Gay Couch Surfing and Hospitality Home Exchange
Would you like to make friends from all around the world right in your own home or when you travel?
Would you like to see a place from the locals’ perspective when you travel?
Would you like to save money on accommodation during your vacations?
You may have heard of home exchanges and couch surfing. This is along those lines. A hospitality exchange!
LGHEI (pronounced Elle-Gay) is an expanding worldwide network of lesbians and gay men who offer each other the gift of short term hospitality during their travels.
Lesbians and gay men from around the world offer their hospitality to other members at no charge. These hosts, in turn, are able to be received when they travel. There are currently more than 500 listings in over 30 countries.
An annual directory, available only to members, is published in March and a supplementary list of members who joined later in the year is mailed out in September. Next year, everything will be digital and online. Members who wish to travel use the directory to contact the members they would like to be received by. Members are expected to give their prospective hosts some advance notice before making their visit. Last minute requests for accommodation are not appreciated and can simply be denied. Members are expected to answer all requests for accommodation, whether in the affirmative or the negative. Members are expected to limit requests for hospitality to two nights. This protects hosts from being stuck with a guest with whom they are incompatible and protects the traveller from outright refusals of hospitality because of the hosts’ fear of that possibility. However, hosts are free to offer longer stays at their discretion – and many do after learning how interesting and pleasant their guests are.
Members offer anything from a guest bedroom to a sofa, to a foam mattress for a sleeping bag. The rest is up to you. At the time of the visit you may choose to offer airport pick-up, breakfast, tours of gay and/or tourist spots or whatever else a good host may think of – depending on your possibilities. Think how you would like to be received. Each member decides how many guests he/she can receive and when. Some hosts like to entertain – some simply offer a bed or couch for you and may rarely be present.
Nevertheless, this is a hospitality exchange and, therefore, not for those who aren’t capable of, or interested in, receiving other members. Don’t forget that both hosts and guests benefit from each visit! The hosts have their house rules, as we have ours, and appreciate when they are respected. Because the hospitality is free, a token gift or a dinner invitation for the hosts might be appreciated.
There is a $40 per year fee – and the organization is ran by volunteers. LGHEI.