.

I do not understand.
But I have clicked "Not Accepting Guests" on my CS page.
Just don't feel like negotiating in my own home.
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Old 10-06-19, 01:12 PM
  #18  
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Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
Well, well, well.

5th CS guest since I got back from my bike tour in late August.
5th time I am debating whether to holler out, "Time to get up!".
When I was a teenager, we had friends who would have us up for weekends at their ski lodge. They were German, and there was no hollering (unless you were winning at cards), but instead, Gerhart would play German marching band music at volume 11. We always knew he meant business at that point, and if you wanted a ride to the slopes, you better get your butt in gear.
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Old 10-06-19, 09:37 PM
  #19  
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That really sucks that people are so ****ty. If someone is letting you stay in their home, the Least you should do is put in the effort to make sure you aren't being an inconvenience and rude. There's no shortage of *******s...
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Old 10-07-19, 06:34 AM
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I hosted for a few years on WS and used the service just once myself. We were pretty popular as we live close to an international airport. My experience as a host was 'round 95% positive. The 5% that wasn't were minor niggles like one or two monosyllabic guests and a young American couple who overstayed by a day without asking.
I stopped because I'm getting older and appreciate my privacy more now.
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Old 10-07-19, 06:49 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
But I have clicked "Not Accepting Guests" on my CS page.
Just don't feel like negotiating in my own home.
I can't blame you. If guests continuously fail to meet reasonable expectations that is a reasonable response.

If, you were ever to decide to try again... Maybe offering a choice between camping in the yard and definitely being out by 7:30 AM would get them moving in the morning.

You must be on a busy route with not too many hosts to get that many guests.
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Old 10-07-19, 09:03 PM
  #22  
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I've thought about both sides of the proverbial coin - staying at hosts' places and hosting myself, but the position the OP is in is what turns me off for the most part - more so on hosting myself, but partially looking for a place to stay (in the perspective of being a stranger in a host's home).

One of the best parts of riding, for me, is the people I meet on my rides, though. I've had some interesting conversations with other riders, and non-riders of all ages. From a touring perspective and potentially a place to stay I'd rather one of those local encounters with people turn in to an opportunity to couch-surf, shower, or camp in a yard. There is a saying that "you don't get a second chance at a first impression" - when you meet people in person from the start its a lot more personable of an interaction than a "reservation".

I understand the community aspect of riding, and I'll even throw out there backpacking. Those of us that travel by our own power tend to respect others that are equally traveling by their own power. So lending a hand to riders (and/or backpackers) is natural for a lot of us. The unfortunate thing, though, is not everyone in this world is as like-minded and there are some that will use, abuse, and take advantage of. However small of a percentage as that is it still sucks the energy out of catering to the crowds we want to cater to.

Just a thought - the guy that had the felony in college might have just royally screwed up back then. That shouldn't be a life-sentence for him. Perhaps it was a lesson. How do you know he didn't hit hard times out of that experience and has found new freedom, life, and energy in cycling? There's probably a lot of us that can relate to that, in some capacity. How many things have people done that don't get reported? Just because you pass judgement on a documented record doesn't mean there aren't worse-behaved people out there that would go under your radar. I don't say that to stir any pots, just being practical. It just may not be a fair shake to pass judgement on someone from a past record/experience. There could be a lot more to that story, and maybe a more recent timeline, that could speak to more of the judgement that was passed and you certainly are entitled to make a decision in some fashion.
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Old 10-08-19, 10:34 AM
  #23  
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The problem is that the felon may have made a singe mistake and paid for it, or could have lived a life of crime, but was convicted only once. No way to know for sure. I tend to err on the side of caution, and assume people are untrustworthy until proven otherwise.
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Old 10-08-19, 01:34 PM
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I've read journals where people plan their entire (or large portions) tour around Warmshowers stays, as if they were Pony Express stations. It just seems wrong to utilize this network in that way. I like Warmshowers as a grass roots effort and occasionally contribute to their site but I personally would never stay with a listed host I know nothing about. I prefer solitude and rest to story telling and nights spent in some craft beer joint or mexican restaurant. This summer was spent on tour and my WS app never did function, they deleted my login information, and I never got to look up nearby hosts and their bios, something I like doing just for fun. I did run into two hosts by chance. The first announced he was the top #1 host in town before proceeding with directions to his house. He was beside himself when I said I'd rather camp in the woods. The second was some freak in a pickup plastered with Bible quotations all over. Granted, these are extreme cases but it just reinforces my hesitation about staying with folks I never met.


I imagine it would be even worse as a host, with some odd or annoying guest moving on in. I echo the already mentioned sentiment that actually meeting someone and then deciding to spend the night seems more practical.
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Old 10-09-19, 04:29 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by zweitesmal2 View Post
I've read journals where people plan their entire (or large portions) tour around Warmshowers stays, as if they were Pony Express stations. It just seems wrong to utilize this network in that way.
I don't know that it is wrong. WS and CS may have been intended to be used that way, not sure. I agree that it isn't the way I'd use them if I was to use them more than the few very rare times that I have.

I have really enjoyed the hospitality I have encountered on the road, but have generally either found it by chance here and there or once and a while met someone I either actually knew in person or from online.
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