What you need to know about Couch Surfing
Couchsurfing is a website that lets travelers connect with locals either to ‘surf,’ that is, sleep at their place or hang out. It’s fantastic for those who truly want to experience the culture by doing what the locals do. One gets an entirely different context all within the same country or city. The hosts work as guides in showing you spots and joints you’d probably not experience if you were alone. Here are a few ways to plan and have an enjoyable time.
Set up your profile
Signing up and completing your profile would be the first obvious step. You’ll be asked a tone of questions including your occupation, places you’ve been to and languages you speak. To have an easier time and make you more approachable, upload recent photos of yourself. Having a complete and verified profile helps your host know you a bit better and really, what they’re getting into.
Another tip is to get references. First timers can ask friends on Facebook who is already using the platform to give you a good review. Something to keep in mind is that hosts give you ratings when you leave, so mind how you behave while there.
Public trip vs. direct message
There 400, 000 hosts in over 200 plus top Couchsurfing destinations so knowing where to stay can be overwhelming. When you create a public trip, hosts can send offers to host you, and you can work off those. This approach doesn’t always work because you’d potentially get spammed by businesses. However, look for offers from verified hosts. As you choose who to settle for, look at their profiles in great detail to know if you’re compatible.
The other alternative is to search and directly request to stay at their place. You’ll have to state a reason- you’ll have to be sincere. Approaching a host with the intention to connect makes it easier to formulate a heartfelt response where you can even touch on what would make you all get along. If they’re like part of regulatory affairs consultants Canada has and you do the same, mention it. It doesn’t have to be an essay; those can quickly become creepy.
Couchsurfing is quite honestly opening their house up to a stranger. As a rule of thumb, behave as you’d want someone to if they were in your house. It goes the same for your profile- you’d be more confident inviting someone with a complete profile and a reference or more to your home.
A few rules are not to treat your host like a hotel. The idea is to form a friendship. That means having conversations with them, politely asking to use their items, thanking them for going out of their way and buying them a gift or cooking a meal as a way to show your gratitude. They are after all hosting you for free.
You have to be thorough in your search for a host. Just because you’re traveling to a different country doesn’t mean some universal rules don’t apply. If you wouldn’t be comfortable in your own country, probably don’t try it in another. Don’t settle for someone you’re unsure about just to get a free bed. It’s not worth having an unpleasant experience for. Therefore, always have a Plan B or an ‘escape.’ Don’t forget to report to the website in case you have an unpleasant incident.