by Shyla Esko Bare
Few, if any, countries still have Covid-19 restrictions in place, although some regions are seeing an upswing. After years of limited travel, mask wearing, and showing vaccination cards, the easing of rules seems liberating to some. To others it is worrisome.
Some members have indicated they do not want travelers in their home who are not vaccinated. Please know that you don’t have to. Servas hosts can set house rules that travelers are expected to follow. These can range from a shoes-off policy to a curfew, or even how long a shower can be. Some rules may seem odd or restrictive; but they may be the cultural norm or in place for a specific reason. I once stayed with farmers in Australia who were experiencing a drought: the house rule was no shower and I had to bring bottled water for brushing my teeth.
Along these lines, some hosts may have rules about Covid-19. They may ask to see a vaccination card, request travelers test before coming to their home, or require masking. If you are a host, decide what is comfortable for you, and set your house rules accordingly. The important thing is to communicate them to a traveler before they arrive. Travelers, please be respectful of any house rules that are in place. If you don’t feel like you can follow a rule (Covid-related or otherwise), let the host know and find a different place to stay. Traveling with Servas is a privilege not a right.
Servas does not have a policy requiring members being vaccinated (click here for US Servas Covid 19 Host and Travel Policy). Instead, the organization promotes open dialog on the topic. Hosts and travelers should share their expectations with other members.
If you are a Servas host and/or traveler, please consider your Covid-19 requirements and expectations. Most importantly, put them on your profile so others can see them. Many hosts currently state that travelers requesting stays must be current with Covid-19 vaccinations. If this is important to you, add it to your host profile. If you request a stay as a Servas traveler,and a host asks your vaccination status, please answer honestly. Some travelers include it on their Letter of Introduction (LOI).
To update your Servas host or traveler profile log-in to the Servas International website(www.Servas.org). If you have questions on how to update your profile, look for the blue, speech-bubble icon labeled Help/Ayuda at the top of each webpagewhichtakes you to user help in multiple languages.
US Servas Host/Travelers can also visit our US Servas webpage Servas International Website Help for tips on using the Servas International website. You must be logged in to access this page. It includes guides and videos on how to update host and traveler profiles.