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I have had three different guests. All very nice. The thing I like the most is just talking about touring. I like to hear the best/ worst places to ride. Great places to visit by bike. Interesting stories from a long the way.
I had one guest, who I ran across on the road and invited back because it was getting dark and he was without a place for the night, who taught my son guitar theory. I give him a meal, shower and warm bed, and he give my so a $50 guitar lesson.
If you go into someone's home and be friendly and courteous, then that should be enough.
Having just hosted my first guest i learned a couple of things. Agree on how long the guest will be staying. Discuss eating arrangments. For us this became a bit expensive. I am happy to share to a degree. And please to those that stay with a host. Say thank you or in some way let the hosts know the time energy and effort are appreciated or helpfull. I find the last the most important and the key missing ingredient. The first two I see as my bad for poor communication.
I can only tell you my experiences as a host. I am more than willing to host but my wife is a little more reluctant. She would be won over by an offer of say, even just a loaf of brown bread or an offer to help wash up etc. She always cooks, we pick up cyclists by car who struggle up the big hill we live on, and they get a clean bed and breakfast and usually dinner. Sandwiches too for their onward journey if they want them (& we like the visitor concerned). We would actually feel more inclined to offer more if we like the attitude of the visitors who come here. We have had one or two guests who made no effort whatsoever and treat us like we are a hotel. On the other hand we have had a few absolutely brilliant guests who we didn't wish to go! Personally, if I was visiting I would take a small gift, offer to help out and only accept what is on offer,the gift is not important, but the gesture of reciprocation is.
How much would it cost you to stay a night in a B&B or hotel here? At the very least €25, up to €40+ in some tourist places I expect. We are not in it for gifts or money, and we are only hosting and not visiting the homes of others at the moment, but depending on the behaviour of future guests we may withdraw our hosting. Also you will not get good reviews on the site which would help you in your future travels! This is just based on our experiences so far.
Depends for me on how long guests stay. If just for a night or two, a thankyou is enough. If (as recently) guests stay for 5-6 days, it is much appreciated if the guest can buy some milk / bread (as we share all our food with guests!) or offer to cook us a meal.
A simple post card at the end of your journey back to your respective hosts is greatly appreciated. Probably not too much to ask?
I have hosted many touring cyclists, both through Warmshowers and Couchsurfing. There is no obligation to reciprocate other than being a good guest. Money is certainly not expected or desired. The best thing that you can do is bring stories of your trip, pet the dog and enjoy your stay. Don't feel obligated to give back something tangible or monetary. Those that host are looking to meet new people and hear about their travels, share a love of bicycles and other countries. That is the true joy of being a host.
I love to ride, it is as simple as that. The one thing that I would appreciate in return is the opportunity to meet who I am hosting somewhere on their way in towards my home and ride in with them. This gives me the enjoyment of riding with someone which I truly do love and it comforts me knowing that my guests will come in to my home on the safest and most bicycle friendly route. I also need, would not simply like to know but need to know, the particulars of the stay as in number of days, individuals, bicycles, etc.
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