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Guests arrive empty-handed ?

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Guests arrive empty-handed ?

When I am a Guest, I don't assume that my Host will feed me, even once. I always have enough food to feed myself, and I try to bring some useful food item for the common table : I prefer quality bread or fresh fruit, as a safe choice, and a good fall back in case the Host has no food for either me, or even for themselves !

My last four guests ( at least) have never brought anything like that. Most are arriving at very short notice ( my Profile accepts this !) and most stay for several days, yet they never seem to think they should make any contribution to the household eg doing some of the extra dishwashing they create, preferably *without* being asked.

I have read - somewhere on these Forums - that in many "jurisdictions", it's common to "...bring a beer or two ..". I'd say in general here in Australia, at least, it's common to make an offering ( of some sort) when accepting an invitation to eat , let alone *stay* ... the more so when you are arriving at short notice, and expecting to stay more than just one night.

Now, I realise there are countries where it is POOR manners to bring any food or drink to a Host. Australia is NOT such a country, however.

Have I just been unlucky with my Guests ? Do other Guests feel any need to arrive with some gesture of collaboration with the Host's needs ?

FWIW : On a long tour, I carry a supply of home made gifts for my Hosts, in addition to any food I will bring on the day...

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Food is not that expensive,

Food is not that expensive, hosts mainly can afford feeding you ;-)
At least that what I think as a host. Helping do dishes if you can, however, is a good thing to do.

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Hi bicyclefish, maybe write

Hi bicyclefish, maybe write on your profile 'bring a plate/food to share." I wouldn't expect guest to feed me. Nice if they offer, but not expected. Neither do I expect a gift, but likewise nice if offered though. All the best.

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quoting from the FAQ ...

I thought I had read this somewhere ...

"..Show your appreciation by contributing to shared meals with food stuffs, a special beverage, cleaning up, and the like. ..." that's from our own FAQ, and that's all i ever expect of a Guest.

I rarely get it tho ..

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True

Hey Bicycle fish

I think the same, and have had a few who do nothing but take, and don't even bother to leave a comment.

We've had enquiries about guests coming who wanted to use the washing machine and do internet. When informed that we live rural on alternative power and would have limited power if it'd been cloudy for a few days, never heard from them again. They were also informed that we didn't have a landline and internet was not available.

I think many just use the facilities as a flop house and hosts need to read between the lines and even contact previous hosts. Many just join up before travelling.
Another instance was a cyclist had given our details to another cyclist who was not in WS but heard we took cyclist in. Well you can guess our response.

I do like your details as a host and will take some of that on board.

The comment before states Food is not that expensive
"If that was the case, why not bring some"
I understand about carrying food on a bike is difficult, but before hitting a hosts house why not buy up, especially if wanting to stay a few days. Even a bottle of wine would do.

I'm in the process of building a self contained hut where guests and wwoofers can stay and would be looking for 3 hours labour time if staying for more than a day.

We are now also in the process of going to Europe and have changed our details stating we are house trained and rarely come empty handed. I think a small price to pay for a safe place to sleep.

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I thought the whole point of

I thought the whole point of WS was paying back by giving other cyclists on the road
a place to sleep, bathe, wash clothes and perhaps eat? As in charging it to the karma account. Just me..? My dad..?

Not that I would mind giving a host a hand with chores.

But if its a condition that I have to come bearing gifts at least state it clearly
in your contact info so I know.

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This

That's what I thought too and I'm sure there are many other WS members who feel the same. If I came across anyone expecting payment or labour in return for their 'hospitality' on WS I would just pass the info along to admin.

WS ≠ WWOOF

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Rethink thoughts

"Come bearing gifts" sounds like something you want to know, Mikael. Don't you suppose that "not coming with anything" is something hosts would like to know? Especially since the WS ground rules make expectations clear.

Mikael, your stay in our town would be a day's good memory. For us, especially at this time of year, it is cyclists coming through pretty nearly daily. Food costs are not inconsequential at all -- and when cyclists expect that, it means we can host less on a pretty modest food budget that normally doesn't include too many things that cyclists want to eat.

The point of the post, like others, is that "perhaps eat" too often means "demands eat", and "sleep" very often comes with upscale expectations some of our town's hosts have and others do not. It is unfortunate that as we've posted the rules on these things in our profile we've had many, many fewer guests. Seems that without the free food expectation, lots of people are much less interested.

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I guess my point would be to

I guess my point would be to be clear in your contact info and that prospective guests make sure they read it properly. This way both parties are hopefully on the same wavelength and you won't have disappointments.

If someone then contacts you and sound like they expect to be waited on hand and foot, you can politely turn them away.

My basic expectations would be a bath (also for the hosts sake as touring cyclists tend to smell after a long day's ride) and a place to put up my tent for the night. Then I'm happy.
The rest is up to the host. And its here I think putting it in the contact info would be helpful.
(And here I mean all of us.)

As for helping out a host with chores and stuff, sure. I'm a guest and you're taking the trouble of hosting me. But again this will probably be different with other hosts.
So make it as clear as possible in the contact info. I hope I have in mine. If not, its free to ask me. :)

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Rethinking thoughts

I think we're mixing apples and oranges, although both are worthy. Regarding labor, if someone wants that a la hostel performance, that's not unreasonable I suppose, although I've not run across it myself. But you are right -- that would have to be made clear in the profile. But there is a large difference between 'labor' and 'cleaning up after one's self' -- a reasonable standard of common courtesy that some cyclists equate with hard labor under Stalin. If a bed was used, make it -- nicer than it was found. If the dog traveling with you crapped in the room, don't say 'sorry' and leave, as we' have had happen. Generally, leave the place a wee bit better than it was found and the program will grow and thrive.

Food, different story. There is a box to check on the profile, and there are established rules. No host should have to explain more than that unless it deviates from those guidelines. Most cyclists ignore the blueprint, and are seemingly miffed at hosts for their own oversight.

I think that 99% of hosts would not consider these standards 'waiting on someone hand and foot.' Unfortunately, cyclists, pretty exclusively young cyclists, too often see it differently. For that, in our town anyway, guest options have been restricted considerably. This probably isn't fair to those who have come through thereafter, but it was travelers who precede them that have defined the standard.

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Guest Manners

I don't ever expect guests to bring anything except a responsible and appreciative attitude. It always disappoints me to hear about the number of cyclists who call to arrange an overnight stay and then never show up or let their hosts know they're not coming afterall. Sometimes, hosts have taken time off work to accommodate their guests and have planned a nutritious meal for them. Their can be no excuse for thoughtlessness and bad manners. It's important for hosts to be frank in their feedback about guests, as a minority of immature and ungrateful cyclists are just bumming their way across county.

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Bicycle Guests

My view as a host is to offer everything I can to a traveling cyclist to comfort and provide a place of refuge. I automatically assume that they are someone of high caliber unless shown otherwise. That is my idea of being hospitable, but obviously not everyone feels that way.

As a visitor on a bike tour, I always try to bring fruit from a roadside vendor or a bottle of wine or treats for the kids. But many times I am remiss. It is usually due to outside forces, such as I am arriving in a storm and later than expected, or I have depended upon the town before their home having a grocery store where there is none, or I've had so many flats that day, I didn't think of it.

Putting the shoe on the other foot, I find it odd when hosts answer my communications with just a single word or two and do not mention any plans or expectations. I would never ask if they plan to feed me so I assume this to mean I should stop to eat before I arrive ( I'm constantly ravenous). But then when I get there they have been waiting dinner for me. To be polite, I apologize profusely and end up stuffing myself.

Food is always welcome since a rider is ever hungry, but a host should not feel pressured to provide meals. The degree of hospitality offered is strictly up to a host. At times I have had a host offer to locate a place for me to camp and I am not able to meet them in person. At the other end of the scale, hosts have given parties in my honor to be attended by their friends and half the neighborhood.

But it did dawn on me during my last ride that when joining together for a meal was not offered, I barely got to know my hosts. It felt awkward. And they didn't learn anything about me. That most significant part of hosting had been omitted, breaking bread.

A Host location is an oasis for a road-weary rider to enjoy a shower (priority) and possibly a lumpy couch, or a safe patch of grass upon which one can pitch a tent after a long day.
Yet the most important function of Hosting is social. A bicycle tour is not just about beautiful sunsets and wonderful vistas. I have experienced many awe inspiring sights but learned right away that the major enjoyment of my rides are the like-minded people and hosts met along the way. Residents are the cultural reflection of a area and making new acquaintances and friendships is such an enriching experience, so much better than camping in a park and/or meeting no one while there. That is just passing through. We grow through interaction, not isolation.

One should always offer to do dishes and help around the house, bring one's own wash soap, and strip the bed in the morning. Being aware of things that need to be done is much appreciated by a host.

Hosts have to remain flexible and remember that we are traveling by bike and communications can be blocked for long periods of time. If it works, it works. Yet there is no excuse for those bozos who leave a host with the feeling that they have been taken advantage of. Age may have something to do with it. The very young riders still have that expectation of being taken care of by mama and their minds may be elsewhere. They are looking for the best deal. As we mature, we hopefully realize that that is not appropriate.

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Absolutely

Absolutely agree with Jack Day. When expectations are clear, everything runs much more smoothly. We always tell our guests that we like to prepare a meal when they arrive, and roughly what time we eat (with the proviso that we understand that s^&t happens so if they're late, not to worry). Regarding bringing something to share, it is always appreciated, but I have found that general attitude matters more. I would rather have a guest who is helpful around the house, polite and has great stories but doesn't bring a gift than someone who brings a bottle of wine but treats our home like a free hotel. As a host, it's about the exchange and the attitude, rather than expecting anything in return.

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Guest / food / host

My profile clearly states that I enjoy and therefore expect to feed my guests. I even prompt that they share with me what they are hungry for, or if they simply do not care for something. It makes me no difference what I fix, got to eat myself and as a bachelor I tend to eat better when I have a reason to fix a real meal.

As for guests bringing something, I expect nothing. Space is tight, and some things do not travel well. I do not have alcohol in my home
but do not object if someone brings a something to drink for themselves.

I have been given a token gift or two, one being a silk hanky from China with a panda.
It amazed me that a young man would set out with something in mind to give a host half way around the world.

The one thing I do ask is that they leave feedback for me on Warmshowers it cost them nothing but adds to the whole website which folks can use with confidence.

A few others have stated, communication is the key, as a guest give an estimate on arrival time and firm up as the day progresses. As a host state in your profile what you provide
and anything else you want a potential guest to know. And all will work out, with any hiccups ending up being fun stories to share with the next traveler.

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Having guests

Maybe we've just had a bad run of guests who never left reviews after feeding, cleaning up after them, and doing the washing.

One never even bothered to put his dishes to the sink. Just stood up and walked away after a big meal.
Many guests to prefer to stay longer.
Would that mean we were to carry on like this what whatever time they decided to stay?

The 3 hour labour thing would never be expected if someone stayed a day or 2. But lets says someone stayed and found a job, and needed a place to hang for a few months.

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Guest Behavior

Wow Wendy,

That is a terrible litany. I might expect something like that from a Couchsurfer but not a Warmshowers member.

A rude guest is one you do not invite back. I stayed with one woman who was very organized. She worked a lot so she left a list for her guests. How to run the washer, the password for wifi, ...that sort of thing. But she also included her expectations with that list. The guest was to cleanup after themselves, etc.

I was not offended by the list, it was describing normal manners to me. I would think the more mature in age, the more behaved the guest would act.

I have 94 ride days coming up on my travels this summer. I'm really looking forward to meeting my hosts!

Jack

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I only host, mostly due to

I only host, mostly due to family so touring is not an option right now.
But, we have been blessed with great guests, I'll admit that none have brought food to our home when they came, but all but one came with a plane (first stop on tour or a connecting flight).
Everyone has helped out, and everyone has been great with kids (big plus and almost a requirement for us with small kids).

That said, I live in Sweden right now, and I don't expect them to bring anything either, as I usually have weekend guests, and my wife is home with the kids, I offer the food, it's not a big expense for use (we have to cook for 5 no matter what) and I enjoy the extra people by the table.

I actually had to tell guests to relax and not stress with the helping a few times, since I like to get things done, and nobody knows where things go anywhere, but dishes (filling dishwasher) is something I like that they do :)

I hope the guests keep the quality we had so far, we plan on hosting many many more in the coming time!

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Hi Ole, I enjoyed your

Hi Ole,
I enjoyed your comments !

Should you visit Switzerland with your whole family, please be my guest in Geneva !

cheers,
Coco

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Thanks! We have a lot of

Thanks!

We have a lot of offers to come visit, we can soon go visit a lot of Europe, Australia and USA with our offers, it's one of the great things about hosting, new friends! (we try to keep in touch with our guests as much as possible, facebook, blogs, emails, even letters from some!)

I would love to take the family touring, but our kids are so small it might be difficult!
Next year I plan to go for a week(end) with my eldest daughter (she will be 4.5 years)
Who knows where we will end up!

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Do not hesitate to come to my

Do not hesitate to come to my home Ole !

Unsure if I will have time to tour you around Geneva but certainly, you will enjoy my large appartment.

Regarding your daughter, do not worry, as you know, Switzerland is not Swaziland.
We have a small hospital 10 min walk.... and one huge at 15 min drive ...

Most of the time I am alone since my wife works in China ...
Take advantage because, most probably, I will have to rent or sell my appartement ...

Kids are welcomed !

Coco

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Thanks again, the problem

Thanks again, the problem will be bringing bikes for now, my wife just started and I'm unsure of how long we could travel with the kids, but if do travel around Europe without bikes we might still say hi :)

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I wouldn't expect guests to

I wouldn't expect guests to bring anything either. If they stay for more than one night then I would consider it courteous to bring something on the latter nights but again, not expected. So long as guests offer to help out we're happy although we generally prefer to refuse the help and allow our guests to relax but this is more down to the the small nature of our kitchen area!

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Everything has been said...

I guess everything has already been said...

I do not expect anything from my guests except showing common manners and providing some feedback afterwards. They do not need to bring anything since their presence is already a gift. Meeting those people and being able to be there for them adds value to life. That is what this network is for (more generic that is what we are on this world for): just being there for each other without necessarily getting something in return! The only thing to get in return is being hosted as you host your guests once you are travelling yourselves...

I agree with one of the writers that the least we may expect is that a guest leaves some feedback. Those who don't do this are more likely to be in the category of those who just want to profit, but even then we need to accept. Of course staying with a host taking a shower and getting a bed and food is cheap and easy, but it is also safe and social and again it is not only a benefit for them: Being host is a choice, so apparently having guests around is also a benefit for you...

So far, all my guests stayed only for one night (and I guess that is very normal for cyclists travelling around; you cannot stay multiple days at each host). All of them showed good manners and always showed willingness to help (clean the table, bringing stuff to the kitchen, willing to do the dishes (but we have a machine)). Let them, but besides that I just want them to relax and enjoy, feel welcome and allow them to regain new energy for the next day.

If someone would like to stay longer I can imagine that there will be other interactions than just talking and/or sharing stories/experiences, like preparing dinner together, doing the dishes together or they may offer you a cup of coffee or an ice cream if you go out, but still I would not expect them to bring anything, if they do: fine. A 'thank you very much' is enough...

Bottom line: be a host as you want it, otherwise don't. Be clear on what you offer and eventually add some information to your profile to set expectations. Bear with me that it is not a problem to only offer a safe place for a tent, because this is most often the primarily thing a cyclist travelling around needs. But please remind that having dinner and breakfast together is crucial in social contact, e.g. is giving a total different dimension to being a WS-host. Without this, hosting will be much different. More like me just asking someone along the road whether I can put my tent up (also fine, but clearly something else)...

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If they are not shy, you should not be shy neither

From where were they ?

most probably from Switzerland ! :-)

Do you know How a Swiss say I love you to a girl ?
I invite you for a coffee and I will pay

:-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)

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Do not do to others, ...

If only ALL follow this basic rule in life :

Do not do to others what you don't want to be done to you

there would be no war !

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I was informed by a recent

I was informed by a recent guest that those who travel with just a 'smart' phone (no laptop or tablet computer) are unable to post feedback through the mobile app.
I haven't checked on this here at WS, but if that's the case, then I can understand why I may not have gotten any feedback from some of the guests I've hosted… they're still on the road!

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It's true that you can't

It's true that you can't leave feedback directly from any of the mobile apps (yet) but it's easy to just use the website with the browser on any mobile phone. I myself am traveling and used the browser on my android phone to leave feedback for two hosts just this week.

-Randy
Warmshowers.org webmaster

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empty hands

I am a cyclist on a long America tour and so generally I have been a guest rather than a host (although I did host quite a few cyclists during an extended stay in Panama).

I pretty much always arrive at a host's place empty handed but with plenty of goodwill and desire to share whether through conversation, meals or other activities.

I don't bring a gift because, in the first place, it's really hard to know, sight unseen, what particular hosts might like, and in the second place, it is often logistically hard to arrange.

I always offer to help with cooking and offer to do dishes. If I stay for more than a night and I feel that people will enjoy my efforts I will shop and offer to cook a meal. I do generally assume that hosts want to share meals and feel pretty awkward in situations where that is not the case but I do understand that there is no obligation for the hosts to do.

I like to see the guest/host exchange in less material terms than Bicycle Fish seems to. It would never occur to me to work out what hosting someone had cost me in monetary terms.