How would you like to travel and build peace at the same time? For over 50 years, Indian SERVAS travelers have been doing just that! SERVAS is purposeful travel. Travelers and hosts are united by their desire to help build world peace, goodwill and mutual understanding by participating in visits with individuals and families of diverse cultures and backgrounds. During a typical visit, usually lasting two nights and three days, a traveler participates in the daily lives of their host: running errands, discussing social concerns, cooking a meal, visiting a school or lending a hand in a workplace.
Using a SERVAS host list, travelers can contact a farmer in Italy, a carpenter in Oregon, a teacher in Uganda- all with a shared commitment to international friendship and hospitality as a cornerstone of world peace. SERVAS host lists show hosts' contact information, languages spoken, interests, professions, the places they have lived and traveled and the amount of advance notice they require.
There is an annual fee to become a SERVAS traveler and a small, refundable deposit for host lists, based on the number of lists you request. After being interviewed and approved as a SERVAS traveler, you will receive a validated Letter of Introduction kind of like the SERVAS passport that is good for 12 months and host lists for the areas in which you plan to travel.
SERVAS welcomes people of all ages and backgrounds. Travelers under 18 years of age must travel with their parent or guardian and are free of charge. You may travel alone, with your significant other, with friends, or even your whole family!
Length of Visits
SERVAS hosts offer simple accommodations to approved SERVAS travelers for visits usually lasting three days and two nights, allowing host and traveler time to begin a genuine exchange. Visits can be extended beyond the two night minimum at the invitation of the host. Hosts are not obligated to accept a traveler but welcome SERVAS visitors when they have the time, energy and interest to receive guests.
Different Ways to Travel
As a SERVAS traveler, homes and hearts are open to you around the world as well as here in India. On an international SERVAS trip you can go beyond the tourist experience and get to know the people- not just the places you visit. You are welcomed in more than 15,000 homes in over 135 countries around the world, as an "ambassador of peace."
A traveler application and information packet, along with a list of interviewers, are included in your application materials. You may either access them on an HTML page or download them as a PDF file (viewable in Adobe Acrobat Reader).
Letters of Introduction are valid for one year from the interview date and travelers must renew annually to keep their memberships active. Travelers that have traveled recently need not submit letters of reference, but all renewing travelers must contact their interviewer. Renewal reminder postcards are mailed out quarterly. If you have any questions please contact the office.
To register as a traveler takes approximately three weeks. You will obtain and prepare your application materials, meet with an interviewer, and following the processing of your materials, receive your host lists. Here is an outline that explains the steps in detail.
Over the past fifty years, our members around the world have enjoyed the friendships they have formed through SERVAS worldwide network of travelers and hosts. The system works remarkably well, but only when travelers remember to do the following:
- Make a genuine effort to share your culture and friendship
- Present a valid Letter of Introduction—the SERVAS passport—at the door
- Follow a host's preferred method of contact and advance notice requirements and be sensitive to the host's time, values and customs
- Understand that overnight hosts initially offer three days and two nights of lodging
- Exchange no money with hosts, except as reimbursement for direct expenses
- Pitch In! Offering to prepare a native meal, running an errand or doing some yard work is often the best way to thank your host
We encourage you to read the complete list of traveler responsibilities, which will ensure that you are a SERVAS traveler that will always be welcome by your hosts.
We expect that you will have an interesting and enriching experience by becoming a SERVAS traveler.
To become a SERVAS Traveler, please click here