The Complete Guide to Using StP (1 Viewer)

The first post of this thread is a WikiPost and can be edited by anyone with the appropiate permissions. Your edits will be public.

Hey there! I'm Matt Derrick , the creator of StP. I'd like to take this opportunity to welcome you to the Squat the Planet website and thank you for taking the time to sign up and join our community. There's a fantastic amount of information available here, so I've designed this guide to help you get started. You're not required to read this entire guide right now , but we want you to know where it is and bookmark it so you can find it later should you need it.

I. First Steps for New Members

First, let me offer some suggestions that I feel will considerably improve your experience with our community.

  1. Upload an Avatar/Image to your profile

    The first thing you should do is upload an image to your profile. A photo of yourself works best, but you can use anything you like to represent yourself. Feel free to be creative! People like to have some kind of image to associate with you, so if you want to make a good impression, meet other travelers, or find a ride in the ride board, then you'll definitely want to do this first. You can change your avatar here:

  2. Complete your profile

    Next, you'll want to fill out your profile. Your likes, dislikes, etc. This is especially important for using the ride board, or trying to meet people in real life from this website. It gives people a chance to get to know what you are like. A well written profile helps you connect with others similar to you. You don't have to write a novel, just fill in what you feel comfortable sharing with the community. If you need an example, feel free to browse the profiles of some of our members. You can change these details using the link below:

  3. Read the website rules

    If you would like to participate in our community, we ask that you adhere to our website rules. These guidelines are in place to ensure that StP remains a safe space for everyone. You can find more information about each rule by clicking on it's link below. It is up to you to read all the information about each one of these rules; if you receive a warning, or your account is banned, do not complain to the staff if you did not read them in their entirety.

    Website Rules -

    Squat the Planet runs on a 'three strikes' policy. If a user decides to break the rules of this website they earn a warning 'point' against their account. Warning points are issued by the Admins and Moderators of StP and expire after 90 days from their issue date. A full explanation of how the warning system works can be found by clicking the link above.

  4. Introduce yourself

    This is optional, but you can also introduce yourself to the community by creating a new thread in the introductions section:

  5. Getting Help

    If you have any questions, check out the help area! This is a catalog of written tutorials explaining how to use each part of the website. Everything from editing your account, to our privacy policies can be found there. I've worked really hard to answer just about any question you might have about using StP, so please check out the help section before asking the staff a question.

    Help -
II. Using the Forums

The forums are the heart and soul of the StP community, and it is where most of your interactions with other members will occur. There are over forty forum areas to explore, so take your time, read the forum descriptions, and feel free to start a discussion in the appropriate section for that topic. While the staff would appreciate you posting in the correct section, if you're not sure where a topic should go, post your thread anyways and a moderator will move it to the appropriate section for you. Remember that the help area covers far more information than what is covered here; below are just some functions we think you should be especially aware of.

  1. Thread Prefixes

    Forum threads are often organized by thread prefixes. These prefixes are different colored boxes with a short one or two word description preceeding the thread topic. You can think of these as tabs in a binder, used to organize different kinds of content. Clicking on a thread prefix will filter out all threads that do not have that thread prefix attached. A complete guide to thread prefixes can be found in our help area:

    Using thread prefixes -

  2. User Tagging

    You can 'tag' other users by typing the @ key and their name. If the user has logged into the website in the past 180 days, you'll see a list of suggestions as you type their name. To tag myself for example, I would type @Matt Derrick. This will automatically create a link to the user's profile and send a notification to that user that they should check out the thread you tagged them in. If you're not sure what staff is online at the moment, you can even tag the entire staff using the @Staff tag and each mod will get an alert.

  3. Train Hopping & Urban Exploration Forums

    These two forums have special requirements for viewing and participating in them.
    • Users that make 10 posts or more and have completed their profile will be able to view the train hopping section.
    • Users with accounts older than 30 days and a completed profile will be able to view the train hopping section.

      New users that spam 10 quick/useless messages just to get into these areas will be automatically removed by the anti spam system and will have their accounts banned. 10 posts isn't that much to ask for. If your account is older than thirty days and you still can't use those forums, it's because you didn't fill out the 'about me' section of your profile.
  4. Check the recent changes log

    @Matt Derrick posts updates concerning website changes in this thread. This is probably the best place to see what bugs have been fixed and what new features have been added to the website. It's obviously not mandatory to read it, but it's there if you're curious where a feature went or what function a new link/button might be for.
III. Private Messages

Just like it sounds, private messages are just between yourself and another (or multiple) users. They are often referred to as 'conversations' and you can invite multiple users to a private conversation. A complete guide to using the private messaging system can be found in our help area:

Private Messages -

IV. Forum Etiquette

Squat the Planet is home to a variety of individuals from all walks of life. Please remember to be respectful when posting; our policy boils down to the golden rule; don't be a dick. If that sounds vague then here are a few things to consider before posting.
  1. Sarcasm doesn't translate.

    This is the internet, meaning conversational cue's such as tone and sarcasm don't always make sense to the reader. This can lead to a lot of unnecessary misunderstandings. We appreciate a quick wit but remember to keep it respectful.

  2. This is not a dating site.

    We get that it's hard to find romance in this crazy hobo world, however these forums are not the appropriate place to find a date. Posts from people looking to get laid are universally frowned upon around these parts.

  3. Please, don't forget; punctuation is your friend!

    Now we understand that not everyone is a grammar tyrant, but when you have sentences that lack any sort of punctuation in them it becomes something that is very hard to read; the language and dialog we hear in our heads just kind of drones on and on. The same is true for using paragraphs to break up walls of text. If you take the time to do this, the chances of someone wanting to read what you have to say goes up about 1000%.

  4. Use the Search feature before posting.

    This has been stated elsewhere on the site but it's worth stating again. We were all new at this once, we all know what it's like to have a million questions. Chances are any questions you have about gear or basic fundamentals have already been answered. Please use the search function and if that doesn't get you where you want to go be sure to check out the sticky threads at the top of each forum section.

    We've even gone so far as to include a help guide for using the more advanced functions of the search engine, which you can read here:

    How to use the search -

  5. Put some thought into your posts.

    Sometimes we don't have much to say on topics we find interesting and that is okay! However, if your posts consists of only one or two words maybe consider using a reaction (click the thumb icon in the bottom right of the post) to express your feelings on a topic. Furthermore, posting short comments that don't contribute to the conversation could be considered spam which is against our forum rules.

  6. Please use descriptive titles for your threads!

    This one is similar to #5, in that lazy thread titles really annoy the staff. If you use a detailed thread title that actually describes the content of your thread, more people will click on it. The more people that click on it, the more responses and interaction you'll get on the thread. We're guessing you want responses to your threads and don't want to just talk to yourself, so it really only hurts you when you use two word thread titles that don't describe the content of your thread.

  7. Don't post links without some kind of context.

    Occasionally we will get incredibly lazy posts titled 'check this out' or something similarly vague, and the post contains a link to some website with no text telling us what the link is about. This is extremely annoying, and we consider it to be spam. If you want to share something with the community, please take the time to use a descriptive title and explain why we should click on the link you've posted.

  8. Please do not give advice on topics you have no experience with.

    Sometimes we get 'armchair travelers' that like to give advice on things they do not have any experience with. For example, a user that has never traveled via freight trains might encourage other users to travel with a gun for protection. While this might make sense from someone that has never been involved with that lifestyle, in reality it will most certainly land you in jail with a felony should you ever be caught.

    While this occurs very rarely, it is highly frowned upon; moderators are watching and if we see you posting wildly inaccurate information it will be removed and we will issue you a warning.

  9. Please include the content of an article if possible.

    If you are posting a link to a news article or blog post elsewhere on the internet, we encourage you to copy and paste the entire article to your thread (and use the news and blogs thread prefix). Website content comes and goes, and we prefer to keep an archive of this kind of material on the StP website itself, should the website article disappear (very common with news websites!).

    You're exempt from this request if using a mobile device, since it's notoriously difficult to copy and paste entire articles this way. Usually, a moderator will come around and copy and paste the article for you, but we would appreciate it if you saved us the time :)
V. File Library

Our file library is a repository of digital books, zines, pamphlets, maps, guides, movies, and other information you might find useful in your travels. We are always looking for contributions, so if you have something you think the community will find useful, please take a moment to upload it. Here are some tips for making sure your upload has maximum impact:
  1. Please include a detailed description of the item being uploaded. You don't have to write a novel, but please include more than one sentence. You can even copy the description from wikipedia, google, amazon, etc, just as long as anyone viewing your contribution can understand what they are about to download.

  2. Please include a screenshot of the cover or whatever is relevant for that item. Again, this goes a long way towards helping users decide if they want to download your file or not.

  3. Useful, but not required, is a link to where folks can find more information, like a wikipedia page, amazon listing, etc. You'll see the field for that during your submission, so just paste a URL in that box.

  4. Also not required, but makes things look nice and tidy, is if you upload an icon to represent that item in the library. I usually just re-upload the screenshot/cover of the book as the icon as well and the system will resize it for you.
VI. Gallery

The photo gallery is a space for members of the website to upload photos of their travels or various parts of life related to our culture. Personal albums are not supported at this time, but if you have a photo that would fit into one of the categories already present (train hopping, hitchhiking, busking, etc) you are very much encouraged to upload it there.

Please keep in mind the staff periodically curates any photos that are added to the gallery, and will remove photos that are not relevant to the subject matter of this website. This means that duplicates, near duplicates, off topic photos, etc, will be removed periodically and without notice.

Think of it as a curated highlights of the traveler culture gallery, and not a file dump for everything you want to get off your phone.

VII. Wikithreads

Each forum area has a thread stuck to the top of the list of threads with additional resources related to the subject of that forum topic. This thread is a wikipedia-like page where members with an account can edit, add, or remove static information. Just about every aspect of traveler culture is covered with links to books, websites, videos and anything else that might be of use to travelers, whether it appears here on StP or elsewhere on the web.

If you know of a resource that would be helpful to your fellow traveler, you are highly encouraged to hit that edit button and add it to the list!

VIII. Get Involved

StP is a huge project, run mostly by myself and the amazing people that volunteer their time to help moderate the forums. There's a ton of stuff that needs to be done, and we could absolutely use your help in getting them accomplished. We need everyone from web designers to coders, moderators and even just folks that want to post stories about their travels and report back from various destinations and events around the world. Check out the (growing) list of things we need help with in our projects section!

Projects & Suggestions -

IX. Staying Updated

You can find StP on many of the top social networking sites. We highly recommend that you follow our Facebook & Twitter accounts, and subscribe to our YouTube channel. This will allow us to keep you updated with regards to news on the site, and is especially useful for communication during unforeseen site downtime. The links to our accounts can be found below:
Thanks again for joining us and enjoy your stay! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to send me a private message, or email me at [email protected].

A // E
Matt Derrick
Squat the Planet
Squat the Planet -
Last edited:
Click here to buy one of our amazing custom bandanas!

Users who are viewing this thread

About us

  • Squat the Planet is the world's largest social network for misfit travelers. Join our community of do-it-yourself nomads and learn how to explore the world by any means necessary.

    More Info

Support StP!

Donations go towards paying our monthly server fees, adding new features to the website, and occasionally putting a burrito in Matt's mouth.

Total amount

Monthly Goals

  1. Paying the Bills
    $50.00 of $50.00 - reached!
    The first $50 in donations go towards paying our monthly server fees and adding new features to the website. Once this goal is reached, we'll see about feeding Matt that burrito.
  2. Buy Matt a Beer
    $75.00 of $75.00 - reached!
    Now that we have the bills paid for this month, let's give Matt a hearty thank you by buying him a drink for all the hard work he's done for StP. Hopefully this will help keep him from going insane after a long day of squishing website bugs.
  3. Feed Matt a Burrito
    $100.00 of $100.00 - reached!
    Now that the bills are paid and Matt has a beer in his hand, how about showing him your love by rewarding all his hard work with a big fat burrito to put in his mouth. This will keep him alive while programming new features for the website.
  4. Finance the Shopping Cart
    $105.00 of $200.00
    Now that the bills are paid and Matt is fed, perhaps it's time to start planning for those twilight years under the bridge... if only he had that golden shopping cart all the oogles are bragging about these days.