One of the most daunting obstacles of travel is MONEY. Most notably: how can a teacher (on a teacher’s salary) pay for a hotel every night? Thank goodness there are innovative international communities to make exploring the world more affordable!
What follows is a first-hand account from one of the “Facilitators” behind the teacher-traveler hospitality network, Teachers Travel Web. Take it away, Chris!
Our adventure with the hospitality exchange network called Teachers Travel Web started in 2003, when we became members and were hosted by founders Mike and Tricia in their New Zealand home.
With our 45th birthdays on the horizon, we decided to step out of our daily routine for a while. So my husband Peter and I (I’m an English teacher in Belgium) took a sabbatical, bought round-the-world tickets and off we went to travel for a whole year.
And what an exceptional year it was! Afterwards, people often asked us about the most beautiful spots or impressive sights. That was always a difficult one, because everything has a beauty all of its own. But we both agree on one thing: it’s mainly the people we met who made the most lasting impressions.
We were on a budget, of course, and half the time our little tent was our home. However, with Teachers Travel Web, for no accommodation cost at all, we had very welcome breaks from our sleeping bags and from the occasional backpackers’ hostels, and enjoyed the luxury of a real bed, a comfy chair, a bathroom.
For a low yearly membership fee and no other costs at all, TTW members can enjoy three types of hospitality with each other: short “home hosting” stays with the hosts (for a maximum of three nights), home exchanges and house sits.
Perhaps most importantly, using TTW offered us the opportunity to meet people, to get a unique taste of local life during our short stays with them, and to get lots of tips and support. We stayed with Teachers Travel Web members in New Zealand, the USA and Canada and remained in contact with them ever since.
Soon, it turned out that Mike and Tricia did not have enough time anymore to run the website and the TTW network. We felt it would be a shame to see it disappear, because it had contributed so much to our own experience. We wanted other people to be able to share this, too. So we took over, and are now the “facilitators” of Teachers Travel Web.
We have enjoyed hosting members from New York and Phoenix, Arizona. We’ve recently stayed, ourselves, with members in Germany, the Netherlands, and Bruges (which is only 100 kilometers from our home, but hey, sometimes the nicest destinations and people are right around the corner!)
Our objective with TTW is to create many more hospitality opportunities by attracting lots of new members all over the world. We updated the existing website, founded a non-profit organization, started some low-cost advertising, and hope that the word will spread!
Thanks to the membership fee, we ensure that people only join when they really intend to participate. So all our members are “for real”, even if the offer is still limited. The membership fee is currently only 15 to 20 Euro for a whole year (and lower for two years): less than the price of just one night in a budget hotel.
Apart from discouraging people who would otherwise join out of curiosity only, this income helps the non-profit organization to cover the cost of the website and some promotion.
We hope to meet you in our Members’ Area soon. Happy traveling!