More Frequently Asked Questions
As the host, what are my responsibilities?
You provide a clean and comfortable bedroom and bath for your guests. Bath may be either private or shared; the directory will tell guests which you offer. Upon your guest’s arrival, you will want to spend a little time to get acquainted and share some helpful hints with them about your area. Hospitable gestures such as light refreshments while you are getting acquainted or sharing coupons for local restaurants are nice, but certainly not required. In the morning, you offer breakfast, either continental or more; that’s your choice.
As a guest, what are my responsibilities?
For the guest, it is like going to any friend’s home; you treat your hosts with courtesy and respect. This starts with your initial contact. While traveling, provide your host with a phone number for reaching you if necessary. On arrival day, contact your host early in the day to assure them that you are on your way. Always arrange with your host mutually convenient arrival and departure times. Unlike a commercial bed and breakfast or hotel, you should not plan to stay around their home all day if you are spending multiple nights; however, each host is different so please do not be afraid to ask about the house rules. Some things you might learn in this discussion are that they would love to eat out with you, will act as a tour guide, or allow you to stay the day and relax in their home. But always keep in mind that all such actions are voluntary and not expected or required. Communication is essential and you are encouraged to discuss with your host the things important to you. For example, if you have a dairy allergy, let your host know so they don’t spend hours preparing a cheese soufflé for breakfast.
Is it safe to invite strangers to my home?
Every time you answer the door, you should have a reasonable concern about who is standing on the other side. If you were running a Bed and Breakfast, you would be taking people in “off the street.” With Friends In Route, you are hosting only other members in your home. These are folks who have agreed to abide by our guidelines and who you have talked to ahead of time via email or phone. You also have background information on them from the club directory, so other members can be reasonably certain that those with whom they are staying, or hosting, are trustworthy and reliable. After you have had your first guest, these concerns will give way to anticipation of making new friends.
Am I required to accept every request?
No. You only host when it is convenient and comfortable for you to do so.
Am I required to host a certain number of times a year?
No. This is an organization based on trust; we expect that if a member requests lodging and it is convenient for you to host them, you will. There is no minimum or maximum number of times you must host. Three or four times (on average) a year is a reasonable expectation, but that is entirely up to you.
Is there a limit to the number of times I use the service in a year?
No limit is established for stays; it is up to you and your prospective hosts.
Is there a limit to the number of nights I can stay as a guest?
There is no limit set by the organization. You should always inform the host about how long you will be in the area and ask how many nights they will be able to host you. A maximum of three nights is suggested, but the number of nights they can accommodate you is up to them. Where you need to stay in an area longer than three nights, you may find it necessary to split your stay with more than one host.
How is breakfast handled?
In the directory you will find a listing for the type of breakfast a host offers — continental or full. Don’t be surprised, however, if someone lists “continental” but prepares a full breakfast. It may be that they have a little more time on a given day. Breakfast arrangements should be established the prior evening. As a host, if you are unable to join your guests for breakfast, you should show them where the juice, coffee, tea, cereal, etc. are the night before and leave the table set for them.
When was Friends In Route established and where do you have members?
Friends In Route was established in 2010. Since we are a North American-based organization, the majority of our members are in the United States and Canada. Membership is growing, however, and expanding to other countries, and we currently have members on six continents!
What about pets? Can I bring pets into members' homes? Do members have pets in their homes? What if I'm allergic to pets?
Our application asks members whether they have pets in their home, or would allow pets to be brought in. This information is displayed in our online directory. It sis also recommended that you discuss any pet arrangements with your guests/hosts before making plans to stay somewhere, so that everyone is comfortable.
How do I find out if space is available in the city I am visiting?
You would use the online directory to locate members in that city. Upon locating a member, you can either call or email them. We suggest you give members as much notice as possible. Some hosts seem to be always ready for guests on short notice, but others prefer more advance notice. If you send an email and get no response, we suggest you follow up with a phone call.
Should I call and confirm a reservation?
Communication is paramount! Whether you make the arrangements by email or phone, it is smart to stay in contact with the host. We suggest you contact them no later than a week before your arrival to confirm your plans have not changed. Also, call the host on the day of your arrival to advise them of your arrival time.
When can I check in/out?
Keep in mind that you are not going to a commercial hotel but rather a host’s home. Normally, you should not arrive before 4 p.m. However, whatever you work out with the host that is mutually acceptable to the two of you is fine. Should you arrive during the host’s meal time, please respect their privacy and go directly to your room until the host is free. A reasonable departure time is 9 a.m., but, again, this is something you and your host will work out and may depend on their work schedule. Take special note of those hosts who ask for “prompt departure” and respect their wishes.
Can I expect a private bath?
In the directory you will see a number of amenities and offerings; some hosts have private baths and some have shared bathrooms. Keep in mind, a private-bath listing will not necessarily mean the bath is in your room; it does mean that you will not be sharing a bath with your hosts.
Do I, as a member, have a long-term commitment?
No. You can cancel your membership at any time. We will immediately remove your name from the directory upon notification and our verification of that notification. However, dues are on an annual basis and will not be prorated upon cancellation.
Can I take a friend when I travel?
If you are a single person and have not designated a travel partner, and you choose to take a friend with you, you would expect to pay an additional gratuity of $5 for the added person. Note: Before you call a host, check the listing of criteria required by or offered by the host. Some hosts are not comfortable hosting unmarried or same-sex couples, and that will be noted in their listing.
When should I offer the host my gratuity?
We suggest that you take care of this transaction at the start of your stay; you may forget it if you wait until the next day. Hosts should not have to remind their guests.
What are the annual dues?
Current charter member dues are $20 per year, payable upon joining, and on each anniversary month of joining. Special discount programs will be offered periodically to members, which may reduce this amount even more. As you can see, by saving the cost of just ONE hotel night, the membership easily pays for itself. For members outside North America, annual dues are just $1 US.
CHARTER MEMBER SPECIAL: The special Charter Member rate is $20. All members who join Friends In Route during Calendar Year 2012 will be considered Charter Members. No additional fee will be due from Charter Members until January, 2014, when you will be given an opportunity to renew your membership. Charter Members will never pay more than a $20 annual membership fee as long as they maintain continuous membership in Friends In Route.
How do I become a charter member of Friends In Route?
All members who join Friends In Route during the Calendar Year 2012 will be considered Charter Members. Friends In Route retains the right to extend the definition of Charter Membership.
What does it mean to be a Charter Member?
We believe that in years to come, it will be a point of pride for members to have been here in the beginning and to have helped get it started. Also, all Charter Members will never pay more than a $20 annual membership fee as long as they maintain continuous membership in Friends In Route.
How is my payment processed?
In Route uses PayPal to
process payments, courtesy of Mastering Technology, Inc.,
which provides for our site maintenance, and operations. We use
PayPal to keep costs low and to provide an extremely secure way to
pay. You DO
NOT need a Paypal account in order to submit your payment
through PayPal; you may use your MasterCard/VISA/AMEX/Discover. Your
membership fee is a single transaction, and you will not be
automatically billed for any future fees. When you choose to renew
your membership, you must complete another payment transaction.
Friends In Route does not store or retain any member's credit