FAQ

Have you read through our Canadian Host Responsibilities and Canadian Traveller Guidelines sections? Read on for answers to other frequently asked questions.

General

  1. What does Servas mean?
  2. How much does it cost to participate in Servas?
  3. Why does Servas charge people to travel when other programs (e.g. Hospitality Club) are free?

Travelling

  1. Will I be safe as a traveller or a host?
  2. If I want to travel with Servas, do I have to host?
  3. Could I make my whole journey a trip travelling only with Servas?
  4. Are families welcome to travel with Servas?
  5. I am under 18. Can I travel with Servas without my parents?
  6. If I am a host and want to travel, what is the process and cost?
  7. Can I invite non-Servas people to visit a Servas host with me?
  8. If I have travelled with Servas previously, do I need to complete another interview and references?
  9. What if I can’t find a Servas accommodation during my travels?

Hosting

  1. How often can I expect to host?
  2. Do I have to accept every traveller who asks to stay with me?
  3. If I am a host, am I expected to provide meals and act as tour guide for my guests?
  4. How long is a typical Servas homestay?
  5. Can I share my host details with others?

 

General

1. What does Servas mean?

Servas is an Esperanto word meaning “to serve.”

2. How much does it cost to participate in Servas?

People who host and do not travel do not pay any fees. Travellers pay a fee only when they are travelling. These fees vary depending on age, whether you are a host, and whether you are travelling internationally or nationally. Donations are always welcome.

See fee schedule for details.

3. Why does Servas charge people to travel when other programs (e.g., Hospitality Club) are free?

While run entirely by volunteers, Servas has administrative costs. As an international organization, Servas also has regular conferences, and wealthier countries such as Canada often contribute to enable delegates from impoverished countries to attend.

 

Travelling

1. Will I be safe as a traveller or a host?

When you travel or host with Servas, you know that your prospective hosts or guests have undergone an extensive interview and reference checking procedure, and orientation. Servas also encourages travellers and hosts to report behaviours that are unsafe or otherwise troubling, and these reports are acted on by representatives in the traveller’s or host’s country.

2. If I want to travel with Servas, do I have to host?

You can travel, host or do both activities with Servas.

3. Could I make my whole journey a trip travelling only with Servas?

You should never plan to make your whole journey a Servas trip. While the rewards of experiencing another culture first-hand are tremendous, it takes much effort to be a good guest.

4. Are families welcome to travel with Servas?

Yes, Servas is a great way for families to travel and one of the best ways to expose children to other cultures.

5. I am under 18. Can I travel with Servas without my parents?

Normally you must be 18 years of age or older to travel with Servas. In exceptional circumstances, minors (less than 18 years) may travel without a parent or a legal guardian if both families have agreed ahead of time, in writing, about guardianship and liability.

6. If I am a host and want to travel, what is the process and cost?

Canadian hosts travelling within Canada can visit other hosts without a Letter of Introduction, although you are encouraged to complete the LOI and send it to your prospective hosts as an introduction. There is no fee for this travel. Hosts who have hosted for at least one year may travel internationally for half the regular fee.

7. Can I invite non-Servas people to visit a Servas host with me?

No. All Servas travellers must have an approved Letter of Introduction (LOI) valid for the period of travel.

8. If I have travelled with Servas previously, do I need to complete another interview and references?

If you have not travelled with Servas for the last two years, you need to be re-interviewed if you are travelling internationally. References are required if you have not hosted or had an active Letter of Introduction (LOI) in the last five years.

9. What if I can’t find a Servas accommodation during my travels?

Remember there is no guarantee of finding accommodation with Servas. Some areas do not have hosts. In heavily touristed regions, hosts may have more requests than they can handle. Consider choosing places that are more out of the way, and be aware of vacation season.

 

Hosting

1. How often can I expect to host?

There is no frequency specified for accepting guests. You are not expected to accept guests if it is inconvenient for you to do so, but if someone contacts you pay them the courtesy of responding even if it is to tell them that you are not available.

2. Do I have to accept every traveller who asks to stay with me?

Servas promotes trust, tolerance, and respect so that people can live in peaceful coexistence. When you join Servas, you agree not to discriminate on the basis of race, nationality, ideology, religion, or sexuality.

3. If I am a host, am I expected to provide meals or act as tour guide for my guests?

No, not unless you choose. However you are expected to spend time with guests, getting to know them and sharing information about your respective countries, customs, etc. Always remember that the goal of Servas is to promote peace and cross-cultural understanding.

4. How long is a typical Servas homestay?

Servas visits are usually two nights (three days). In some cases, hosts may invite you to stay longer, which is quite acceptable but you should never ask to stay longer.

5. Can I share my host details with others?

No. Your host details are private, and only for your use during the period that you have an active Letter of Introduction (LOI). Host details contain private information about people who have agreed to its distribution to Servas members only who have been screened and approved as Servas travellers. It is important that you protect the privacy of the information by not sharing it with others and deleting it from any public computer you access.