When you're on vacation, there often comes a time when the streets become too noisy and the crowds too thick. With the help of a local chumaround host, getting off the beaten path is a lot easier than it once was, and the resulting adventures you have help to create some of life’s sweetest moments. So why should we try to get off the beaten path?
1. To Have the Ultimate Adventure - Everyone loves a good adventure! Regardless of how you define adventure, we all crave that adrenaline rush we often get when we encounter something new or do something fun. Sometimes wandering away from the touristy crowds and doing something different, in and of itself creates that sense of adventure.
2. To Expand Your Perspective - Getting off the beaten path can open your eyes to ways of life that you wouldn’t have ever known otherwise. With countless new experiences, it won’t be long before you realise that the world is a lot bigger than you once thought; that there’s a lot of different and fun ways to go about things and to live. If you’re open and willing to learn as you wander, you’ll return home with a broader understanding of the world and perhaps valuable lessons that will help you succeed in other aspects of your life.
3. To Get Some Privacy - There are people that enjoy the hustle and bustle of popular spots, but there are also many who travel to get away from all the noise. When you get off the beaten path, you create a unique opportunity to find those private beaches, secret markets, and local hangouts.
4. To Create Meaningful Relationships - When you’re standing in long boring lines listening to boring memorized scripts, you really don’t have much opportunity to build lasting relationships. But when you go off the beaten path, you’ll find yourself in a greater position to make new friends, whether fellow travelers or locals alike, and it is often these people who become our closest friends.
5. To Gain Knowledge - There’s a lot you can learn when you get off your bump and get out there and do new things. Getting off the beaten path can teach us many things that a formal education might never teach us. For example, when you’re doing things off the beaten path, you’re not only learning about where those places are on a map, but you’re also learning about economics, politics, history and sociology. This gives us endless opportunities to learn other skills such as navigation, money managing, and more.
When you decide to wander off the beaten path, you shouldn't simply jump on a random bus in Bangkok and let it take you out to the middle of nowhere unless you have some idea of what lies ahead. Particularly in some of the sketchier places around the world you always need to consider your own personal safety first. So with that said, we remind you that while it’s great to get off the beaten path, you’ll be much safer, have more meaningful experiences, and build lasting relationships when you book a local host who can guide your journey.
Chumaround allows all hosts to determine the hourly rate they’d like to earn whilst chumming around with visitors. This leads many people to ponder the question: What rate do I charge?
Good news! It’s not that hard to figure out. Here are the steps in determining how much to charge people for for each hour that you Chum Around with them.
Determine the average hourly rate in your city
Multiply the average hourly rate by 2.5
For example: If the average hourly rate for jobs in your city is $10 per hour. You should be charging at least $25 per hour for your services ($10x2.5). In this scenario, $25 should be the lowest amount you charge for your services in your city. From this base rate you can increase how much you charge per hour based on what you can offer your hosts as compared to other host offerings in your city.
If you’re wondering why you should 2.5x the average hourly rate in my city - here’s the explanation. There are certain costs of doing business that become instrumental in determining your rate. You might need to pay for a taxi or bus fare to get to your meeting point. Perhaps you’ll be buying a cup of coffee when you meet. Unless your guests agree, they are not required to pick up additional cost associated with your meeting, so you should be at a minimum be earning the average hourly rate in your city multiplied by 2.5 to make sure any additional cost associated with your meeting will be covered.
Don’t sell yourself short
When you set your hourly rate, the last thing you should be doing is setting a low price because you believe more people will book your because you offer the lowest price. In fact, if you set a lower price to entice hosts, you’re likely to get less bookings. Travellers that use ChumAround are not booking a host because of their hourly rate. They are booking hosts because they want a new way to experience a city. They want to hang out with someone that shares common interest; someone that enjoys doing the same types of activities. It’s important to understand that people are paying you for the value of your service, not the perceived value of your time.
Is what you will show and do with people unique? Perhaps you know how to bypass long lines at local landmarks or theme parks. Maybe you know the best places to take amazing photos in your city. Maybe you speak multiple languages or a language that few other people around you know. When you write your description, make sure you include any and all unique things you can offer your guests. The more unique your offering, then the higher hourly rate you will be able to charge.
Is what you provide in high demand? Maybe you can get free entrance to some local nightlife venues or theme parks. Maybe you’re a model, celebrity, sports star, or professional athlete. Maybe you simply offer the best host service and highest ratings in your city. If you’re a host that can give people access to things that are unique or in high demand then you are providing a premium service and you should be charging a much higher rate than the average local host.
In summary, make sure the hourly rate you choose reflects exactly what you’d like to earn for every hour your chumming around with your guests. If you believe you can offer people an opportunity to activities or see things that are very unique as compared to other hosts in your city, then make sure you add the details to your description and charge an hourly rate that reflects the value of your service.
To make sure you have the best possible experience while visiting new cities, get started by reading these simple tips about setting up your chum around and interacting with your future hosts.
1. Update your profile page: Chumaround provides a unique service compared to many travel related platforms, because we allow both the guest and the host to make a mutual decision on whether they will meet and chum around together. As a guest, you will be able to review the profiles of local hosts and then send a booking request for the specific dates and times you’re interested in visiting their city. The potential hosts you contact will not only check their availability, but they will also review your profile description and interests. If they discover you both have similar passions, then it’s more likely they will accept your booking request.
2. Make it easy for people to recognize you: When you meet your host for the first time, it's important it's easy to find each other. From your profile page, make sure you upload a recent photo that makes it easy for people to recognize you. This photo should be a photo of only you; from the shoulders up; no sunglasses; no pets; and most importantly– a big smile!
3. Search for hosts with similar interests: Chumaround makes it easy to connect with people who have similar passions to your own. When you connect with like-minded people you’ll be able to experience a city your way and do the types of things you most enjoy. Start by searching for a hosts that shares similar interests. Once you narrow your search, you can learn more about the host by reading their listing and profile pages. You'll find that when you connect with people with similar interests, you’ll be able to have an amazing experience and make real friendships everywhere you go. Meeting new people and turning them into lifelong friends could be the best part of your visit.
4. Contact multiple hosts: Increase your chance of connecting with a local host by sending booking requests to multiple hosts at once. You will have the opportunity to choose an offer that is the best fit and value for your needs. It is also important to realize that not all hosts are available for the selected dates and hours you may want to chum around.
5. Mark Chumaround email alerts as - Not Spam: When you communicate with hosts on Chumaround, you’ll receive a message alert on your dashboard, and we’ll send you an email letting you know a host has responded to your request. To make sure you receive these emails, it’s extremely important that you login to your email account and designate all messages from ChumAround as “Not Spam”.
7. Create a game plan: Before you connect with your host, make sure you talk about your interest and get suggestions on things they recommend you do together. Knowing the duration, routes, places to visit, timing and possible meeting points will save time and make things run more smoothly. Make sure you also ask about any additional expenses that are not included in their price, such as transportation, entrance fees or any third party services.
6. Keep communications on Chumaround: We strongly recommend to communicate with your host via Chumaround to make sure there is a record of your interaction in case of any disputes that may arise. Contact your hosts whenever you need to inform them about any changes to your plans.
8. Consider leaving a tip: Tipping is never mandatory, but if your host really entertained you and provided an amazing experience then showing your gratitude is always welcome.
9. Write a review: Reviews are critical for helping ChumAround to grow as a credible and trustworthy community and are especially valuable for local host who want to build their reputation and experience. Hosts are appreciate when you ‘rate’ your chum around experiences, because it helps give them an idea of what worked, what didn’t work, and how they can improve their service. When you review your experiences with your hosts, you enable the community to make more informed decisions.
10. Follow the Chumaround Blog: You can chum around with local host when your on vacation, a business trip, relocating, or just hanging out in a nearby city. To get the most from each and every new chum around, we highly recommend you follow the tips and suggestions on the official ChumAround Blog – “The Art of Chumming”. Always be the first to know when a new post hits the blog. Enter your email address here.
Contact us if you experience any trouble or have any questions about your booking before, during or even after your chum around. We are always ready to help.
Here's a list of 6 good reasons on why you should hire a host for your next trip.
1. Gain deeper insight into a city: Local hosts can show a more edgy, more beautiful and more authentic version of a city. They can show you what’s happening ‘behind the scenes’; the hidden gems, local customs, rituals and etiquette. They can teach you basic conversation skills, give you transportation suggestions, safety tips, and more. Whether you want to explore the underground culture in Berlin, the local art scene of Paris or even the best dive bars in Prague, a local host’s intimate knowledge will introduce you to a more unique experience than you’d ever get from a pre-packaged tour.
2. Enjoy and out-of-the-box experience: Other platforms are perfect for curated tours, but ChumAround thrives on a more local, personal experience. Local hosts can show a more edgy, more beautiful and more authentic version of a city. They can show you what’s happening ‘behind the scenes’; the hidden gems, local customs, rituals and etiquette. They can teach you basic conversation skills, give you transportation suggestions, safety tips, and more.You and your host have the freedom to decide what activities you want to do. You can take a turn down any twisty street, or browse any fancy shop that catches your eye, giving you the option to make on-the-spot decisions and enjoy whatever comes your way.
3. Connect with like-minded people: In just a few minutes you can search for local hosts in the cities you plan on visiting. You can find a host for a vacation destination, or search for a host in a city just around the corner from where you live. You'll be able to read their descriptions and learn about their interests and hobbies. You’ll also be able to read the reviews and recommendations left by other users. This makes it easy for you to connect with people that share similar interests. In this way, you’ll find yourself meeting people local and abroad that enjoy doing the things you love to do.
4. Save time and money: Whether you enjoy shopping, nightlife, museums, or landmarks, navigating a new city or a place you’re unfamiliar with can be very time consuming and exhausting. Sometimes, you spend so much time being lost, you have little time to really enjoy the experience itself. That’s why having a local host is a great idea. Just think about how much time you’ll save trying to figure out where to find the best restaurants, parties, local goods and best prices.
5. Support locals you know and like: When you book a local host on ChumAround, you eliminate the expensive middle-man; the tour companies that charge high prices and pay a small amount back to the people that actually do the guiding. When that happens, you contribute directly to the people you've met and connected with; the student trying to earn tuition money; the mother saving a family vacation; the retiree searching for something to do in their free time. Every time you book a local host on ChumAround, you’ll have peace knowing the money you spent is helping to support the local people you’ve met.
6. Make international friends: If you’ve ever participated in touring a city via a curated tour with a pre-packaged itinerary, then you know the feeling of walking around in a large group of people listening (or maybe not) to your guide spout some historical facts and figures in a script they’ve memorized and perfected over hundreds of tours before you. And when you’re finished you may not remember anything they said. You might never have learned their name. On ChumAround, when you book a local host, you’re booking an unscripted experience with someone that shares similar interests. When you chum around with someone like you, you’ll find it much easier to meet people and make new friends everywhere you go.
You don’t need any special skills, experience or talents to become a host on ChumAround, but there are many things you can do to improve your chances of connecting with more guests and receiving high ratings. Here’s a list of 10 tips that will help you become an amazing local host.
1. Update your profile page: ChumAround makes it easy for people with similar interests to connect and enjoy cities together. Before someone books you as a host, they will most likely view your profile page to learn more about who you are, your hobbies, and interests. When you take the time to create a very descriptive profile page, it will make it easier for people that share similar interest to connect with you. If you and your guests are a good fit, they will be more apt to have an amazing experience when you chum around your city.
2. Make it easy for people to recognize you: There’s a saying: “A smile is the shortest distance between two people.” It’s important to understand that the photo you upload on your profile page will be the featured photo that users see when they search Chumaround, whereas the photos you upload to your listing page will be your gallery photos. On your profile page, we recommend that you upload an image that makes it easy for people to recognize you. This photo should be a photo of only you; from the shoulders up; no sunglasses; no pets; and most importantly– smile! A photo with a genuine smile will attract more people to your host booking page.
3. Create an enticing booking page: After you’ve created an amazing profile page and added an amazing feature photo, you can create your host booking page. This is the place you’ll be able to share more details of what a guest can expect when they chum around with you. Here you can add some additional photos that create a gallery to make it easy for people to recognize you. Then add a title/motto that is short, clever – above all memorable. Finally, take your time to create a description of the things you might do when people visit your city. Talk about those hidden gems you can show them that are a bit off the beaten path, or explain how you might save them money by showing them great places to shop while avoiding tourist traps. Make sure you're description is written in such a way that it sets you apart from other hosts. It's your time to shine!
4. Create listings in nearby cities: Perhaps you live in a city that is located in proximity of many other cities your familiar with and you’d like to host visitors in multiple cities. From one ChumAround account, you can create and manage a host booking page for every city you’d like to host in. Once you complete your profile page, simply click Become a Host button and create a new listing for each city you’d like to host in. You can manage all your listings by navigating to the My Listings tab on your dashboard.
5. Mark Chumaround emails as - Important: When a potential guest sends you a booking request, Chumaround will immediately send an email to the address you’ve listed on your account. It’s important that you receive the booking request and respond quickly. It’s extremely important that you review your email account and designate all messages from ChumAround as “Important”.
6. Get to know your guest: To make the chum around a great experience for your guests, learn what they expect of you as early as possible and also explain what you offer them. One of the quickest ways to learn about a guest is to visit their profile page. Once you read their personal description and interests, you'll be ready to start brainstorming about all the amazing things you can show them during their visit.
7. Create a game plan: On Chumaround, you're not offering pre-packaged itineraries and you do not need to memorize any scripts, but it's a good idea to create a basic game plan before you meet. Make sure to discuss some offer some suggestions on what you might do with your guest in advance. Knowing the duration, routes, places to visit, timing and possible meeting points will save time and make things run more smoothly. Make sure you inform your guests of any additional expenses they might incurr, such as meals, transportation, entrance fees or any other services.
8. Communicate on Chumaround: We strongly recommend to communicate with your guest via Chumaround to make sure there is a record of your interaction in case of any disputes that may arise. Contact your guests whenever you need to inform them about any changes to your plans.
9. Keep it classy: Relax! When meeting your guests, make sure you are rested, in a good mood and eager to start having fun on the chum around. Be diligent and don’t be late. If you happen to be behind schedule, please call your guest and let him or her know. Have your phone turned on and charged at all times on the day of your chum around.
10. Follow the Chumaround Blog: Luke had Yoda. The Karate Kid had Mr. Miyagi. You get the picture. Mentors are vital to your success in anything. That’s why it’s important you follow the ChumAround Blog – “The Art of Chumming”. Here you will get weekly tips and suggestions on ways you can become a better host and receive more bookings. Always be the first to know when a new post hits the blog. Enter your email address here.
Contact us if you experience any trouble or have any questions before, during or even after your chum around. We are always ready to help.