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-   -   Disappointed with WarmShowers and CouchSurfing (https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=1185033)

3speed 10-09-19 12:23 PM

Warm showers is pretty great if you like to check out cities. If you were doing a tour of a very populated area, I could see stringing together multiple hosts every night.

I used WS in Seattle and San Fransisco at the start and end of a coast trip. It would be tough to find camping in those areas that isn't just staying with some homeless folks under a bridge... I do prefer setting up a tent in a back yard vs. staying in someone's home, though. I'm totally up for hanging out with someone in their house and having a beer and chatting, but I don't like the parts around bedtime or the morning. Every home has it's own schedule.

J.Higgins 10-09-19 02:46 PM


Originally Posted by 3speed (Post 21156752)
I do prefer setting up a tent in a back yard vs. staying in someone's home, though. I'm totally up for hanging out with someone in their house and having a beer and chatting, but I don't like the parts around bedtime or the morning. Every home has it's own schedule.

This resonates with me 100%. The bedtimes and the mornings always make me feel awkward.

axolotl 10-09-19 06:02 PM

Since Warmshowers instituted "feedback" for both guests & hosts, I have had 100% positive experiences. In fact, I would describe most of my hosting as extremely positive. Most of my experience has been as a host. My 4 experiences as a guest were all very positive, and one of those was fantastic. I've had 3 guests this year, a cycling pair and a solo cyclist. All were fantastic guests. There were respectful, extremely neat, appreciative, fun, and simply a pleasure to get to know. I recognized that all were traveling on very tight budgets. The couple stayed with me for 3 nights (I think the longest any Warmshowers guests have stayed with me), the solo cyclists for 2 nights. They weren't lounging around; they were seeing the sights in Washington, DC. Most of my guests stay for 2 nights and I appreciate when they ask to stay for 2 nights in their original request. The couple was mainly staying with Warmshowers hosts with some camping. They definitely were picking their specific route in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic USA based on where they could find hosts. I see no problem with that other than I think that parts of their route would have been more enjoyable if they hadn't relied as much on finding hosts. The solo guy was mainly camping and only occasionally staying with hosts.

It looks like there are well over 100 Warmshowers hosts in the DC Metro area, maybe even 200. Yet the number who have any feedback is quite small. The couple told me that they contacted 6 potential hosts in the DC area. I was the first who responded positively (and possibly the only one who said "yes"). They contacted potential hosts because they had good response rates and feedback, which I can't blame them for doing. The solo guy told me that he contacted 4 potential hosts in the DC area and I was the only one who said "yes". I didn't ask him how he selected the 4 potential hosts.

Several years ago, I started to get hosting requests from people who weren't cycling. I always refuse those requests. I got one really strange hosting request from someone who had just joined that day. It was the middle of winter and she didn't specify any date. She wasn't biking. And she (at least she claimed to be female) had an obviously fake name and no photo.

I always check someone's feedback, but I have never refused anyone because of their feedback (no request came from someone with bad feedback), or because they had no feedback.

ricrunner 10-10-19 02:42 AM

I have hosted 3 times in the last 3 years to cyclotourists, but am not on WS or CS. I have a notice on a 3 boards for cyclotourists only, on the main route that they tourer on , which is known as the inland route, but I am a fair way off the inland route as well. In the first case, had a 96 yo guy, whom I had been conversing on ****** with, and he had just come back from a 5 year world tour, so I offered him a place, for as long as he wanted, but he only stayed a night. We got on real well, and on his return early this year from a 2 year Aussie tour, he stayed for a week, and wanted to pay me for all costs, which I did not except, I was happy with his company. Then a few months after his visit, I had a couple for 2 nights from Germany, a bit standoffish, but quite nice. And then another single, a lady with a small dog, and as I tour with my own dog, she stayed for 2 nights, she actually needed a good rest and slept most of those 2 days. These guests, were excellent, and I will keep on doing it. I personally don't use WS or CS, as I prefer to camp on my own, and do like my own company on my trips. Sure I intermingle, with other tourers, now and again, but being just with myself and my dog, I look forward to that aspect of the trips.

staehpj1 10-10-19 04:37 AM

On another note... I see the two services WS and CS being named kind of interchangeably here. I have actually not used CS or heard of many cyclists using CS. My understanding is that the cultures if the two are pretty different and that CS is not as suited to bike touring. I have no experience to know if that is true. Can anyone comment on that?

BTW, I got that impression staying with a ws host who had a brother who was a cs host and discussing it with both of them.

ricrunner 10-10-19 04:40 AM

What is Couch Surfing all about?, I don't follow, this type of accomm.

staehpj1 10-10-19 04:56 AM


Originally Posted by ricrunner (Post 21157612)
What is Couch Surfing all about?, I don't follow, this type of accomm.

I was hoping someone could clarify what the cs vibe is. It is in some ways similar to warmshowers, but with no cycling connection. My understanding is that cs sells itself with more of a social networking angle.

If I remember correctly the cs host of the two brothers mentioned that the hosts in his town got together for social dinners at each other's homes. I got the impression that they were pretty posh.

3speed 10-10-19 12:39 PM

I have No experience with couch surfing personally, but from what I've read, the guests tend to be pretty all over the board. You might get someone great who's traveling from Europe and making their way around the US. You might get some unshowered hippy who's just traveling just because he doesn't like to work to maintain an income and place to stay, and who you can't leave alone for two seconds because he'll probably smoke a bowl in your living room and not understand why that's not OK. It seems to be all over the board from what I've read. I've also read that there have been problems with hosts trying to get girls drunk and pressure them into sex. It seems like it's probably something that started out as a good idea, but due to complete lack of monitoring, became a potential **** show.

raybo 10-10-19 04:15 PM

I used Couchsurfing (CS) long before warmshowers came on the scene. I've even stayed with the mother of one of the founders! Before couchsurfing, I used something called Hospitality Exchange.

There are a couple differences between CS and warmshowers. The obvious one is that warmshowers consists mostly of bike tourists. So, the hosts have a very good idea what bike touring is all about and what kinds of things a bike tourist might want to have. This is a huge plus.

A second difference I find is that warmshowers hosts tend to be more responsive that CS hosts. Much of this has to do with warmshowers purging of members if they aren't active once a year. CS keeps people in their listings for ever, as far as I can tell. While it might take 3 or 4 warmshowers hosts to find a place to stay, it may take a dozen CS hosts before you even get a response.

CS hosts tend to be younger people with small accommodations. I've slept on floors, couches, in RVs, and, once, in a shared bed. These days, I only look on CS for people with separate rooms available and look for hosts over 30.

Warmshowers assumes people will spend one night and move on. CS hosts often bristle at guests who only want to spend one night.

When I am planning a tour, I always check warmshowers first for a place to stay. If one isn't available, I check hotels (booking.com) next. Once I find an acceptable hotel, I check to see if there are any possible CSers. CS hosts are a rare find for me and often I don't even bother checking its site.

DanBell 10-11-19 02:37 AM

CS is also a for profit enterprise. As such the last I saw of them they were pushing some 'premium' account nonsense saying that premium account holders had an easier time finding places to stay or something along those lines. I have a real issue with trying to monetize something that started from a place of just wanting to help out fellow travelers out of the goodness of your heart so I appreciate that WS has maintained that they will continue to operate on donations alone, even though that means the tech might lag a bit behind.

I think raybo hit the nail on the head though. The main difference, as far as we are concerned, is that WS is aimed at cycle tourists, and the hosts are people who understand the specific needs of cycle tourists.


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