CSTN Friends in Travel – All Around the World

By Diane Redfern

Guidelines for CSTN Advisers, Hosts & Guests

Wouldn't it be wonderful to know that no matter where you go there would be people you could contact who empathize with your needs and desires as a fellow solo traveler?

By participating in advice, hospitality and lodging exchanges, members of Connecting: Solo Travel Network (CSTN) help one another enjoy solo traveling and, just as importantly, they perpetuate the spirit of hospitality and spread goodwill among travelers. Check out the following ways CSTNers can help one another:

Advisers | Hosts | Lodging Exchange | Guests | Meet at CSTN Friends in Travel

Hospitality Around the World

Truthfully, the world is a pretty big place when you set out to see all of it, so it may be that a CSTN Friend isn't available. Happily, the spirit of hospitality works in all sorts of ways. City greeters and volunteer hosts all over the civilized world believe there is no better way to peaceful international relationships than by spending time with a visitor. Just look below at all of the wonderful organizations ready to visit with travelers, and solo travelers are no exception:

Hospitality Worldwide: International | Regional

Guidelines for CSTN Advisers

Sometimes CSTN Advisersall one needs to get up and go on vacation alone is an encouraging word from someone who has been there and knows the ropes. CSTN Advisers simply share information about their hometown or places that they've been. Communication begins on our message board, CSTN Friends in Travel. Advisers are not expected to meet personally with visitors, although there is no rule against personal meetings if both parties are agreeable.

Step 1: Be a member of Connecting: Solo Travel Network

Step 2: Join our discussion group: CSTN Friends in Travel, powered by Google.

Step 3: Compose and post a 40 to 50 word descriptive message detailing the information you have to share.

Sample Adviser Ads:

>> Destination Adviser: I would be happy to provide going-solo advice and share experiences on active, budget travel to the following countries: France, Spain, Italy, Thailand, India, Indonesia.

>>Hometown Adviser: If you are passing through Anytown USA. I can tell you about local restaurants, clubs, and attractions where you'll feel comfortable going on your own, what parts of town to avoid, and sightseeing excursions you can easily do by public transport.

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Guidelines for CSTN Hosts

When preparing to be a Host:

Procedures for CSTN Hosts

Step 1: Be a member of Connecting: Solo Travel Network

Step 2: Join our discussion group: CSTN Friends in Travel, powered by Google.

Step 3: Compose and post a 40 to 50 word descriptive ad detailing the type of activities you would like to share with a visitor.

Sample Host Ad

>>Do you like classical or jazz music, or baseball, hockey, hiking, nightclubs? If so and you are visiting Anytown, give me some advance notice; I'll buy tickets and you can treat to coffee and dessert afterwards.

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Guidelines for Lodging Exchanges

Members Home or B and B Swapmay advertise a desire to participate in Lodging Exchanges with fellow members.

Any mutually agreeable arrangements are acceptable:

Procedures for Lodging Exchanges

Step 1: Be a member of Connecting: Solo Travel Network

Step 2: Join our discussion group: CSTN Friends in Travel, powered by Google.

Step 3: Compose and post a 40 to 50 word descriptive ad detailing the lodging arrangements you have in mind.

Sample Lodging Exchange Ad:

>> Vancouver woman has one-bedroom apartment to exchange for similar situation, centrally located, quiet, leafy, district, near public transport, restaurants, and all city attractions. Interested in one-week visits: Montreal, Toronto, Boston, New York, Miami, San Francisco. Flexible for travel May through September.

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Guidelines for CSTN Guests – Accepting Hospitality

All bona fide members of Connecting: Solo Travel Network may use the CSTN Friends in Travel discussion forum.

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Hospitality Organizations Worldwide

International Organizations

>> Friendship Force. An international organization of individuals who want to meet and exchange cultures. Host clubs entertain Ambassadors from other countries with home hosting, day, and dinner activities. Membership Fee: Yes.

>> Global Greeter Network. International network of free greeter services: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Madagascar, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, Togo, USA, Vietnam. Volunteers welcome visitors to their hometowns. Direct link application process is helpful in making arrangements. Membership Fee: Free.

>> Globetrotters Travel Club. Publishes listings of members worldwide with details of their travel experiences. Members offer each other free accommodations (optional) and travel advice. Membership Fee: Yes.

>> Hospitality Club. Online directory of volunteers with a goal of "bringing people together" worldwide to share hospitality. Membership Fee: Free.

>> Internationaler Volksport Verband (IVV). European headquarters for worldwide walking clubs. Membership Fee: Yes, Vary by country.

>> SERVAS. Began in 1948 in Denmark as a non-profit organization called the Peacebuilders and later changed to Servas (We Serve in Esperanto). Membership covers more than 100 countries. Each national SERVAS is an autonomous, volunteer organization and establishes its own criteria for approving hosts and travelers. Membership Fee: Yes, variable.

>> South American Explorers Club. A networking travel resource for South and/or Central America. Clubhouses in Buenos Aires Argentina, Lima Peru, Quito Ecuador and Ithaca New York. Membership Fee: Yes.


Regional Organizations

BAHAMAS

>> Bahamas People to People Program. Operated by the Ministry of Tourism, Bahamas. Volunteers holding similar interests are available to give visitors a genuine and informal view of Bahamian hospitality and culture. Arrange three weeks in advance through the Ministry of Tourism, or register with social director at hotels. Membership Fee: Yes.

CANADA

>> Canadian Volkssport Federation. Canadian headquarters for international society of ardent walkers. Organized and self-guided, non-competitive walking events all over the USA, Canada, Europe and Australia Membership Fee. Yes

>> Toronto Greeters. "Tap into TO" program. Toronto residents who love their city volunteer to show visitors the real Toronto. Membership Fee: Free.

FRANCE

>> Greeters Paris. Parisians spend 2 to 4 hours with visitors sharing their knowledge of districts of Paris they know and love. Membership Fee: Free.

JAMAICA

>> Jamaica Meet the People Program. Interested tourists apply to the Jamaica Tourist Board prior to arrival. A Jamaican volunteer of similar interests meets tourists at hotels to discuss a schedule of activities. Membership Fee: Free.

JAPAN

>> Japan Goodwill Guides. Bilingual volunteers are ready to show visitors around towns and cities throughout Japan. Arrange a day in advance via local tourist bureaus in Japan. Membership Fee: Free.

KOREA

>> Korea Goodwill Guides. Korea Tourism Organization. Volunteers help visitors to Korea attend festivals, special events, tour neighborhoods, assist with communication, route planning, transportation, accommodations. Allow two weeks' notice. Membership Fee: Visitor pays guide's entrance Fee, transportation costs, or any other expenses.

USA

>> American Volkssport Association (AVA). American branch of international society of ardent walkers. Organized and self-guided, non-competitive walking events all over the USA, Canada, Europe and Australia. Membership Fee: Variable.

>> Affordable Travel Club, Inc. Members are people, age 40 plus, who sincerely enjoy meeting others and sharing experiences by offering bed and breakfast to visiting members. Guests pay a US$15 gratuity (single) to stay in other members' homes. About 25% are single. Membership Fee: Yes.

>> Chicago Greeter. Volunteer greeters take visitors on two to four-hour tours that combine walking and public transportation. Allow 7 days' notice. Membership Fee: Free.

>> Evergreen Club. A network of bed and breakfast homestays for travelers over 50. Locations in Canada, the USA, and several overseas countries. Hosts receive a modest gratuity. Membership Fee: Yes.

>> Houston Greeters. Representing the greater Houston metro area, Greeters ranging in age from young to young-at-heart are available for two to four-hour visits at a pre-selected public venue. Membership Fee: Free.

>> New York Big Apple Greeter. Over 400 New Yorkers from all walks of life volunteer to spend a few hours introducing visitors to Manhattan and environs. Applicants choose neighborhoods to visit. Membership Fee: Free.


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