Back when I was on my journey from KL to London, I had to rely on backpacker’s hostels and budget hotels to put up my nights. There’s a lot of ugly behind the glamour of completing a 18,000km ride through 16 countries. Everyday was a new worry about where I would be sleeping the night, whether I’ll get the comfort of a warm shower. I didn’t know about warmshowers.org and even when I did hear about it, it was difficult for me to access the site when I was 24/7 on wheels. The Internet wasn’t a luxury I could splurge and neither was the time needed to contact hosts on warmshowers.org. The trip saw me resorting to last-minute bookings and spontaneous hostel choices. But for those still looking for an answer to your accommodation worries, this is warmshowers.org.
Warmshowers.org is a hospitality exchange program for cyclists who travel and if you manage to contact a host who is willing to comply with your stay, it’s usually 100% free of charge.
When I came home, I got involved in the site and registered myself both as a user and a host. Requests started pouring in and I offered these travellers a place to live. I mean live, in every sense of the word – to sleep, cook, shower, eat, do laundry. Of all people, I think I understood exactly what they needed.
A lot of these cyclists opt for my place because it’s so close to the city centre where the embassies are located. I’ve hosted more than 10 groups thus far including people from Europe, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Canada, United States and even a tad further from South America. These are people of all ages who simply have a commonality in their wanderlust and their love for the ride. We usually end up becoming great friends, sharing our experiences and different cultures, even cooking recipes.
I definitely recommend warmshowers.org if you’re on the run (with wheels) and on a budget. It’s the old school, free version of an Airbnb with the added feature of making new cycling friends.