Have you ever tried Couchsurfing? Today we will talk how to be a good Couchsurfing guest. We´ve been talking about Couchsurfing in the blog many times, and here’s us sharing some of the best ways to be a good Couchsurfing guest, to be accepted by different people, from different countries in the world.
So how does Couchsurfing really work? If you are just about t start using it, you’d begin by creating a profile. After you’ve completed your Couchsurfing profile, filled out all the important details about you, and your trip, people will have a good initial information about you. Once you complete your profile, you will go and start looking for hosts, and request to stay with them.
Here’s how to properly make a Couchsurfing request:
How to send a good couchsurfing request?
First of all, make sure that you check your host´s profile. Read carefully what they are looking for, what they can offer to a guest and what they might be asking from you.
If you do that there wouldn’t be a misunderstanding with them. You can also check references – a great way to see what previous guests’ experiences are with them. Checking both the profile and references, you will have an idea about how is your host. Try to send a long message explaining to them how your trip will go, your complete profile and that you would love for them to host you. Try to give them exact dates when you are planning to go there. A host can decide better if they can host you or not, if you give them the exact dates that you will get to their place, how long, and around what time of the day you might reach their house. This is important because some hosts have work during the day or night, so it will help them decide better how they can meet you.
Once they accept you request
Try to get their contact number to make sure that you update them just in case you are late or you are getting sooner than you were expecting. If you have their phone number or another different way to contact direct, it will be easier for both of you.
Let them to choose where the meeting point will be. Some hosts prefer that you go directly to their house, and if you get their address, you can try to get there without bothering them.
Some hosts prefer to meet you in a bar, or in a meeting point in the city. That´s also great, just try to be on time and don´t make them wait for you. Some hosts love picking you up because they live in a place difficult to reach. So, just follow what your host prefers to do.
Meeting your host
Once you meet your host, try to really give them a good greeting. Sometimes, you’d want to be familiar with how people greet each other, especially for the first. Usually all hosts are very open to different cultures, and if they are not, they will probably have mentioned it already. Greet them happily and respectfully and be ready to strike some conversation to make them comfortable with you. Try to talk to them about your previous trips or your hitchhiking journey. If they ask about your trip, explain to them which places you have been with details and what are your plans. Try to show to them that you can be talkative and friendly, right from the bat.
If they don´t like asking, why not? Ask them how is their life there, their job and what plans do they have for you? Maybe, they are busy. So, be flexible and let them know that you can manage yourself and you will make sure you find time during the day to meet each other.
Staying at your host´s home
Once you are at home, if you want to be a good couchsurfing guest, You need to be respectful, trying to remove your shoes before going inside. Let them know that everything that they are offering for you is perfect.
The most of the times, they are offering much more things that you are expecting. If they have rules at home, make sure that you follow all of them. It’s usually all the rules that your host will give for you, they will be common sense rules, nothing special.
If they offer you a room, make sure that you let the room cleaner than you got it for being a good couchsurfing guest. Try to do your bed and put your things in a way you don´t bother them. Don´t make a mess and try to put things easy for your host.
Be flexible and helpful for being a good couchsurfing guest
If you are using the kitchen or the living room, try to keep clean and leave everything in a perfect state. If they are leaving soon in the morning and they let you staying at home to rest properly. Why not staying 5-10 minutes keeping clean their home and your room or place that they gave you for sleeping.
Ask them if they have any plans when they are back home, if not you can make plans for them. It depends how long you will be there. You can spend at night watching a movie, talking about life or travel experiences. Going out with them for a walk and meeting their friends.
Why not cooking for them? I´m from Spain, I always try to cook for them a Spanish dish. A simple one like Spanish omelette which ingredients are potatoes, egg and onion. It´s really easy to find usually. Even it takes time, I like to make sure that I cook a few omelettes. If they are a family all of them can enjoy the omelette or maybe who knows there are guests coming. And if you cook a few of them, they can share with their friends or family. Keep the kitchen clean if you made a mess 🙂
If they cook for you, let them know how good it was and be grateful to them having you as their couchsurfing guest. Show them how lucky you are trying local food that maybe you will not try if you don´t stay there. If they have plans for you like visiting friends and family go with them. Show them you are down with whatever plans they think are interesting to do with you.
If you are couchsurfing with more surfers at home and you want to be a good couchsurfing guest try to organize to do plans all together like going out, cooking. In that way all the people will have fun spending time together meeting new friends.
If your host give you privacy like a room, don´t try to stay locked inside the whole day. To be a good couchsurfing guest and enjoy the experience with them is great if you spend as much time as you can with them. Try to leave open the door when you are awake, so they will not feel shy to go inside and talk to you.
If you are hosted by a family and you want to be a good couchsurfing guest, if there are kids try to enjoy and play with them. Kids are so affectionate and you will enjoy more the experience. And you know what? Kids can teach you about their local language like numbers or basics for traveling. It´s easy to learn a few words and they will appreciate your effort doing that. I love when there are kids at home and you will never get bored!
If you are traveling around Southeast Asia for example, and your host is a student, go out with them to a local place and if you can, you can try to treat them for a meal. They are usually going on a budget and you can also help them in that way. At the same time you will meet their friends and places that they are enjoying as a local.
Why not traveling with your host
A few times happened to me that my host joined my trip, maybe next city, just for a few days. It happened to me a few times, even with the bicycle trip, some people joined me to reach next destination and the experiences were amazing.
A couple of hosts joined me to try hitchhiking in their own country. Traveling with a local is always a great experience. It´s easier and you will learn more things about their culture.
Leave a reference
After your experience with your host. Leave them a reference that explains how great your experience with them is. You can even add some stories of which plans you did and what things you liked doing in the city with your host. So people who will be visit your host will know them better. In the same way those references were useful for you, they will be useful for next guests.
After your experience
If you want to be good Couchsurfing guest, keep contact with your host after your amazing experience. Who knows you can come back there for visiting or they can return the visit in your own country or place that you are living. It´s one of the best parts of traveling, reciprocate your hosts or hosting travelers that you met during your trip.
Being a good Couchsurfing guest is nothing different from visiting and staying with friends. Really, you just need to be respectful, know what they can offer you, enjoy your time with them, while still respecting boundaries. Like new people that you meet while traveling, hosts will have different personalities, and just make sure you do your due diligence researching and reading about hosts before sending out requests. If you feel that you can’t jive with the type of person a host is, then you can try to look for other hosts in the area. If you can’t, then make a decision whether you can try to stay with another host that is available. Couchsurfing has really been a fun and amazing way for us to travel, and even right now, we try to do it from time to time. If you haven’t, try to do it once! If you’re not open to staying with a host, you can even try to just meetup.
Check out this post, another great Couchsurfing story from our friends Dale and Franca.
Have questions about Couchsurfing? Hit us in the comments below. Have amazing Couchsurfing stories yourself? We’d love to hear them.
Hope you’re having an amazing time, wherever you are in the world right now. x