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Travel Guide Help and Explanation
Since the beginning we have wanted to make the Hospitality Club as interactive as possible. We wanted to give you, the members all power to help each other and build a great resource. Programming was the bottleneck - but now we got it ready. Any member can now edit and contribute to any of the new sections on the site. We call this Travel Guide - also the sections that are not exactly that, but which you can edit as well (Who is coming?, HC Meetings...).
Please contribute as much as you can to the Travel Guide. We hope that it will quickly become one of the most valuable travel resources on the internet, and that this way more people will be attracted to the wonderful idea of hospitality exchange. So please share your knowledge with other members and the internet community. If you do not know how to format a link, or are not sure about wording just enter your thought anyway - other users will refine and correct it.
To make this fun and smooth for all of us, there are a few things to keep in mind:
Don't violate copyright! Don't violate copyright! Don't violate copyright! This is the most important thing to remember. Only post text you have written yourself. Otherwise the Hospitality Club might get into serious legal trouble. If you notice copyrighted material anywhere on this site, please send us feedback immediately, and we will remove it. You can embed images that are hosted on other websites, but only if you have permission to do so.
By contributing any text on the Hospitality Club site, you declare that you do not violate any copyright doing so. You declare that you are responsible for all text entered. You agree that the Hospitality Club can use all text entered on the site in any way - publishing it on the internet or in print, or licensing it to other websites. We will use your contributions to further spread the idea of hospitality exchange - possibly offering it to other websites if they link back to the Hospitality Club, or maybe putting it all together in Guidebooks one day to raise funds for the club.
As any member can edit any text, there will be differing opinions on different subjects. Please don't delete opinions you do not like. Rather - refine them. For example, if another member has written "The best way to get from Madrid to Barcelona is by train.", but you disagree and believe people should hitchhike, simply add your thought - "While some people think the best way to get from Madrid to Barcelona is by train, others love to hitchhike between these cities." This is just an example, but you probably get the message. Work together - don't simply delete someone elses work, but enrich it. If you do big changes to a text someone else has written, please save a backup copy and send the original author a message with your new text. Communicate!! It is probably also a good idea for you to privately save texts you have written, so you can quickly restore them should someone else delete them, accidentally or on purpose. Of course, we also do routine backups.
We encourage you to correct information that you know is false, correct grammar, links and wording as well. But if in doubt - always check back with the original author.
Any member can edit any area. Still, we do not want to see abuse here. No commercial advertising, no spam - Offtopic Messages can be posted into that category. For this reason, we do not allow external links in the different sections - please add them in the External Links section (see below). If you see serious or repeated abuse, please send us a feedback message - we will take care of it, either blocking the offending user, or maybe posting a comment into his/her profile. Please don't delete the spam you find, but notify us and let us check it out.
You can use "safe html" like <h3> or <b> to format text. If you don't know HTML, please just learn to add <br> at the end of each paragraph to break text into a new line. Approved html tags are listed on the edit page. To make subheadings in a category, just use this code: <b>Heading</b>.
There are two types of links: Internal Links - links to other pages on the Hospitality Club site and External Links - links to other pages on the internet. To keep the site free of promotional drops and spam we do not allow External Links in any other category than the one called External Links. We do not want anyone to sign up with the club just to be able to put a link to his or her website. If you find links anywhere, please move them to the External Links section. Some sample links - remember to always include " : <a href="travel.php?cid=username">username</a> (link to a profile), <a href="membersrcexternal.php?country=20&xcountry=Belgium" >Belgium</a> (link to a country, just get the string from your location bar), <a href="travel_information.php?wgInfo=Germany:@:Tourist_Traps" >Tourist Traps in Germany</a> (again, best to get the string from your location bar, just try it). It works the same way for links to cities or regions - we encourage you to always link the relevant page of the HC site, when you mention a country, region or city, or a category of the Travel Guide.
We have decided to set up a large number of categories, so it's easier to decide which one to write something for. Below you will find help and explanation for all the categories - please quickly read this info before editing a category so you know what should be included in there. If you edit categories and still find instruction text in there, just delete it (it's there as default if no text has been entered yet). Please let us know if you think we should set up other categories, or maybe rename some of the existing ones.
Main Country/Region/City Page Introduction Here we would like to have an introductory paragraph about every country, region and city. This should catch people's interest, make them want to visit. Some questions you could answer here: Why should members come? What can they expect, travel wise and Hospitality Club wise? Please keep it brief - to one paragraph, you can add much more extensive information in the Travel Guide.
Top Things to See and Do Please just make a simple list separated by commas here - more info in the Travel Guide. As always, please include internal links to the relevant pages of the Hospitality Club site (like city or region pages). The purpose of this list is to give a quick overview of the most interesting stuff in this place, and also to be a navigational help.
Neighboring countries Please add links to those countries here. Nothing else - just a help for surfing around the site. Here is an example for the code to use: <a href="membersrcexternal.php?country=20&xcountry=Belgium" >Belgium</a>
Nearby cities/suburbs Please add links to nearby towns or suburbs of the place. This way, travelers can contact people who live in not so famous places. Sample link format: <a href="membersrcexternal.php?xregion=Sachsen&country=73&city=Dresden" >Dresden</a>
Who is coming? Just add your user name (with a link to your profile - format: <a href="travel.php?cid=username">username</a>) and basic info (date and places you will visit) about your trip here, maybe other members will invite you or meet up with you on the road. Use your profile to tell more about your plans. So this can be useful to get invitations or to find travel companions.
Want more guests! Add your user name here (with a link to your profile) if you would like to receive more visitors - you should get more requests if listed here, even if you live in a small town off the beaten track, or in a city with many members. This is one of our main goals: we want to encourage travelers to go visit people and not just run along in the stream of tourists, and then look for a cheap place to crash in Paris, New York or London (although that's fine, too, of course). So hosts living in small places can actively use this feature to invite travelers to their place, and guests who really want an intercultural experience in the country they visit can find friendly people here..:-)
Hospitality Club Meetings If you would like to invite other members to an activity or meeting, add the info here. Invite other members to things you organize anyway, like parties, or when you go on a hike, or whatever. Please use the Main Page for a short teaser and then add detailed info in the Travel Guide section.
Travel Guide Categories A-Z
Here you can find information on all categories in the Travel Guide - to make them easier to find we have organized them from A-Z. Please quickly read the info for the category you want to edit so you know what should be included there and what might be better in other categories.
Accommodation Here you can suggest other accommodation options, either for times when you are not available, or when members would prefer to get accommodation and meet up with other members apart from that. We have suggested following headings: Hostels, Hotels, Camping, Other Options.
Activities and Sports List things active visitors could do - running, sailing, bungee jumping... Also spectator sports (local soccer games etc.) that could be interesting to see.
Arts Here you can share information about the local arts scene. We have set up a few headings (Music, Literature, Theater, Movies), but feel free to add new ones or remove some that are not relevant.
Attractions and Things to See and Do This is definitely one of the most important categories. Here you can add all information about things you would recommend to visit. Break them up with headings (code: <b>Heading</b>) to make it better readable. Two related categories are Off the Peaten Path and Tourist Traps - use them as well.
Basic Facts This category should just list the most important facts about the country, region or city. We have listed a few as a default, feel free to delete some of them, if not relevant or add other ones. Default for countries: Official Country Name: Capital: Population: Telephone Code: Time Zone: Area: sq km Language(s): Ethnic Groups: Highest Mountain: President/Head of State: Government: Currency: Exchange Rate: US$1= Health Risks: Electricity: Weights & Measures: Country Name in other languages: Default for regions: Official State/Region Name: Capital: Population: Telephone Code: Area: sq km Highest Mountain: State/Region Name in other languages: Default for cities: Population: Altitude: Telephone Code: City Name in other languages:
Books and Further Reading Which books or articles can you recommend? Please use Amazon links to the books - we will put info on how to do this here shortly. This way we hope to get a bit of funding for the running of the club, if someone buys the books you recommend. We have set up these default headings: Guidebooks, Travel, History and Politics. If you want to link to other resources on the internet, please use the category External Links.
Borders and Customs Share info about border crossings, special laws to pay attention to when bringing things to a country.
Climate and When to Go How cold does it get in winter? When does it rain? What's the best time of the year to visit?
Culture and Conduct or Local Customs This is the place for information about the local culture, oddities, Do's and Don'ts. Some things might be very obvious, others you can only notice after living in a country for many years: make them visible to the travelers just coming for a while. That's why we started the club after all - to increase intercultural understanding. And let's do it with a smile - some things of our own culture can be quite funny if seen through an outsider's eye.
Dangers and Warnings Have you had bad experiences? Want to warn other travelers? Do it here! Please also check the category Tourist Traps.
Economy Info about the local economy goes here, our suggestions (feel free to modify): GDP, GDP per head, Annual growth, inflation, Major Industries, Major trading partners.
Environment and Flora and Fauna Environmental issues, animals and plants, endangered species - what could be of interest to visitors?
Events and Holidays Supply information about peridic or one-time events. We have suggested these headings: Festivals, Sports, Concerts, Public Holidays.
External Links To keep spam out of our Travel Guide, we have decided not to allow External Links in any category other than this one. We want to avoid people posting promotional drops (example:"There are many kinds of transport in this country, and you can find more information here - Link."). We want to fill the guide with really useful info, not just build a link directory. Of course, there are internet resources that can really help a traveler, so please enter those links here. If they are really useful...:-) One good site always to add is the Official Country/State/City Website. Also, please ask the webmaster of the site you link here to add a link back to the Hospitality Club. If the link exists, please add (L) behind the URL of the link. Here is the HTML code you can use for a link: <a href="http://www.hospitalityclub.org">Hospitality Club</a> A nice site for hospitality exchange...:-)
Food and Drinks and Local Specialties This category can be used to talk about one of the most favorite things when traveling to a different country or area: Local Specialities, be it food or drink, or sweets or whatever. Also, you can add info about Restaurants or other places to get food here. We have set up a few headings, but as always feel free to modify them: Restaurants, Supermarkets, Street Food, Local Specialties.
Geography Mountains, rivers, glaciers, ... - what's important to know?
Government and Politics What is the government structure? Who runs the country? What are current issues that are being debated? Who are the main players?
Health Any health risks in this country or area? How is access to health services? What medications or things should travelers bring? Please be a bit careful with the information you share here.
History Not much explanation needed here - share the history of the country, region or city.
Hospitality Club Meetings Use this section to add more info if you organize meetings and events (you can add a short note on the main country page). You can also invite other members to parties, sports events, whenever you would like to meet up with someone.
Hospitals and Doctors List hospitals and doctors that travelers could go to if an emergency occurs.
Language and Useful Phrases Here, there are no limits to your creativity. Of course the basics (which languages are spoken?) can be covered. But if you want to, teach visitors useful phrases for the road or the pub. Even a few words in the local language can make a difference!
Maps Since we do not have the hosting resources and don't want to buy maps somewhere, we would like to use maps that are hosted elsewhere on the internet. To add them here, two conditions apply: they cannot be protected by copyright, (or you have to make sure that we are allowed to use them), and you have to make sure that it is ok if we call them up from here. If that is a problem, you can also send us the image file and we will upload it to our server. Sample code to add maps: <img border=0 width=200 height=200 src="http://images.hospitalityclub.org/english.gif" alt="Map of Haiti"> .
Media Important ones, small ones, interesting ones - share your insight about local media. What do people read and see? Suggested headings: Newspapers, Radio and TV, Magazines.
Money and Costs The most important questions travelers usually have in this area - how much do things cost (accommodation, food, transport, sights, internet...) and how can I exchange money/pay? So we have set up these headings: Currency, Exchanging Money, Credit Cards, Tipping, Bargaining, Costs.
Nightlife and Entertainment We have set up a few categories (Bars, Cafes, Discos, Cinemas), but as always you can add others or remove some as you see fit.
Off the Beaten Path and Insider Tips Add your very own personal tips of what travelers could do or see. Here we will see if we can really build an interesting Travel Guide that covers areas guidebooks miss. Also check for the category Attractions and Things to See and Do.
Offtopic Messages Here you can add messages that are not exactly related to the aims of the Hospitality Club, but related to the country/state/region. We especially ask you to use this category to post requests for visa invitations, of if you are looking for an internship, job or a flat to rent. Just add this here, and if you are lucky other members will read it and contact you. Remember: do not send messages like this directly to members - after giving you this space here, we will fight spam even more strictly! And in messages these requests ARE considered spam. We know that it can be difficult to find these things, especially in another country, but we started the club to enable people to meet, and not as a real estate, visa or job agency. And we definitely don't want anyone to leave the club, because they get flooded with "Please help me, I am looking for a job in London!"-requests. Add it in this category and if we have friendly members in the club that want to help you, they will find you.
Organized Tours If you have taken a tour or know about one, share your info here.
Other Information Could not fit it into any of the other categories? Put it here...:-) Some other members will hopefully be able to integrate the information into the right category. If you have questions or information that is not really travel- or Hospitality Club-related, please put it into the category Offtopic Messages.
Photos Here you can include photos that are hosted somewhere on the internet. As with maps, you have to make sure that it is ok for us to use the photos here (so they should be either your photos, or you should ask the owner), and that it is allright to call them up from here. This is the HTML code you can use: <img border=0 width=200 height=200 src="http://images.hospitalityclub.org/photo.jpg" alt="Photo of the Main Square">
Population and People Here you can add information about the people in this area, interesting details, oddities. Information about minorities can also be very interesting. Additionally you can use the category Culture, Conduct and Local Customs for cultural insight.
Post and Communications and Internet Here you can list any info about keeping in touch and communications. Explain oddities of the local system, list prices and addresses. We have set up these headings: Post, Telephone, Fax, Internet Access.
Questions and Answers or Forum
Here anything goes, you can post questions you have, and other members will answer you. If you do answer, please send the reply directly to the asking member as well, and try to integrate the information into the other categories. If too difficult to do, just answer right here and a volunteer will integrate in the future. Also, you can put thanks notes in here if some of the info here has been especially helpful. Add new questions on top so they show up on the Travel Guide page. Please post messages not related to traveling or the aim of the Hospitality Club into the category Offtopic Messages.
Religion Which is the dominant religion? How does this become visible? Any things to watch out for/respect?
Shopping What are some good things to buy? Souvenirs or bargains, local specialties?
Suggested Itineraries As default we have set up headings for 1 Day, 1 Week, 2 Weeks, 1 Month, but of course you can modify this if you suggest other itineraries. Think about Walking Tours that could be done by visitors.
Tourist Traps It can be a fine line: what's a tourist trap for you can be a very interesting visit for others. Still, if you consider a place a rip-off or very boring, share your info here. You can also enter basic criticism in the Attractions or Off the Beaten Path categories, but if you really want to tell the world about that hole, do it here.
Transport To make it more readable, please try to stick to the headings we suggested, but of course you can change them if necessary - Getting there and away, Getting around, by Air, Train, Bus, Car, Motorcycle, Boat, Hitchhiking, Bicycle.
Travelogues Have you written a story about a trip to a country, region or city? Just paste your text in here and share your experience with other members. Don't worry about style or language, if it's interesting to read or helpful, share it!
Visa and Documents and Embassies If you know who needs visa to a country please share your information here. Even more so, if you have tips on how to get it. Also, please list addresses and phone or fax numbers for Embassies of the country abroad and in the country here.
Volunteer Opportunities and Work If you know of volunteer organizations that might like to have travelers help (even if just for a day), or know how to get a job for a while, share this info. This is often one of the best ways to get an insight into the culture. If you are LOOKING for a job, please post this into the category Offtopic Messages.
What to Bring or Packing List What should travelers bring, what is hard to get in the country?