Frequently Asked Questions

What is it?

No, CouchSurfing is focused on free stay at a specific location, not primarily on meeting other users.

CouchSurfing is mainly used by young people. ConnectingFriends is aimed at all people with room in their hearts and their houses for new social contacts.

CouchSurfing makes no demands on comfort. ConnectingFriends requires that members are willing and able to offer other hospitable members a comfortable stay and/or a seat at their dinner table.

A stay through ConnectingFriends is free of all charges. The platform focuses on the meetings between hospitable travelers.

AirBNB and Bed & Breakfast are commercial initiatives, focusing on the rental of rooms and beds.

Of course it is possible to have a nice meeting with your host at one of these platforms, but the intent is commercial, and nice meetings a coincidential. At ConnectingFriends hosts cannot make any money from their guests, so the only remaining goal is the meeting itself.

No, the network is not a dating site - even though it is very well possible that you find a new partner through a visit with other members. After all, this can happen anywhere.

ConnectingFriends focuses at meetings between hospitable travelers. If you're looking for a new partner, please refer to any of the dating sites that you can find everywhere: these are meant to support that in a professional way.

"Vrienden op de Fiets" aims at meetings between hikers and bikers, and other hikers and bikers who act as hosts, but it uses a standard financial compensation for the stay. As a consequence, you'll find many commercial providers among the host addresses of "Vrienden op de Fiets". A nice meeting with others is than a coincidence.

ConnectingFriends avoids financial transactions, to ensure that all meetings are based on the genuine interest of members in other members of the platform.

ConnectingFriends is also not limited to bikers or hikers: anyone can join the ConnectingFriends, whatever means of transport they use.

ConnectingFriends is an initiative of STIPPING. The STIPPING team manages the website, supports the users, and monitors the platform for reasons of social security. STIPPING is a social enterprise, without a profit goal, spending all its remaining benefits on the social projects that are selected by the members of the platform.

Members

Members of ConnectingFriends are hospitable travelers, with room in their hearts and in their homes, who are interested in growing their social network.

ConnectingFriends is a network for hospitable travelers:

  • people who like to travel and do not want to leave a fascinating meeting with others to chance 
  • people who are really open to new social contacts
  • people who enjoy opening their front doors and their hearts for other hospitable travelers
  • people who... read more

How does it work?

Not everyone thinks the same about everything. Hospitable travelers respect each other's opinions. Divergent views make your meetings interesting.

Valuable contacts are created through personal attention. Therefore, avoid preformatted requests. Show the other party why you are seeking contact.

Only adults have access to the network.

ConnectingFriends is a platform to facilitate a stay with other hospitable travelers. The platform explicitly is not a dating site; if you want to date, do it on a dating site.

Never make more than one profile and do not make fake profiles. Members must be able to trust each other. A personal profile can be linked to more than one location, for example, if you have a second home in France.

Staying with other hospitable travelers is a privilege, not a right. A host always decides whether the requested visit is possible at the requested date and time. A host responds with an explanation if the visit is not possible. When a request is rejected, the guest will not persist.

Members solve their disputes in first instance themselves. If that does not work, they can contact the administrators for support.

No, that's out of the picture. The primary goal is the visit, not the lodging.

If you just seek a (cheap) opportunity to spend the night, choose the regular commercial offerings of a hotel, Bed & Breakfast, AirBNB, etc, or a platform like CouchSurfing. ConnectingFriends focuses on meeting other hospitable travelers.

If you agree so with your guest, this is of course allowed. It’s entirely up to he involved users.

Basically a visit is a single event, where you spend no more than one night.

Only registered members of ConnectingFriends may use the facilities of the network. After all, it is a trusted network of hospitable travelers.

If you want to bring a friend to the visit, this friend should also be a member of ConnectingFriends. If that is not the case, invite your friend in the usual way to join the platform.

As soon as you create your account, you will make your first quarterly contribution to the fund of ConnectingFriends. You membership starts there. As soon as you completed your personal profile and your location profile, you can start using the network to plan visits with other hospitable tavelers.

That is for you to decide. Your name, your age, your gender, and the languages you speak, are the minimum requirements. You may add any other information you like, e.g. your interests, your pets, your business profile at LinkedIn, or your Facebook page, anything you like.

On your location, only the address is required, so you can be found at the map, and the languages you are are willing to speak with guests, so they know you can understand each other. For the rest, you may add anything you like, e.g. a detailed description of your location, your house rules, your availability, photographs, anything you like.

The more information you reveal about yourself, the better you manage mutual expectations. On the other hand, a surprising visit can also be a great experience!

Make your own choices here, and adjust your profile once you're used to the network. 

Firstly, you check your agenda to see if this fits in. Can you fit the visit in your agenda, and would you indeed like to accept the invitation, then you go to your dashboard and accept the request. In the confirmation message you can add details about the planned visit. Your e-mail address is sent along automatically with the confirmation message, so you can communicate with your guest if necessary.

It is not obliged to accept a request. If you choose to reject the request, go to your dashboard and reject the request. You can explain the rejection in the return message. In this case, your e-mail address is not sent along with therejection message. It's nice for all concerned if you make clear why it does not fit in, rather than just a bare denial. You may, for example, suggest an alternative date or time, or plan a return visit.

You manage all requests in your dashbord. That's where you can retrieve all information about all visit requests, and where you can add your private comments to a request.

 

For the safety of the system and the users, you should use the request form for all visits.

The information that is registered with this form is only visible to the members involved in the visit.

The involved memers can then easily retrieve the information about all their visits in their dashboard, so they can simply find out who they met, when, and where.

You can also add your private comments to the request in this dashboard. To respect your privacy, these private comments can only be seen by yourself.

You do the same as you would do otherwise: you let your host know what's going on. After all, it always concerns other hospitable travelers, and you should treat all with respect.

Your host's e-mail address was sent along with the confirmation, and maybe they've also sent you their phone number.

No, nothing is obliged. If you agree this with your guest, a dinner of course can be planned in the visit.

Having dinner together is a great social activity, but a visit can also start after dinnertime or take place during a different part of the day.

You can use the request form and your dashboard to register the details of a visit, so you know who you visited when and where, and who visited you, when.

This registration is also part of the set of measures to support your social security.

No, you can limit a visit to having dinner together, visiting a theater show together, or taking part in an activity together. In many cases it is useful and convenient to stay the night, but this is not mandatory.

You can determine the content and duration of the visit in consultation with the other party involved. 

Costs

Nothing. Each stay (food, drink, accommodation) with other hospitable travelers is free. Of course you have some expenses when others stay at your house. But hospitable travelers do not pay each other. They only contribute to the fund for a better world.

Members of ConnectingFriends actually don't pay membership fees, but they donate a monthly contribution of €5 to the fund for a better world. In return they receive as many meetings with other hospitable travelers as they please. On top of that, they can present their own projects, and they also determine on which projects their contributions are spent.

If you would avoid just one commercial accommodation per year, you will have saved yourself more than the amount of money you contributed, and at the same time you will have enhanced your social network with other hospitable travelers, and you would have made a contribution to projects for a better world. This way, hospitable travelers save each other a lot of costs, and on top of that they receive a great bonus: as many great meetings with others as they like, and a better world.

A secure network of hospitable travelers requires technical and practical features to maximize the security of the system and the social safety of the members. The development of these facilities and the daily support of the users is done by volunteers as much as possible, but the network has no sponsors and receives no grants or any subsidy. The contributions to the fund are used to cover the daily costs of the platform. We keep these costs as low as possible, as we use open source software and as many volunteers as we can find. ConnectingFriends is non-profit, and the operating surplus is entirely spent on the projects that are presented and selected by the members.

A contribution of € 5 per month is a small amount, but with large numbers of members it will soon add up to a significant surplus in the operation. Operating costs are kept as low as possible by using open source software and as many volunteers as we can get.

The surplus in the ConnectingFriends fund is spent entirely on projects to improve the world, which have been proposed and selected by the members.

ConnectingFriends is non-profit, and will annually submit a transparent financial report on all revenues and expenditures to its members.

Security

ConnectingFriends is as safe as its users. You will always be responsible for your own decisions to meet or to stay with an unknown user, or to welcome a user in your own home. ConnectingFriends offers a number of facilities to support the social security of the network:

  • ConnectingFriends is a network of hospitable travelers. People only join the network after agreeing to the Terms of Use, confirming that they are willing to open their front doors and their hearts to other hospitable travelers.
  • Contacts are voluntary: you are not obliged to accept a request for a visit. Accept the request only if – for example - you've had previous contact through the platform, or if you’ve taken the opportunity to look at the requestor’s user profile.
  • Members can check the profile of a guest or a host before agreeing to a meeting.
  • If the communication between guest ad host runs through the ConnectingFriends system, visits are registered. Anyone who misbehaves can easily be found. Note: your visits with others are only visible to the participants and to the management of ConnectingFriends – for your own safety.
  • All users agree to the same Terms of Use, stating that they behave respectfully during a visit.
  • For each visit, your dashboard offers the facility to capture what you want to register. For privacy reasons, this information can only be seen by yourself. ConnectingFriends does not use a public rating system or a public assessment.
  • The administrator of the network follows trends and outliers and takes action when required. If you have a complaint about a guest or about a host, you can apply directly to the administrator. Disputes between members will be solved between the involved members. The administrator takes action, if necessary. In extreme cases, the administrator can remove a member from the network.

No, the details of a visit are only visible to the involved members. Your personal dashboard shows you who you have visited in the course of time: that's easy if you ever want to knock on their doors again.

Your dashboard also shows you who has visited you, and when. Others cannot see any information about visits they were not involved in.

Conditions

A lodging facility meets the following minimum requirements: private bedroom; bed with good mattress; clean bedding; towels; access to a bathroom and toilet. 

Yes, you can. As soon as you've completed your profile and your location, you can start planning visits with other hospitable travelers.

Whether others visit you as well, lies with the others, not with you – as long as you are open to welcoming other hospitable travelers in your home. 

Even though you have not yet welcomed any other members in your home, please do not hesitate to use the network for your own travels.

All members have chosen to be part of this network, indicating that they would like to welcome other members in their home.

Yes, of course, if you need to travel somewhere far from home for your work and you do not feel like an impersonal hotel or other commercial accommodation, you can make excellent use of the network.

This way, you organize a pleasant evening with one or more other members of the platform, instead of a dull evening in a hotel, and the next morning you can be very close to your destination.

Make clear to your host that you need to leave early the next morning.

Again, this can only work if your host finds it acceptable to have to rise early, the next morning.

Pets

Each host indicates the presence of any pets at the location.

If you’re allergic to pets, or if you don’t like to be near the pets of the host, find another host address or take precautions.

That is entirely up to you and the host/guest to decide. If they both have no objection, it could be great fun.

Walking your dogs together, on the beach or in the woods, can be a very sociable and enjoyable thing to do.

Bringing a cat or another pet could also be an option, but only if the host agrees beforehand.

How do I handle problems?

If a visit was not pleasant, due to improper behavior of the guest or the host, you can report that to the administrators. The administrators take every complaint seriously, and reserve the right to remove members from the network.

For instance, if a guest arrives later than planned, disappears to the bedroom without further notice, illustrating a clear lack of interest in the planned meeting with the host, than this is deemed abuse.

If a dispute has arisen between a guest and a host, the involved individual(s) should report this to the proper authorities. The administrators may support you in this. However, you are always responsible for your own visits. 

How do I manage my account?

Do you have a reason to suspend your use of the network, then you can easily note that in the "Availability" field of your location. As soon as you're ready to continue your active participation, you update that field once again. This way you can temporarily 'park' your account without losing access to the network and without losing your history.

If you want to permanently remove your account and all your personal data from the system, go to your dashboard and then to your account, and select [Cancel account]. Your personal details will then be removed from the system, and your contributions to the fund will be stopped.

Your visits remain visible in the system to the people involved, but your personal information in these visits is replaced by 'Anonymous'. The visits of other members remain in their dashboards, but they will no longer show any of your personal details.

The data on your location will also be removed, unless a housemate continues to use the location. In that case you should first transfer your location to your housemate, before deleting your account. You can update the location's description before you transfer it.

You can only delete a location if you do not have housemates, and if you do not have any scheduled future visits at that location.

On the housemate: transfer your location to the housemate, or remove the housemate.

On the scheduled future visits: cancel the visits, and the other parties will automatically receive a message. If possible in any way, tell the others about the reason for the removal of the planned visit.

If you don't have a housemate and all scheduled future visits are canceled, go to your location, choose Edit, and then hit the Delete button.