Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Has anyone used Free Stay Homes (servas.org)?

Notices
Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Has anyone used Free Stay Homes (servas.org)?

Old 12-19-05, 12:09 PM
  #1  
Every day a winding road
Thread Starter
 
spinnaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 6,538

Bikes: 2005 Cannondale SR500, 2008 Trek 7.3 FX, Jamis Aurora

Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3394 Post(s)
Liked 63 Times in 46 Posts
Has anyone used Free Stay Homes (servas.org)?

Has anyone used free stay homes like at servas.org. It seems very interesting but may be difficult for many people to coordinate. An interview is needed before travel but I live in Western PA and the only interviewers are in the Eastern part of the state. Plus an interview is only good for one year. There is an interviewer in Annapolis and I should be in town in May or a sailing vacation so maybe I can squeeze it in.

Plus they require a deposit for the host list. The deposit is returned when you return the list. A very strange requirement if you ask me. What prevents you from copying the list?

Other problem that I see is flexibility. I'm sure you need to set up a stay for a specific night. That could be difficult when you are on the road.
spinnaker is offline  
Old 12-19-05, 04:22 PM
  #2  
Guest
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Mentioned: Post(s)
Tagged: Thread(s)
Quoted: Post(s)
It's a waste. I was a member of servas, and I took the lists with me to Greece and Italy. First, Greece changed the system for making phone calls about a year before, and I couldn't figure out the new system using the old phone lists. So it was a waste. Second, half the people said they couldn't host me for some reason or another. They said they could, but then when it came down to it, they actually could notl... don't say you can host if you really can't. Finally, when people say they speak english, really... they can't.

There's a network I belong to I can look for when I get home. I'll post it up here. I host many people off that network, and I suspect if people wanted to find folks to stay with, it would be easier than going through servas.

Koffee
 
Old 12-19-05, 07:59 PM
  #3  
BLM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: St Louis, Missouri
Posts: 63
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I recently tried to sign up on another site, www.warmshowers.org , but I haven't been approved. It has been about a week and a half and no one has contacted me and the username and password they gave me doesn't work. It says I am unrecognizable. So apparently I am not a good enough host, or the site really doens't work. Who knows. I thought it was a good idea and I am right by the airport. Oh well, see what happens when you try to do something nice?
BLM is offline  
Old 12-19-05, 09:53 PM
  #4  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 84
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by BLM
I recently tried to sign up on another site, www.warmshowers.org , but I haven't been approved. It has been about a week and a half and no one has contacted me and the username and password they gave me doesn't work. It says I am unrecognizable. So apparently I am not a good enough host, or the site really doens't work. Who knows. I thought it was a good idea and I am right by the airport. Oh well, see what happens when you try to do something nice?
that looks pretty sweet. it says they're not ready for the grand openeing yet, maybe that's the problem.

wish i even had a place to offer up though so i could partake in the warm showers for my tour...
mr bill is offline  
Old 12-19-05, 10:06 PM
  #5  
Guest
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Mentioned: Post(s)
Tagged: Thread(s)
Quoted: Post(s)
Here it is:

www.hospitalityclub.org

That's the site I belong to now. I gave up on Servas. I've hosted three times now, and all three were very satisfying to me. Now that I have my own apartment and I have myself all set up, I'm ready to start hosting again, which should be fun.

Koffee
 
Old 12-20-05, 12:31 AM
  #6  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 913
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanks Koffee....I have offered my spare room and food in Sacramento for bike travelers on a referral basis and have met some very nice people. This site looks good.
jimx200 is offline  
Old 12-20-05, 07:50 AM
  #7  
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 2,013
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 287 Post(s)
Liked 120 Times in 88 Posts
I had my name on the warmshowers list for a few years. I had one very nice cyclist going across the US stay with me, and I had one very weird (but not dangerous) cyclist stay with me. I also had one very bad experience with another touring cyclist (contact was not through the warmshowers list, however). I ultimately decided to remove myself from the warmshowers list after the bad and weird experiences.

I used the LAB Hospitality Homes list once myself, and someone once contacted me from that list and used my place simply to park their motor vehicle while they toured.
axolotl is offline  
Old 12-20-05, 08:01 AM
  #8  
The Improbable Bulk
 
Little Darwin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Wilkes-Barre, PA
Posts: 8,379

Bikes: Many

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 7 Times in 7 Posts
Originally Posted by BLM
I recently tried to sign up on another site, www.warmshowers.org , but I haven't been approved. It has been about a week and a half and no one has contacted me and the username and password they gave me doesn't work. It says I am unrecognizable. So apparently I am not a good enough host, or the site really doens't work. Who knows. I thought it was a good idea and I am right by the airport. Oh well, see what happens when you try to do something nice?
Be patient, it took them a few weeks to get back to me. I signed up in October or November.

I have actually been too busy to try logging in... I will later today and post whether my account works or not.
__________________
Slow Ride Cyclists of NEPA

People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Little Darwin is offline  
Old 12-20-05, 11:31 AM
  #9  
Banned.
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: ny
Posts: 1,764
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 36 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by axolotl
I had my name on the warmshowers list for a few years. I had one very nice cyclist going across the US stay with me, and I had one very weird (but not dangerous) cyclist stay with me. I also had one very bad experience with another touring cyclist (contact was not through the warmshowers list, however). I ultimately decided to remove myself from the warmshowers list after the bad and weird experiences.
.
We had a similar experience. during the time we were on the list we had about a dozen people stay with us. Most were wonderful but the last 4 just seemed to be freeloaders living off of other people. The one that tipped the scales was a mid-30ish couple who were riding across the country on a tandem, we had noted on our profile we would appreciate guests staying at most 2 nights. This couple stayed 3 nights with us and true to the concept of the warm showers list we never asked or expected anyone to help or offer a contribution, but generally in polite society most people will offer to help with a small task or at least engage in conversation about their tour. They did none of that. they kept to themselves pretty much and ate a lot. I shrugged it off as being a west coast thing.
The morning of the fourth day my wife was chatting with the woman as she was finishing her laundry and packing, My wife asked her if they had hosted anyone at their home yet. The woman replied oh no! they would never open thier home to strangers. After they left, my wife said no more.

The kicker was a month later, my phone bill had $26 in long distance calls they made to San Diego. They hung out on both the tandem and touring email list so I emailed them (off list) and asked them to please reimburse me for the calls, they emailed me back and said I never told them that they would be expected to reimburse me for phone calls and therefore they should not pay for them. I didn't pursue it any further.
Cyclist0094 is offline  
Old 12-20-05, 12:14 PM
  #10  
Guest
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Mentioned: Post(s)
Tagged: Thread(s)
Quoted: Post(s)
*sigh* That sounds horrible! I hope you wrote something up about them being so inconsiderate. I've had people from other countries stay with me, and they wouldn't even use my phone for local calls. I had to practically beg one guy to use my phone when he wanted to call Los Angeles!

Koffee
 
Old 12-20-05, 12:29 PM
  #11  
Banned.
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: ny
Posts: 1,764
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 36 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by koffee brown
*sigh* That sounds horrible! I hope you wrote something up about them being so inconsiderate. I've had people from other countries stay with me, and they wouldn't even use my phone for local calls. I had to practically beg one guy to use my phone when he wanted to call Los Angeles!

Koffee
That is the sad thing, it only takes a few inconsiderate people to really ruin what normaly is a great experince for the host. We still have cyclists stay with us we just don't advertise it on lists any longer.
Cyclist0094 is offline  
Old 12-20-05, 01:14 PM
  #12  
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 2,013
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 287 Post(s)
Liked 120 Times in 88 Posts
Originally Posted by velonomad
The kicker was a month later, my phone bill had $26 in long distance calls they made to San Diego. They hung out on both the tandem and touring email list so I emailed them (off list) and asked them to please reimburse me for the calls, they emailed me back and said I never told them that they would be expected to reimburse me for phone calls and therefore they should not pay for them. I didn't pursue it any further.
The most egregious behavior on the part of my "bad" cycling guest was making an unauthorized phone call from my home to Germany. There were some other acts of selfishness and greed on his part. It was his overall attitude that I found so offensive, however, and that was before I received my phone bill.
axolotl is offline  
Old 12-20-05, 06:55 PM
  #13  
Every day a winding road
Thread Starter
 
spinnaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 6,538

Bikes: 2005 Cannondale SR500, 2008 Trek 7.3 FX, Jamis Aurora

Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3394 Post(s)
Liked 63 Times in 46 Posts
Originally Posted by velonomad

The kicker was a month later, my phone bill had $26 in long distance calls they made to San Diego. They hung out on both the tandem and touring email list so I emailed them (off list) and asked them to please reimburse me for the calls, they emailed me back and said I never told them that they would be expected to reimburse me for phone calls and therefore they should not pay for them. I didn't pursue it any further.
It's hard to believe that people like this exist in the world. What is really sad is there is much, much worse.

It kills me that they actually responded! I think I would have been less angry with no response at all, and assuming it was a bad email address. But to respond with that answer!

My question to hosts is that do you leave the people alone at your house?
spinnaker is offline  
Old 12-20-05, 06:57 PM
  #14  
Every day a winding road
Thread Starter
 
spinnaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 6,538

Bikes: 2005 Cannondale SR500, 2008 Trek 7.3 FX, Jamis Aurora

Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3394 Post(s)
Liked 63 Times in 46 Posts
To Velonmad,

Please PM me or turn on PM so I can PM you.
spinnaker is offline  
Old 12-20-05, 07:01 PM
  #15  
Every day a winding road
Thread Starter
 
spinnaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 6,538

Bikes: 2005 Cannondale SR500, 2008 Trek 7.3 FX, Jamis Aurora

Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3394 Post(s)
Liked 63 Times in 46 Posts
Thanks for the link Koffee.

How many people are usually hosted at a home?

There will be from 2 to 4 of us traveling Italy. All males. Do we stand a chance of someone hosting us?
spinnaker is offline  
Old 12-20-05, 07:58 PM
  #16  
Guest
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Mentioned: Post(s)
Tagged: Thread(s)
Quoted: Post(s)
Originally Posted by spinnaker
Thanks for the link Koffee.

How many people are usually hosted at a home?

There will be from 2 to 4 of us traveling Italy. All males. Do we stand a chance of someone hosting us?
Maybe. Maybe not. It depends on what they specified.

I was very specific. I said not more than 3 people, with 2 people sharing one double bed, and one person sharing a single bed. That's all I had room for. I had some people with bigger groups asking me to host them and I had to say no. I also said no more than 2- 3 days. I had some people asking for a week, two weeks, etc. I had to turn those people away. I know my tolerance level for people around me. Some people just wanted someone to take them around Chicago but had places to stay. No prob either.

My thoughts- don't push it. If someone says 2 people, don't push and ask for 4 people. If someone says 2- 3 days, don't ask for 4 days or more. Be respectful. Try to be non intrusive. Be polite. Clean up after yourself. You'll be fine.

Koffee
 
Old 12-21-05, 12:07 PM
  #17  
Banned.
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: ny
Posts: 1,764
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 36 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by spinnaker

It kills me that they actually responded! I think I would have been less angry with no response at all, and assuming it was a bad email address. But to respond with that answer!
exactly! It was their responce to the email that floored me. I didn't care that much about the $26 I think I only emailed them to confirm my analyis of them.

Funny part about this is. I posted this story on the touring email list a few months after this happened (summer of 2000)I didn't mention any names, dates or descriptions other than they were from California and rode a tandem. But I almost immediately got 3 emails from other people this couple had apparently had stayed with and had similar complaints.


Originally Posted by spinnaker
My question to hosts is that do you leave the people alone at your house?
Several times we left the house unlocked for people and we were never really concerned over someone taking anything , The few bad apples we had weren't thieves just moochers.
Cyclist0094 is offline  
Old 12-23-05, 08:42 AM
  #18  
Guest
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Mentioned: Post(s)
Tagged: Thread(s)
Quoted: Post(s)
I've left people alone at my house. I give people keys so they can freely come and go. So far, nothing's taken. But I do know they're very grateful for the freedom of movement, and I'd do just about anything to make sure they were comfortable, and one of the most important things about being comfortable when you're in someone's home (in my opinion) is the ability to come and go as you please.

Koffee
 
Old 12-23-05, 05:52 PM
  #19  
BLM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: St Louis, Missouri
Posts: 63
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
For the record, Roger from warmshowers.org got back to me soon after I posted. Everything is on the up and up. We will see what happens. I am very close to one end of the Katy Trail here in Missouri, so I may be of help to someone traveling though.
BLM is offline  
Old 02-17-06, 01:19 PM
  #20  
One less car
 
Jay H's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: The Berkshires, MA
Posts: 981

Bikes: '08 Soma Groove (commuter/long distance tourer), '97 Lemond Zurich (road commuter/tourer),'01 Seven Axiom Ti, '03 Look KG381i, '01 Santa Cruz Superlite X

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I have known about Warm Showers when it was just a listserve, but I had a big problem. I didn't own a home and was living with my parents while I saved money. I just signed up for it today, I guess I'll have to wait a bit for a reply. I replied to the email sent to me as normal but I still need to be activated.

Anyway, you guys are scaring me now. I wont have a problem with the phone thing as I don't have local phone service (I use my cell phone exclusively) and right now I don't have a spare bed, but I have a lot of yard space and I have an air mattress.
I just moved here in January so I'm not completely settled anyway.

I hope all your negative experiences is not indicative of the majority of bike tourists out there. I don't do as much touring as I like to, my current passion right now is climbing big mountains, but I figured I wouldn't mind helping others cycling around and living a dream.

Jay
Jay H is offline  
Old 02-17-06, 05:17 PM
  #21  
Ihaul
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: MA
Posts: 14

Bikes: Bianci road bike, Specialized Cirrus, Fuji World

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by BLM
I recently tried to sign up on another site, www.warmshowers.org , but I haven't been approved. It has been about a week and a half and no one has contacted me and the username and password they gave me doesn't work. It says I am unrecognizable. So apparently I am not a good enough host, or the site really doens't work. Who knows. I thought it was a good idea and I am right by the airport. Oh well, see what happens when you try to do something nice?
BLM, I had to E-mail warmshowers to ask where my password was. They immediately E-mailed me back saying the the main guy would soon send me my password, activating my acct...and he did. They said that my ISP possiblly intercepted their original E-mail as SPAM. So E-mail them to ask about your status.
Ihaul is offline  
Old 02-17-06, 07:44 PM
  #22  
Banned.
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: ny
Posts: 1,764
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 36 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Jay H
I have known about Warm Showers when it was just a listserve, but I had a big problem. I didn't own a home and was living with my parents while I saved money. I just signed up for it today, I guess I'll have to wait a bit for a reply. I replied to the email sent to me as normal but I still need to be activated.

Anyway, you guys are scaring me now. I wont have a problem with the phone thing as I don't have local phone service (I use my cell phone exclusively) and right now I don't have a spare bed, but I have a lot of yard space and I have an air mattress.
I just moved here in January so I'm not completely settled anyway.

I hope all your negative experiences is not indicative of the majority of bike tourists out there. I don't do as much touring as I like to, my current passion right now is climbing big mountains, but I figured I wouldn't mind helping others cycling around and living a dream.

Jay
Bicycle tourists are like any other group, most of us are great people, but a few aren't. The 4 people who were our bad experinces weren't criminals or necessarily bad people, They were just inconsiderate. We didn't stop having touring cyclists stay with us we just stopped advertising.
Cyclist0094 is offline  
Old 02-17-06, 10:32 PM
  #23  
senile member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Taiwan
Posts: 351

Bikes: 1 mtb converted for commuting (actually, collecting dust in the garage), a LHT with "durable components"

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I used the Warm Shower List last year with great success, you don't need to go through interviews or whatever, I was a bit shocked when I first read the post. You just call or email the hosts and everything's done over the phone or email, I think that's what hospitality's about, to open to others.

I normaly bring along some chocolate or something to show my gratitude and help the hosts out if needed. They usually just gave me the key (if I'm staying more than one night) and I really appreciate that, it's all reciprocal they respected me and gave me freedom so vice versa. It's just a lack of common sense the behaviour of some and you have to be amazed by many's lack of common sense.

A poll on Warm Shower site shows that most people has never had a single guest (I'm one of them), interesting.

www.hospitalityclub.org seems nice I might join it as well.
Schumius is offline  
Old 02-18-06, 03:28 AM
  #24  
Banned
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 5,115
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 1 Post
KB (and others), you're a saint. I saw that warm showers thing, and thought "what a nice idea, maybe I could sign up and host people in my neighbour's back yard". Anything closser was pretty horible to contemplate. I'm right on a main cycling drag so I thought I was being pretty generous, but no way I'm leaving the keys.

The tandem crew would have found their bike on the lawn after day 2. What is the theory? 1 in 30 people are psycopaths. Not dangerous, just not sure why everyone around them appears to have feelings... The kind of people who practice emotional responses in the mirror. Unusual to find two of them in the one couple, I guess it was a case of true convenience at first sight.
NoReg is offline  
Old 02-18-06, 03:46 AM
  #25  
I'm made of earth!
 
becnal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Frankfurt, Germany
Posts: 2,025

Bikes: KTM Macina 5 e-bike, Babboe Curve-E cargobike, Raleigh Aspen touring/off-road hybrid.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I am a member of the warm showers list, and have had a few people stay at our place. We have a small apartment, with a sofa bed in the living room. I've only ever had single riders who were passing through sleep over, and they are usually so knackered from riding, that we just go out for a beer and some hearty German food, and by the time we get back home, they just want to sleep.

I make a big breakfast the next morning, and send them on their way. The guest isn't here much longer than 14 hours. I have had nothing but great experiences with it. www.wsl.org
becnal is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.