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Guest Behavior

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WS Member WS Member's picture
Guest Behavior

The Warmshowers organization is based on hospitality, socializing, courtesy, generosity, camaraderie and information sharing. I am an experienced Warmshowers guest, having accepted the hospitality of nearly 200 hosts in the last 4 years and each occasion was more than positive.

I just spoke to friends of my daughter in California who had had two cross country riders from the East Coast stay at their home and the experience caused the hosts to feel used and abused. The riders accepted their food, shelter, and use of laundry facilities yet hardly spoke to them at all. They headed to the bedroom and spent the majority of their time on-line before going to bed. The buffoons had no desire to get to know their hosts.

These gracious people told me they look back at the experience as very negative and stated that they would never allow a stranger to stay in their home again. I would like to say to those rude riders that an attention to manners is most important during a hosting experience. Socializing is a driving force of why most hosts want to open their homes to travelers and when they are ignored and treated with a lack of respect, you embarrass the entire organization.

If momma didn't teach you how to behave under someone else's roof, please do us all a favor and take a moment to ask just about anyone what is expected of you.

WS Member @wsadmin@'s picture
Leave feedback, leave feedback, leave feedback

Feedback is the best way to cut off problems like this - not many hosts will host people with bad feedback (or vice versa). Please encourage them to leave feedback. And if you would, please let them rant themselves. We don't need much in the way of second-hand rants. They're far less reliable.

There will always be a few bad apples; a [survey we did recently]( showed that about 90% of guests would be invited back... that's not a bad percentage!

WS Member WS Member's picture
I see this more and more.

I see this more and more. First thing they ask you about your internet connection then they are online on their smartphones or laptops all the time. And often they ask you for a stay on very short notice although I ask everybody in my profile to give me a note some days in advance. I decided to skip those guys, that's just bad company and I don't like to encourage that. They are not real leaches but no fun either ...

WS Member's picture
Hosts and Guests

We've had positive experiences with WS both as guests and hosts, save one time with a host. We contacted her with plenty of advance notice--several weeks--and she was friendly and welcoming, and a touring cyclist herself. She was still friendly when we arrived, but the room we were to stay in was an absolute pit. There was trash everywhere, dust and grime on the furniture, and huge piles of dirty clothes. We would have left except that it was about 7 pm after a very long day of cycling and we were a long way from other lodging. I actually cleaned the room because there was no way I was sleeping in that filth. Cleaned the filthy bathroom too. She had good reviews on the site. I didn't post a review because she got less friendly as the evening wore on and I feared she would start a nasty back and forth on the site.

WS Member @wsadmin@'s picture
Please leave feedback. We

Please leave feedback. We don't allow tit-for-tat feedback and will normally catch it without you even letting us know, but if you have a problem with it, let us know using the contact form and we'll work with you on it.

Unregistered anon_user's picture

This is sticky, and I'm not sure I am coming from uneasiness with a guest, or just feeling used by same. First I must say we love being hosts and we are very generous with our guests. Recently we have had a guest who has been on the road for more than a year and made the remark that he has only recently joined WS because his savings are exhausted. His plans to visit all the continental states and the experiences will be chronicled in a book.

WS Member WS Member's picture

Hey Zef:

It's a slippery slope but usually you have to go with your instincts. Your guest should have used a bit more discretion in his choice of words. We are all temperamental and sensitive to a lack of respect. That's why friendships are so fragile.

You didn't mention age. Many of our younger compatriots still believe the world revolves around them and have not begun to use their brains as yet. The more mature have learned better.

The Bio section is so important. The more information that is included, the better you can get a feel for a potential guest or host.

Recently, it occurred to me that I am more of a Traveler. I go in search of people, adventure and experience, and the Warmshowers organization is the perfect channel to satisfy this need. I contribute where I can to also make it just as enjoyable for my hosts.

On the other side of the coin, the Tourist goes 'sight-seeing'. He is more into self, and expects gratuities and interesting things to come his way.

Unregistered anon_user's picture
unfinished thought

Oh Jack,
I hadn't finished my thought...didn't realize that it would post..believing I had deleted it. I am feeling bad about judging this guy... He is over 50, and it just seemed that he was at loose ends with no money and decided to rely on the kindness of strangers (where oh where have I heard that before, Tennessee?)...which in itself isn't "bad"... I am reluctant too, to brand him on the feedback... just because this bothers me...his other feedback has been fine...
will let you know more after today...he's staying an extra night because of rain.

WS Member @wsadmin@'s picture
Homelessness and Cycle Touring

I've been thinking about the difference between cycle touring and homelessness for some years, since the first big trip I was on and a buddy, hearing some of my experiences, pointed out the similarities.

The reality is that some of the most interesting people in this community are technically "homeless", and will be for some time. It's actually an amazing thing that in our culture, cycle touring is a socially acceptable way of being homeless. Odd, but true. My wife Nancy and I were "homeless" for the 2.5 years of our big trip through the Americas. We had sold our place and had nowhere to go back to.

In the FAQ, we say that people who use hospitality on Warmshowers should be *traveling* on bicycles. And, of course, be good people. But we don't make statements about how much money they have or earn, or whether they have a home to return to. We do *not* want people just circling around a metro area getting free hospitality indefinitely from a series of hosts. But if they're traveling, and they're polite, more power to them!

-Randy Fay Webmaster

Unregistered anon_user's picture

Well...I too have been "homeless" and traveling having sold the house and been on the road... I guess I was just reacting to an antipathy I developed toward this guy...something was off. Maybe it was me and my antennae? But he's gone, and interestingly did not sign our guest book... maybe he really felt the same about us even though he gave good feedback on the website.
Anyway... after four years, only two guests have made me uneasy... a good ratio for sure.

Unregistered anon_user's picture
still puzzled, but resolute

A week has passed, and I have given this more thought. Upon looking at that guest's feedback for hosts, I could see he had stayed with 22 hosts in one month, and they were all in our State. Compare that with our latest guest...5 in 33 days..all across the Southern Tier. In spite of his friendly demeanor and impressive traveling for over a year on the road... I stand by my uneasiness with this guy.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Biggest bunch of nonsense

Biggest bunch of nonsense ever. There is a grand canyon of difference between homelessness and what some cycle tourers do. I really hope you actually understand that. There are of course homeless that bike from place top place, most of is have met them and from the outside it is sometimes hard to tell but just because you don't have somewhere to go home to doesn't make you homeless, should we put the retired rv crowd in the homeless conversation as well?

WS Member WS Member's picture
Unsent letter

To all the guests who appear from nowhere to remind us that their failure to plan along with generous deficiencies in the fields of imagination, resoucefulness, intestinal fortitude, and cash is our problem.

To all the guests who post here to pimp the crowdfunding of their penniless global travels e̶x̶p̶l̶o̶i̶t̶i̶n̶g̶ exploring the generosity of some of the poorest people in the world.

To all the guests who post here to tell us about eating dogfood and other such astounding travails in their lives of pantomime pauperism.

To all the guests who believe 'Forums > General > Website Help and Support > Wish List' is moderated by Santa Claus and not a place to provide constructive ideas to improve the site,

First of all you can always go home if the thought of becoming such a burden on others is too much for you (this is the key distinction between yourselves and the impoverished folk you come in contact with on your travels - oh, that and the fact that they are prepared to unquestioningly assist others even to their own detriment). Secondly, your experiments to test the hypothesis that its possible to travel around the world on other people's dime are redundant - mooching possibly predates prostitution as the world's oldest profession, we have all the evidence we need. Thirdly, I would just like you to know that we have endless reserves of patience, tolerance, goodwill, and almost delusional levels of optimism regarding your future participation in the community. We are WS. We are legion. We forgive. We will not be defeated.

Your sincerely,

An unknown host demoralised (but not defeated) by what he has read on these forums in the past few months.

WS Member WS Member's picture

Gee, Paul. Maybe I should forward contact info for my ex-wife. You both appear to have a similar optimistic outlook.

WS Member WS Member's picture

Gee, Paul. Maybe I should forward contact info for my ex-wife. You both appear to have a similar optimistic outlook.

WS Member WS Member's picture
I thought it was a message of

I thought it was a message of triumph and hope, the kind our neighbours to the north are fond of. Your wife is welcome to join me and my comrades in the trenches fighting for the Pessimist Liberation Front in our struggle against the tyranny of optimism that has so gripped a decadent world drunk on the illusion of omnipotence. If not we might possibly end up meeting later in a re-education camp of the Taliban of positive thinking.

Unregistered anon_user's picture
Tired and/or introverted?? Don't be boorish to your host

I agree that if you're going to accept hospitality in someone's home, you owe your hosts at least some polite and gracious interaction about yourself and/or your journey. Even a little courtesy, graciousness, friendly small talk, and "give and take" goes a long way toward encouraging more free hosting. However, when I reach "trail's end" at the end of a long day of cycling or hiking, I'm typically very thirsty, hungry, dirty and tired. Often I feel I have energy and desire only to drink, eat, wash, and go to bed. But if I felt I did not want to be around other people--either for these reasons or because I'm also introverted/quiet--I would not seek a night in someone's home but would pitch my tent far from others or disappear into a quiet motel room.

WS Member WS Member's picture
I thought warm showers was

I thought warm showers was about a warm shower and place to sleep not about the guest being a performing monkey. Seems a lot of host expect performing monkeys with out telling the cyclists first. My two stays with hosts I was made top fell extremely uncomfortable by needy hosts, I think my short visit to this world might be over,after reading this forum. Seems like a lot of hosts do not bike tour but host to be entertained and think they are owed something. Sometimes people are tired, or might have repairs to do, or maybe they just realized they don't like you but it is to late top leave, maybe you are creepy, or they do not understand that they the meal wasn't free or the place top stay that you expected them to pay for it by being the night's entertainment.

WS Member WS Member's picture
You got it right, Corbae. End your visit.

This group is not for you and it would be best for all our sakes if you stayed on your side of the tracks.

WS Member WS Member's picture
My side of the tracks?

What does that even mean? In my decades of bike touring I have met many wonderful people on the road, stayed with strangers, used people's yards all over the world. Currently at the tail end off a trip down the pcbr and have had a wonderful time, I would imagine a lot of hosts are awesome people but from reading these forums you wouldn't be able to tell.

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