AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND — Many Servas travelers stay with hosts not because of where they live, but who they are. Member countries produce host-list booklets that include biographical material and other information.
Most countries have at least at few hosts; some have hundreds. Countries ranging from Japan to Kenya and from Russia to Brazil are well represented. Europe and North America, along with India, Australia, and New Zealand, have the most hosts. Servas members in the United States also are welcome to call on hosts when traveling in the States.
To join as a host or traveler, one must meet with a Servas interviewer. Travelers also must prepare a letter of introduction for certification by the US Servas office in New York. This letter is shown to hosts.
Dues are $65 a year for travelers; a $35 contribution is requested from hosts.
Travelers can write, phone, or sometimes e-mail prospective hosts. If there's enough time, this can be done upon arrival. Hosts are under no obligation to receive travelers, who may have to contact several hosts to find one who can accommodate them. Accommodations can range from very comfortable to really roughing it -from a giant cushy bed to a cushion on the floor. It's a good idea to bring along a sleep sheet (a sheet where the top and bottom sheets are stitched together in one neat package).
Information about joining Servas is available by e-mailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org, visiting their Web page at servas.org, or calling them at (212) 267-0252. Their mailing address is 11 John St., Suite 407, New York, NY 10038.