Couchsurfing is a community based around the couchsurfing website. (listed below)
Some of the reasons people host and surf are:
- Meet new people
- Cheap place to crash
Whatever you reasons for CouchSurfing, this guide will show you everything you need to know to host or surf.
Things You Will Need- A friendly, respectful attitude
- A dash of humility
- Some money
- An open mind
Getting StartedPhoto: @ardenswayoflife
Couchsurfing is a huge community of people from all over the world based around www.couchsurfing.org
Once you're a member, ask any couchsurfer friends who are on the website to leave some feedback on your profile for you.
Some might say this is unethical but if you have friends who think you're cool enough to leave a comment for you and vouch for your publicly, you're probably an OK dude/dudette.
It's important that you have some feedback and a complete profile (with some pictures!) because the profile is the first place people look when you're requesting to surf at their place or if they're considering you as a host.
You can pay couchsurfing to "get verified" but I've surfed all over and hosted and I'm not verified.
It's nice but unnecessary.
HostingOnce you've set up your profile and put on "has couch", people will start sending you requests. If you live in a populated city, you'll probably get a lot of requests.
After somebody sends you a request, the first thing you should do is read their profile.
Look at their feedback and their pictures and try to get a sense of what kind of person they are (party animal, budget traveler, student passing through, etc.)
Important: A lot of gay guys use couchsurfing to hook up with queer couchsurfers.
Make sure to check for the "queer couchsurfers" group in their profile.
That said, I've never felt pressured to do anything with a host or surfer but gay guys DO hit on you fellas, so if you'd rather avoid the awkwardness, the profile will usually tell you what the person's deal is.
Remember, you're just giving a person a place to stay and you have no obligation towards them beyond that.
But being a good host and going above and beyond to show good hospitality is really good karma.
I've been touched by the kindness of a host on more than one occasion.
I have a system for finding hosts.
First go to the CouchSearch feature and then make sure you choose "Yes or Definitely" for "has couch".
Reading profiles and sending out messages is pretty time consuming and you want to make sure the people you message are definitely down to host at the moment.
Send out 5 or more requests!
Look for people who have a high "responds to requests" percentage.
If you message about 10-2o people, not all of them will reply and you'll be able to pick among those who do based on location, their profiles, feedback, etc.
The awesome thing about couchsurfing is that it's a karma based system.
If you're a jerk, people will leave a negative feedback on your profile that you can't delete.
This is great insurance against bad behavior.
The Art of Asking
It's OK to ask for things like some water, to take a shower, use the bathroom, go to sleep, etc.
Some people are really timid about this kind of thing but anything that's a human need type of a request is something you should feel comfortable asking.
Don't expect your host to feed you or take you out on the town or anything like that.
Most hosts definitely do go above and beyond for their surfers and it can be really touching to be treated so hospitably.
The understanding between host and surfer is that you're getting a place to stay for free.
If you've ever lived in a big city with lots of poverty or been down and out yourself, you know what a blessing a place to sleep (indoors!) is.
The number 1 thing you can do to show your gratitude and pay your host back is to be a good listener.
Ask questions and let your host open up to a neutral party. Most people love talking about themselves and if you lend an ear, you'll learn a lot about a person and do them a great service.
It happens. We're all humans and have needs and urges.
Not to mention, many couchsurfers are young, interesting, well traveled, generally attractive people.
Never, ever do anything to make your host or surfer feel uncomfortable.
If you two connect and sparks are really flying and things are clearly heading down a sexual path, that's awesome. But if not, don't force the issue.
When you're conducting your experiments in unconventional thought and living use your head!
There's no reason to sabotage your couchsurfing reputation (remember, you can't delete your feedback!) just because you were too horny to pay attention to the signals!!
Surfers and hosts need good feedback because it shows others that they're cool to surf or host with.
If you're respectful, courteous and relaxed, you'll have a great time and meet amazing people through couchsurfing.
I've made several life-long friends through it and had some wild adventures.
Embrace it, don't abuse it and have a great time!