I guess you’ve heard about the social network called Couchsurfing where people are looking for free accommodation and other people are providing the place to sleep. Even if some people don’t like where CS is going, many people happily use it.
What is Couchsurfing
In case you don’t know, which I highly doubt, it is a social network connecting people which are looking for a place to sleep and people which want to socialize with foreigners and provide them their “couch”.
I think CS, which went from .org to .com, is doing a mistake by not giving their users some kind of a guidance.
I think CS which went from .org to .com is doing a mistake by not giving their users some kind of a guide how to behave there, so the Couchsurfing is slowly becoming a place for opportunist which never host anybody or guys which are only trying to pick up some girls. But you can avoid this all with a guide I made for you.
I guess you want to crash at someone’s place. There are two ways.
First you can create a public trip where people start to contact you by themselves. I don’t recommend this because if you are a girl there is a big chance that only weird people will contact you. Don’t do this.
The second way is to choose your hosts by hand and contact them separately. This is the way Couchsurfers used to contact each other and it worked flawlessly in past so why not now. It takes some time but the biggest benefit of Couchsurfing is that you connect with great people and find new friends from other countries and not only use someone’s hospitality.
Tips and Tricks for Couchsurfing
1) Make Your Profile Rich
It doesn’t matter that you hosted nobody and have no experiences so far. Or if you use Couchsurfing for the first time. Don’t be savvy about yourself, fill your profile to the full and add many photos. This will make you look more trustworthy in eyes of other Couchsurfers. Ask your friends if they use Couchsurfing and if so, add them as friends there.
2) Dig Some Information About Your Host
Don’t choose somebody without reviews or just a few of them. You don’t need to use a private eye but make your homework right and find as much information about your host as possible. Try to search the person on Facebook. Try to search images he/she has on Couchsurfing via Google Image Search. Okay, this one is a little bit creepy. But before you go, definitely have a Skype call with him/her. This tells you a lot.
The best way to find good Couchsurfer to host you is to search by yourself and sort people by references. Don’t make “Public trip”.
3) Trust Your Intuition
If there is something wrong with the person, don’t push yourself and respectfully decline the offer. You have a lot to choose from. There are some people on Couchsurfing which are looking for something more than a friendship. There are some people which mix up “Couchsurfing” with “Couchf***ing”, once said one girl I new.
There are some people which mix up “Couchsurfing” with “Couchf***ing”.
If you are a young woman who travels alone, please don’t be scared. Definitely try CS. In 99.9%, it is a great experience and the 0.1% could be avoided with this guide and using your intuition. There is also possible that you as a woman sleep over at other woman’s place. Case closed. Try to dig some information about your host and then free yourself from doubts and enjoy the experience.
4) Take a Small Present and Be Friendly
This one is no brainer. Even a small thing from your country can make a host very happy. You can buy him/her a magnet on a fridge or anything small. Don’t bring some huge presents.
When I talked to Miina – 43-year-old traveler from Denmark in an interview about how a woman can travel alone in Southeast Asia, she told me that she is afraid of Couchsurfing because she would be obliged to entertain the host. I think it’s nonsense. If you tell the host that you have no time to go out with him, it’s totally okay.
Tip: You can use Couchsurfing for finding natives to show you around and don’t sleep at their place. It is a great way to get to places you wouldn’t visit and where only locals go.
5) “Fish and Visitor Stink After Three Days”
Don’t stay at your new host more than 3 days. I bet you know the saying about a visitor and a fish after three days. I think it’s not far from the truth. You better switch between more hosts. It’s no problem to stay longer if you know the host well or you really get along with each other.
6) Groups Have a Problem
6) Be Tidy and Behave
Make your host happy and wash your plates after you use them or make your bed. When I was with my two friends in Malaga, Spain, it was the first time I used Couchsurfing. We stayed with one Greek living there. He left his apartment with words: “After you go, close the door behind you.” Ten he left to work and we stood there with open mouths. We never saw him again. That was the time I realized what is Couchsurfing about. It opens your heart.
Best Couchsurfing Alternatives
Couchsurfing is not the only one. I made you a list of alternative sites offering pretty much the same thing like Couchsurfing.