What sorts of things have you been asked if you provide by guests? Have you thought "oh great idea!" and purchased them? Or been confused that anyone would expect a host to have this for guest use? Here are some from our experiences.
-Fishing gear. Nope, we don't.
-Camping gear. Again, no.
-Bicycles. No, but I have thought about getting some old bikes. Not really a great place to cycle near us though.
-High chair. No, we don't host infants at this point.
-Breakfast. No. Though we do leave snacks for guests.
-A laptop for guests to use. No.
- Sheets and towels. Of course.
-Firewood. We provide a duraflame for indoors and do not provide wood for the firepit. We did at one point but it was impossible to keep up with how much got burned by some guests.
-Pet beds. No but I have thought about getting one as we are pet-friendly. Will likely provide one in the future.
-Entertainment. No, not sure what type of entertainment the potential guests in this case wanted, but we are not on site. I guess I could sing to them over the phone?
-A steamer for clothing. Not at this time.
-A flat iron. Not at this time.
What about you my fellow hosts?
In the initial request, it's usually just been ordinary household stuff like
- iron/ironing board
- hair dryer
- rice cooker
Easy to accommodate. But during the stay, some people's requests got more interesting:
- Berghain guest-list
Adding these things as listing features was not under consideration.
@Helen3 Since I shared living space with guests from many different cultures and gender identities, I preferred to avoid stocking the guest toiletry basket with items that might have seemed too gendered or presumptuous. I realize that some women would find it a thoughtful gesture; others might perceive it as getting all up in their business, and I can't always tell which it's going to be. No matter what guests ask for, I'll advise them where to get it - including the not-so-legal things on that list - and feminine hygiene products are sold at the 24-hour convenience store directly downstairs.
If you had to choose, would you rather privately choose the product that best suits your body, or use whatever thing a guy picked out and stuffed into a basket next to the soap and tissues?
What I found funny was the idea that two guys might have just had some spare tampons in our personal stash, even though they weren't in the welcome package.
If there's an emergency most women would prefer to be offered a variety of sanitary products even if it's not the one they normally use. @Andrew0
no-one is going to want to get up and dressed to visit a chemist in the middle of the night to get some tampax.
I have a separate small basket with these and mention them in my guide book and as I show female guests around . I have had quite a few mention how thoughtful/reassuring it is to have them there.
I can't see why any woman would take offence to you doing so.
I wouldn't put them in the main guest toiletry basket z
@Helen3 We also have an app-based delivery service that gets pretty much any grocery item you want (spaghetti, ice cream, beer, vodka, chips, tampons or pads, Corona self-tests, masks, toilet paper, condoms, Bratwurst, lemonade...) to your doorstep within 10 minutes of ordering. They're even faster than the illegal drug taxis. And we were way behind a lot of other big cities in having services like this - it was only during Corona that we caught up to the Manhattan and Tokyo of like 20 years ago. So in this situation, someone who is having an "emergency" that can be resolved with a consumer product can take advantage of the benefits of being in an urban center. If I were hosting in a rural or suburban location with fewer conveniences, I'd go the extra mile to make a broader range of convenience items available to guests. But here, my closest competitors are youth hostels, and I supply far more inclusive amenities to my guests than they do.
If I resume hosting after this interminably long pandemic is over, I might put some thought into how to be more conscientious of women's needs. But my target clientele will always be fully independent travelers who anticipate their own bodily requirements and don't consider something as ordinary as menstruation to be an "emergency." I have a First Aid kit for unexpected circumstances, and I guess there's no reason I couldn't throw a few tampons into it, but when I have guests traveling with common chronic conditions like diabetes or HIV, I presume that they have packed their own medications and don't need me to have their supplies on hand to spare them a late-night trip to the chemist.
Andrew you were the one who mentioned women could get sanitary products from a 24/7 chemist. Now you are saying they can get it delivered within 10 minutes via an app. Certainly not a facility we have in our major cities here.
@Andrew0 however an independent traveller a women might be, many women have little control over when we might have our periods.
Implying that a lack of sanitary towels or tampax is because we fail to 'anticipate our bodily requirements' does show a lack of understanding around our cycles. Having periods is not the same as having a medical condition such as HIV or Diabetes !!!
Anyway provide sanitary towels/tampax or not absolutely your choice. For me I provide them just as I do shampoo, soap, conditioner, etc - all of which I'm sure your guest can pick up from your 10 minute delivery app.
@Helen3 Most of the convenience items I've left in the welcome package have gone unused, except for the tissues. Those are understandably popular, considering how bad the air quality can be here and how many other irritants find their way into people's noses. Other than that, I tend to choose people with an independent mindset who are thoughtful enough to supply their own personal goods, and aren't looking for me to be their personal drugstore.
I won't pretend to have a lived experience of women's body cycles, but I'd think that a budget traveler who chose over all options to book a flat-share with two men would also know how to pack her own necessities. 99.5% of the time, that has been the case. But for what it's worth, if the government were to raise my taxes to make these products universally available in all public places to women who needed them, I would enthusiastically support it. I'm not trying to make it harder for anyone to get what they need, I'm just threading the needle of what it makes sense to provide for the very small amount of profit that's actually possible in an oversaturated market.
@Carly47 Let the record show, I'm the last person in the world who could hold it against someone for having a rant! And especially @Helen3, whose perspective I really respect. Even if we have different conclusions about what hosts are obliged to provide to guests, I've learned a lot from my female guests and from all the awesome people who contribute to this forum about how to be considerate of guests' needs that might not always be intuitive to me as a cis man.
For what it's worth, my homestay listing tended to attract a lot of young women solo travelers who said they felt the safest place for them to stay was a home with a gay couple. We didn't shower them with tampons, but we showed them a great time!
Ironically, I have maintain a stock of emergency toothpaste, tooth brushes, floss, deodorant, sanitary napkins, panty-liners, eye drops, and disposable shavers. To date not a single guest has requested any of these items. I usually end of up giving them to family members before they expire, and then restock.
Maybe my female guests have done what I did in my younger days when I always kept a ziplock bag of feminine hygiene supplies in my luggage, because as you said, a woman cannot control when her girlfriend wants to come on the trip, too.