Review profiles carefully
Take the time to carefully review member profiles. Read what members say about themselves. Give yourself the time to thoroughly read through all the information available and don’t compromise. If you’re uncomfortable, keep looking.
Get to know potential Hosts and Guests through our messaging system. Don’t give out your personal contact information until you’ve met. Once they have made contact, Guests and Hosts may also want to chat on Zoom or another online video platform - this can be a great way to get to know each other better before the event.
Make sure you have a plan to communicate with friends, family and backup accommodation options once you arrive. Will you have your computer? Will your mobile phone work?
Ask questions! Have conversations! You’ll know what to expect (and so will your Host/Guest), and you’ll likely both be more at ease when you meet. Some things you may want to ask:
How many people live in your home?
Do you allow guests to use the kitchen?
Are there safety precautions I’ll need to take in the neighborhood or surrounding areas?
Read our Practicing Active Solidarity Advice for more information.
These initial conversations will tell you a lot. If anything about your interaction makes you uncomfortable, look for a different Host/Guest and report it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Trust your instincts
If a person, situation or profile seems unsafe for any reason, move on. Don’t worry about seeming rude. Be clear about your boundaries and don’t be shy about stating them. Communicate clearly with others and take care of yourself. If you’re uncomfortable staying alone with a member, consider staying with families or with couples.
Have a backup plan
Know your options. If something doesn’t work out with your host, or if they misrepresented themselves or their home, make sure you have an alternate place to stay. Identify the nearest hostel or hotel, or have a backup host in place before you go. If possible, research your host’s neighborhood prior to arriving, including how to get to and from there on your own.
Do your homework
Before meeting, look for hosts whose profiles are complete with a real name, clear photos, and detailed descriptions of themselves and their spaces
What’s NOT there? Is there missing information or questions the member could answer for you that would help you get a better sense of who they are?
Women travelers may prefer to book with female hosts, and vice versa.
Make sure you understand the level of privacy a host is offering. Carefully read through the hosts description of their space on member profiles and be sure to ask questions about anything that’s unclear.
If there are other members of your community or organisation group traveling to COP and using the homestay network - stay in contact with them throughout your trip for support. You can also join our Homestay Community Slack Group and find other guests that might want to buddy up and check in during COP. If you are travelling alone, make sure you tell someone that you trust the address of where you are staying.
During your host/guest experience
Upon meeting, spend some time getting to know your Host or Guest. Do you feel comfortable with them? Is everything as you expected? If you feel uneasy or something doesn’t seem right, trust your instincts and do what you need to do to be comfortable.
Get to know the “rules” of the house – are there hours when it’s best to be quiet? How will you get in and out if you and your Host/Guest have different schedules?
If you feel uncomfortable for any reason with your Surfer/Guest, address the situation politely and directly to see if you can find resolution.
Maintain your faculties. Travel can be disorienting. Use of drugs and alcohol can further complicate this. Don’t leave your well-being in the hands of someone else.
In any situation where you feel unsafe, threatened or in immediate danger, remove yourself and contact the local authorities – such as police or emergency services – right away. When you’re in a safe location, report the incident to our Homestay Helpline (07512180169). All reports are confidential.
If you feel unsafe
In any situation where you feel unsafe, threatened or in immediate danger, remove yourself and contact the local authorities – such as police or emergency services – by calling 999 right away.
When you’re in a safe location, report the incident to our Homestay Helpline (07512180169). All reports are confidential.
We want to build a strong community across all the amazing guests and hosts using the Homestay Network at COP26. Please join us on Slack to meet other members, ask questions, share stories and buddy up with people for that you can stay in contact with throughout your time as a guest or host in Glasgow!
Slack is a messaging app that you can have on both your phone and desktop. It is a space for us to communicate, plan, and support each other.
Join our Slack Workspace by following this link:
Once you’ve signed in you will see the sidebar on the left hand side. Here you can access the list of channels that you’ve joined and your direct messages, notifications for specific conversations and the option to compose new messages. Upon joining you will automatically be added to the core channels – introduce-yourself, questions, random and updates. To browse or create a new channel, just hover over the channel header and a small plus sign should come up.
The search function on Slack is great, just use the bar at the top of Slack to search and it will pull up any relevant results.
To keep conversations tidy, reply to messages in a thread. To do this, hover over the top of the message box, and click on the small speech bubble with two lines. This should open up the message on the right hand side and you can continue the conversation there.
If you need to message someone directly, of course that’s fine, just search for them by hovering over the ‘Direct message’ header and clicking on the + sign.
If you’re chatting in the main channel, you can tag specific people by typing @theirname e.g. @isobel as part of your message. If you want to tag everyone in that channel you can use @channel.
Unaccompanied children or adults at risk should not use the homestay network. The protection of these groups, if they interact with guests or hosts on the network, is always the responsibility of their parent or carer.
If you suspect that a child or vulnerable adult is at risk from abuse or harm you should contact the Police immediately by calling 999. You can also contact the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000
If a child, young person or adult at risk reports abuse or harm during your stay as a guest or host on the homestay network, you should take the following steps: