1. What is BabelTravels?
BabelTravels is a service to match travelers from ataxians’ families and friends with homes around the world interested in hosting them as they travel. It is designed to allow people to contribute to FA research by generating funds as they use the BabelTravels service.
They say that the best antidote to hardships and setbacks is to sharpen one’s wits. I think that at this point nobody would question the downward trend of the economy, and at the same time, we all know that ataxia is a setback that was never part of our plans. Our goal in BabelFAmily is to cure Friedreich’s ataxia, and to do this we must continue funding biomedical research. Up till now, researchers have come a long way in the search for treatments for FA. We’re much closer to reaching our goal than a few years ago. But we can’t allow the economic crisis to halt or even to slow down the researchers’ work. Funding is needed to keep forging ahead and put an end to FA, so that the sun never sets on the research. But the same token, we can’t forget that everyone, with or without ataxia, needs to develop relationships, to get to know other countries, to make new friends and keep the ones we have. BabelTravels provides a means to bring together all these ideas in one place.
2. Who is BabelTravels aimed at?
BabelTravels is for travelers willing to be matched with host homes in their own or other countries, and for those willing to open their homes (during times of their own choice) at no cost to visitors from ataxians’ families and friends.
Most of us would agree that ataxia has changed our lives and the lives of those closest to us. It limits our mobility and sometimes our dreams as well. But nonetheless it has put us in contact with people around the world with whom we now share a common reality. People who understand us, excellent people who dedicate their time to us, who give an encouraging word at difficult times, or a bit of advice that helps us deal with the disease better. Friends geographically close or distant, with whom we can share good times, and who’ve become more than just the people with whom we share our sorrows and fleeting joys. More than once these have become the people to whom we’ve opened both our homes and our hearts.
This idea is aimed at anyone who’d like to temporarily open their home to friends whom they would never ask to pay for it unless it were for a good cause. This message is aimed at those who are determined to push research ahead. It’s also directed at the intrepid and indefatigable globe-trotters who, wheelchair or not, aren’t inclined to let ataxia rule their lives.. It’s aimed at people with open minds who want to widen their circle of friends and who’d prefer a welcoming home to the chilly welcome of a hotel room. It’s directed at those who’d rather take the money that they’d spend on a hotel room, and use it to fund research instead, while still being able to travel to interesting places.
3. I’m interested in BabelTravels, but what do I need to do?
You can participate in this service in either or both of these ways: as a host, and/or as a guest
3.1 As a host:
If you have room in your home to accommodate one or more guests, you can serve as a host by opening your home at no cost. You’ll need to fill out the attached form providing the information requested. This information, including your city and country (or state/province) will be available on the BabelFAmily website’s BabelTravels page for potential travelers to see. But your personal information (name, street address, phone number) will not be displayed. You will be assigned a host code for confidentiality.
It’s very important that a host provide all the information requested. Potential guests will need to know about your home’s accessibility, languages spoken in your home, ages, interests, and dates available in order to make a good host/guest match.
If a potential guest is interested in contacting you about hosting a visit, BabelFAmily will provide you (the host) with their information (age, gender, nationality) to decide if you would like to contact this guest. Once you give BabelFAmily your consent to initiate contact, we can put the process in motion and allow you to contact the potential guest.
When both parties have agreed on dates for a visit, the guest will make a contribution of (1) per guest per day of stay into the BabelFAmily account. Once the contribution is received, both parties will be notified.
Some of the steps described above can be skipped in cases where both parties already know each other, but wish to support FA research by their visit.
DOWNLOAD HOST INFORMATION SHEET HERE
3.2 As a guest:
To be a BabelTravels guest in a host home, you’ll need to complete the attached form with all the requested information. This information, with your confidential information (name, street address, phone number) removed, will appear on the website and may help interested hosts locate a guest who matches their home well. Even if you don’t see a host home that suits your needs in our listing on the website, publishing your own information may improve the chance of a host stepping forward to offer you a suitable home.
DOWNLOAD GUEST INFORMATION SHEET HERE
4.1 BabelFAmily guarantees to maintain the confidentiality of your personal information until an agreement is reached in writing (by email or by postal mail) by both parties (host and guest).
4.2 BabelFAmily expects and is confident that both parties will share information accurately and realistically in order to ensure a good match and the best use of each party’s resources.
4.3 BabelFAmily declines all responsibility in case of difficulties encountered by any host/guest pair due to inaccurate information, failure to clarify information, or other irregularities of any sort. The guest takes the responsibility for soliciting the information needed to ensure a satisfactory travel experience. (However, BabelFAmily will conduct follow-up surveys with hosts and guests in the attempt to preclude abuse of this information service.)
4.4 BabelFAmily advises that handicapped travelers be accompanied by a friend, family member, or companion.
4.5 In case of an unavoidable cancellation of a planned trip after a contribution has been made to BabelTravels, BabelFAmily will (upon request) refund the monies contributed, less the handling costs involved in the transaction.
4.6 BabelFAmily is simply acting as an intermediary to facilitate contact between the interested parties, in the interest of promoting travel and interaction for the common good of patients and their families.
4.7 Upon request, BabelFAmily will provide a listing of contributions received through this service, omitting personal identifying information as necessary.
4.8 The host will be expected to provide bed and breakfast in the conditions agreed upon in advance by both parties. Any other agreement (for other meals, transportation, personal care, etc.) must be mutually agreed upon by both parties. BabelFAmily suggests both parties work out these agreements in writing well in advance of any travel.
4.9 The guest invited into a host home agrees to respect the norms and standards of behavior of the host family, and should behave with respect and consideration at all times.
(1) Price subject to agreement between guest and host, based on lodging and amenities provided