Cambio Safety Tips for Guests
GoCambio takes safety very seriously, and while the likelihood of things going wrong is low, we want to make sure that all of our guests are prepared in case something does happen. Here are some tips to ensure that both you and your host feel secure during the cambio so that you can focus on spending quality time together.
Are you a host? Take a look at our Cambio Safety Tips for Hosts instead.
Before you arrive
Complete your profile
Fill out your profile with as much information as possible about yourself. Include accurate images so that potential hosts know what to expect. Get mobile and email ID-verified.
Read your host’s profile
Go through your host’s profile carefully before deciding to accept their cambio request. Make sure that they are email and telephone ID-verified.
Read reviews and references
Reviews, particularly from other guests, will give you a good idea of the character of your potential host. While you want a host who is friendly and welcoming, you will be sharing your home with them, so you also want to make sure they are the sort of person you get along with and can trust. References from employers or educational institutions can also give you a second opinion. Read them carefully and look up the names of the referees online to be sure that they are real people. If your host doesn’t have any reviews or references on their profile, ask them to send you some.
Jump online and search for your host on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or LinkedIn to get an idea of the sort of person they are. Their social media profiles should give you an idea of what they get up to in their spare time and whether they’re the sort of person that you want to stay with.
Arrange a Skype call
This is a chance for you to get a feel for your host’s personality and ask any additional questions. After chatting to them, you may decide not to cambio with them, and this is fine. If everything seems okay then use the call to go over the details of how the cambio will work, including safety arrangements. For example, talk over emergency situations. Ask your host to give you their country’s emergency number. Ask for their address and detailed instructions to their home. The more detailed the description the better, especially if you’re travelling to a country you’ve never visited before. Find out if it’s possible for your host to meet you at the airport or train station.
If your host’s profile is incomplete and has no reviews or references, and your host isn’t willing to give you their social media details or chat to you on Skype, then the chances are they are not serious about hosting you. You can tell them that you don’t have enough information to get a good idea of what sort of person they are, and don’t feel comfortable staying with them without this information.
Do your research
Remember that it’s up to you to find out as much as you can about the place you are visiting beforehand so that you are adequately prepared. This includes finding out how the country’s health system works and how it applies to you, common scams, cultural norms and practices, climate, currency and transportation. Familiarise yourself with the location of your country’s embassy, or write down its address.
Purchase travel insurance
Purchase travel insurance for the entire duration of your cambio that covers unlimited medical expenses and repatriation should you need to return home for treatment. Keep the contact number of your insurer and your insurance policy number close by.
Visit your doctor
Stock up on any prescription medication that you will need and get any vaccinations for the country you’re visiting. If you are travelling to a developing country or a tropical region, make this visit sooner rather than later, as some vaccinations need to be taken several weeks before your trip.
Inform others about your trip
Share your itinerary and contact information with a family member, partner or friend. Register yourself with the relevant government travel authority (for example the STEP program in the US, Smart Traveller in Australia).
When you arrive
Be street smart
Keep additional copies of your passport and any important documents such as visas handy in case you lose them. Don’t carry all of your cash and valuables on you all the time. Make sure you have the country’s emergency number and the contact number and address of your host at hand.
Ask for a tour
Get your host to show you around their home and point out all the things you need to know. Ask them how to use their appliances and make sure you have a key to access the place if they’re not at home. Once you’re settled in, ask your host to take you on a quick tour of their local area and show you how to find your way back to their home should you get lost. Remind them to point out places such as the grocery store, pharmacy, medical centre, as well as the nearest bus stop or train station.
If things go wrong
In spite of all your preparation, things can go wrong sometimes that are completely beyond your control. In emergency situations you should always contact emergency services as soon as possible. Whether you need the police, an ambulance or a firefighter, make sure you contact those who have the skills and training to help. Afterwards, call your insurer and talk to them about options available to you.
We want all of our members to be happy and secure on cambio. For more information about safety, visit our Safety page.
Interested in travelling the world for free as a cambio guest? Take a look at our FAQs for guests.
COVER IMAGE CREDIT: Chris Fithall