A guide to help you (get started) THIS PAGE IS STILL UNDER CONSTRUCTION :)
New to Trustroots, did you just sign up but is this your first time using a hospex site or do you want an easy way to get familiarised with all functions: this guide is your to go! Go through all information one by one, select the chapter you need or go back an forth, there's no right or wrong. If you in the end haven't found what you needed, you can always reach out to our support team.
New to Hospex/Trustroots
The concept of Hospitality Exchange, also known as “accommodation sharing”, “hospitality services” (short “hospex”), and “home stay networks”, refers to centrally organized social networks of individuals, generally travelers, who offer or seek accommodation without monetary exchange. Generally, these services connect users via the internet. Read more about it on this page 'Hospitality exchange'.
We want a world that encourages trust, adventure and intercultural connections.
Our willingness to help each other is universal. Trustroots is completely free to use and will remain so forever.
We believe in beauty, simplicity and transparency.
We emphasize community.
Your profile is the first impression members get about you when opening it. Having a filled out profile can drastically increase your chances of finding a host. It also makes it easier for potential guests to see what kind of person you are. Ideally it should show a bit of your personality, and what kind of guest and or host you will be.
Check out our wikipage 'How To Create A Good Profile' what you can write on/add your profile.
Editing your profile has five tabs:
- Edit profile (here you can write information and add details about yourself);
- Locations (here you can add info about your location and edit your host/meet up options);
- Photo (here you can add a photo with different tools to choose from);
- Networks (here you can connect other (hospitality)networks to your profile);
- Account (here you'll find all kinds of settings for your profile).
When signing up, the conformation email sometimes might take some time. Please wait 24hours from the moment you registered. Be sure to also check your spam folder and be sure the email address you entered when signing up is correct.
Circles are unique to Trustroots. They reflect our current community. They say something about a preferred way of travelling, lifestyles or things members are very passionate about. Feel free to join as many as you want. If you feel there's a circle missing, you can send a suggestion to the team. Every year a couple of volunteers go through the list and see which circles could be implemented.
When using the map you can also select circles to find likeminded members more easily. One of our volunteers made a very convenient video about it, which you can check out here .
We encourage our members to keep an open mind towards members from circles they aren't member of themselves. We can only expand our horizons if we keep an open mind. Nevertheless we must also realise that some circles that say something about someones lifestyle are a serious indication of what to expect, so be sure you feel comfortable with this or look for another option.
The search option will lead to our map. This is the feature that is used to find hosts or members that would like to meet up. There're different way to use the map:
There're different filter functions that you can use at the map: circles, hosts/meet ups, online past 6 months and languages. Be sure when you select filters and want to start over, you use the 'clear filter' option. Else there might be one filter still be active which will effect your search results.
How to select members in the map is shown in the video's mentioned above.
When opening someones profile you'll see the option of 'send a message'. With this option you can privately send a member a message and start a conversation. With each conversation you start you'll see a tip like 'tell your host why you're on a trip'. How you start a conversation is the first impression you'll leave with the other member. If you're new to hospex, be sure to read How to write a hosting request. Above the text box you'll see three automatic responses you can use in the conversation. It always great if you answer quickly so please use them when needed. When you have time you can reply more extensive.
For each message you receive, you should get an email notification. However some accounts flag messages from Trustroots automatically as spam. If you log in and see you received a message but not got an email notifications, still is probably the case. Be sure to mark Trustroots as safe to avoid this in the future. When your browser supports it, you can also allow notifications through your browser. When going to your profile, you can see if your current browser supports this option.
Hosting is what makes this platform possible of course. Without hosts, no options to stay with local while traveling. Since it's called hospitably exchange, make sure you want to offer hosting as much as you want to be a guest somewhere. Start with hosting is also a good way to get some experiences before you hit the road yourself.
If you can't host when joining, be sure to write down why. It's always good for other members to read your reasons because again: it represents you as a person. Your chances to get hosted while don't offer it yourself can also increase if you write down why. Know that if you don't host, you won't be visible on the map so other members can't see you. If you are willing to host: be sure to write down any form of hosting you're willing to offer. Some have a garden and allow their guests to pitch up their end, others can only literally offer a couch and we have members who can't host themselves but have family who is willing to. The better your hosting description is, the better your chances of avoiding miscommunication.
To highlight all that's important when hosting, we would like to refer to our page how to be a good host.
We have page devoted to how to be a good guest. It seems so logic maybe to most, but it can never hurt to read through the page and see if you read anything you haven't thought of.
Our meet-up function is a great one to use when you want to meet up with other members that are local, passing by or when you're travelling yourself of course but couldn't find a host. If you're not hosting yourself but you do want to be an active member, this feature is a great tool. A meet up can be offering to guide someone, have a drink, share a meal, organise a weekly boardgames night or simple to hang out. A meet up will stay visible max one month. You can create more than one meet up and can decide for each one the location (in case of a longer trip). One of our colleagues made this great video  about how to make a meet up itself.
If you've met members and/or stayed with them, adding them as a contact is a convenient way to easily find them again. It also shows with whom you're connected which gives an idea about yourself. You might be going on a trip and see your friend has a friend in the area you're going to. That's great because since you have a common friend, you might have common interests too! We sometimes get reports about unknown members who add contacts randomly. There're different reasons for it. If you want to avoid misunderstanding, be sure to have contact with the member you want to add, before you add them.
You can find people through Trustroots by name or username. Some members only use aliases so that might make it more difficult to find them. The tool is selected in the menu on the right.
Experiences is the feature we have build in to share your experience with another member. This feature isn't available on the mobile app yet so be sure to open the platform on a desk/laptop to see what it's about. Since it was only released in 2021, most members won't have much experiences collected yet. The longer term users most of the times have more contacts, since that was used before to stay in touch and to show who you know. There's a blog writing about the release of the experiences which explains how it works 
When writing an experience try to stay respectful of others. Be sure your experience is written in the spirit of wanting to help other travellers to get an idea about this host and what they can offer. Try to describe things, not state them. A good standard is: would you understand it if someone wrote this about you? If you had a bad experience, it will also show the option to report a member. This very important in serious cases! Also do reach out if you're not sure how to describe your experience so we can help you out how to deal with the situation.
Experiences can't be changed or removed. Be sure you have given it some thought.
We like to prefer to invest in "trust features" instead of "safety features". We never claim safety, we encourage trust and we have developed some features and tools to help you to "measure" someone's trustworthiness. Of course you can always encounter someone who was very nice when messaging, but in real life, you don't really connect. No worries! Just as in life, you can be honest, talk about it and decide what to do next. Make sure you're prepared, have a back up plan or even have been in contact with other members around who might be able to help.
This whole platform is designed and maintained by volunteers. You can be a part of it! We have a small team and work by the principle of do-ocracy. Therefore no one is told what to do and everyone works on the projects/tasks they like. This also means that sometimes it can take a while before we can fix things, get back to you or be active through social channels for example. Be patient, stay positive but even better: think about what you could do to push things forward yourself. Our team is open for everyone and even the smallest task or temporarily help is greatly appreciated. You can get in touch with support to get an invite to our slack channel.