Jewgether recommendations for the guest
- This is not a Hostel. Jewgether hosts are not hostels. If you are just looking for a cheap place to crash, search for another place. In case you are searching for a place to get to know good people, please stay.
- Surprises are not always welcome. Don't come with more travelers than agreed. Don't stay too long-- you can always ask to come back.
- Confirm your arrival the day before. The host will be glad to know that you are actually planning to arrive and can give you last-minute instructions.
- Listen. Especially while talking politics (which we always do).
- Bring gifts. Try not to come empty-handed. A small gift that represents your thanks will help break the ice.
- Say Thank you. Even if the food is not exactly to your taste. Try to appreciate the hospitality, time, and effort spent on your behalf. Try to write a thank-you letter when you finish your Jewgethering. Everyone likes to know that their efforts are appreciated.
- Take into consideration your host's schedule. Don't forget that while you are traveling, your host isn't organizing their daily schedule just for you.
- Consult with your hosts. They have been living in this town for a while; they are probably the best knowledge-base you will find.
- Offer Help. For example, after a dinner that the host cooked for you, offer to wash the dishes.
- Keep your stuff organized. No one likes a messy guest.
- Bring back borrowed things in better shape. For example, fill up the gas tank if you borrow the car.
- Ask permission to use home facilities. Like phone, computer, etc.
- Be sure to know how kosher/Shabbat keeping your hosts are. If they keep Shabbat, be sure to keep it with them. If they keep separate dishes for milk and meat, don't eat a ham sandwich in their home.
- Write a review. For future Jewgethers please write a review of your host.
For the host:
- Read the reviews about your guest, to check that he or she is someone you will get along with. After the jewgethering experience, write your own review.
- Do not give your exact address. Meet your guest in a public place and take him or her to your home.
- See the passport ahead of time. Before the meeting, ask your guest to send you a photocopy of their passport. When you meet, ask to see the actual passport to verify it against the photocopy.
- Discuss schedules: Will guests have to be out of the house while you’re at work or school? When does Shabbat come in? When does the day start?
- Describe your neighborhood your guest will want to know where the train station is, how far away the city center is.
- Describe the accommodation you can offer in detail, the people sharing your house, any restrictions or preferences; for example regarding: religion, Sabbath, Kosher, smoking, alcohol, gender of guest, number of guests at a time, presence of pets. Also note any other special points: will your guests have to bring sleeping bags or towels? Will they be able to use your kitchen to prepare meals?
- Make your guest feel at home. Make time for them--that's the whole idea, to meet new people. Be welcoming; make a small gesture like a cleared shelf for their belongings.
- Communicate. Even if there’s a language barrier, do what you can to include your guests in the general conversation. Speak in their language if you can. If they don’t speak your language fluently, speak more slowly.
- Learn from your guests. Have a healthy, respectful curiosity about their lives and homes. If you speak different languages, learn a few words in theirs. Listen to stories about their travels.
- Be a resource for them. You have "insider's knowledge" of your hometown; let them know you'd be happy to share it with them: favorite non-tourist spots, good cheap restaurants, how much to pay for a local item (or taxi fare).
- Try to avoid miscommunication and misunderstandings. By being aware of cultural differences. By being very clear about things, i.e., if phone calls are expensive and you’d like to be reimbursed, let your guests know that beforehand.
- Keys. As a host, it's your call: decide what you are comfortable with and let your guests know. Lend a spare house-key or request that guests be in the house only when someone else is at home or any other option that makes you feel comfortable.