SHOULD I CONSIDER COUCHSURFING? DO’S AND DONT’S

I LOVE living life like a local when I travel, I like getting away from the tourism, seeing local neighborhoods, eating at local restaurants, and staying at a locals home. What better way to experience a city than with a local? This is why I choose Couchsurfing a lot of the time when I travel. Aside from this, it helps not break the bank!

There is a lot of negative connotation about Couchsurfing going on right now and I’m not surprised, there really are crazy people out there, but if you do your due diligence and read my do’s and don’ts you won’t have a problem with Couchsurfing at all.

So let’s start with why Couchsurfing? Well, why not Couchsurfing? Other than the obvious already mentioned, Couchsurfing is amazing. It connects you with people you would never meet if you were staying anywhere else. A connection that is much deeper than meeting someone at a hostel for a weekend. Couchsurfing is also great to meet up with people. They host group events in many major cities weekly and you can set your options to just wanting to meet up with locals. The choice is yours. So here are do’s and don’ts if you do decide to go the Couchsurfing route.

phoenicia-entrance

DO:

  1. Make sure they have references, an empty account can mean trouble. Sure everyone needs to start somewhere, if they have no references make sure their profile is COMPLETELY filled out and they include photos of their home.
  2. Search early. During peak season just like hotels, hosts book up. Search early for the perfect host.
  3. Use filters to match your comfortability level. If you’re uncomfortable staying on someone’s couch, filter your search to stay in a spare bedroom.
  4. Start a conversation with your host. Get to know them. Get their WhatsApp/Facebook and talk to them every few days, get to know what they like and what they’re like to make sure it will be a good match.
  5. Confirm your stay, this will show others that you and your host are already booked up and it’ll eliminate overbooking.
  6. Ask for their address right away. You don’t want to land at the airport and have no idea where you’re going.
  7. Look for hosts of the same sex, especially in the beginning. This will give you a good taste of what Couchsurfing is about, and you’ll feel safer.
  8. Be grateful for your stay and bring your host a gift. Even if it’s something small like some chocolates from your country. They will appreciate it. Or offer to cook, your host will appreciate an authentic (as close to it given some ingredients might be missing) meal from your country.
  9. Leave reviews! Positive ones too! You and your host will appreciate it at the end and this will help you meet more people along the road.
  10. Have fun, be smart, be personable, make new friends!

DON'T YOU GET LONELY?

DON’Ts:

  1. Don’t be stupid, use common sense.
  2. If something seems off, or your host asks inappropriate questions don’t be afraid to say this won’t workout and you can stay somewhere else.
  3. Don’t be afraid to leave, if you’re ever uncomfortable you can always leave.
  4. Don’t be too friendly when staying with a host of the opposite sex. Friendliness is often mistaken for flirting and your host can get the wrong idea.
  5. Don’t be afraid to deny requests, if you post up a public trip you will most likely get ton’s of offers from “creeps”, you can absolutely deny those.
  6. Don’t drink excessively; this one is a given. Don’t drink to a point where you put yourself in danger.
  7. Don’t forget to communicate, if something comes up and your plans change, let them know. Think of it as a hotel booking, if you cancel there will be a fee.
  8. Don’t be afraid to look outside the city. Sometimes all the hosts within the city get booked up quickly, if they live outside of the city it’s still usually just a train/bus ride away.
  9. Don’t steal anything, this one goes without saying, but just be respectful of your host and their things.
  10. Don’t overstay your welcome, put dates on the line and if you hit it off you can extend to stay longer.

Hope these tips help you decide if you should Couchsurf or not, and keep you safe in mean time.

Xoxo Ania Travels 💜



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  • Maartje

    These do’s and dont’s are awesome. Thank you, totally agree with all of them. We couchsurf all over the world, but we are with the two of us, so sometimes things can be a bit easier.

  • Suzie Kelsey

    Great tips, personally I love CS and have had so much fun with it! I would add to this that you shouldn’t expect your host to be your personal tour guide/taxi driver/slave and you should make plans independently – most people have lives as well! Overall Couchsurfing is great and I so wish less people were afraid of it!

  • If I were still single, perhaps I would have considered there, but now that I’m married, we prefer comfy hotels. #feetdotravel

  • We loved couch surfing, because we got to know people, we’d otherwise never met.

  • Hi Ania,

    Smart tips here. House sitting guy who gets jobs regularly with my wife. A different animal for sure but many rules are similar. Including following your intuition seems off. If someone offers a couch or their home just get clear on the person’s intent. Are they Type-A folks? Bad house sitting job because these folks will fill your mind with worry over the job and responsibilities.

    Every single sit we did rocked because we vet the homeowners as much as they vet us, from an energetic space 🙂

    Ryan

  • Great tips! I have never tried couchsurfing, but I hope someday my foreign friends will welcome me on their home when I visit. On the other hand, I experienced letting a foreign friend stay in our house. It was a great experience because I learned a lot from his culture.

  • Kate AndKris

    Some good tips there. Couchsurfing can be a great experience but it’s best people don’t take their hosts for granted. We haven’t used couchsurfing for a bed, but we use it to meet new people sometimes when we move to a new places. #feetdotravel

  • Just can’t get ourselves into the Couch Surfing mindset. Perhaps too private, perhaps too timid. We have heard a lot of good stories, though. Something we wouldn’t entirely rule out. Great tips, if we should consider it. 🙂

  • Dominic Gramatte

    I think I’m a bit too old for couchsurfing and love “my” space. Great tips on what people should be thinking about when they decided whether its for them or not. Be smart – use common sense pretty much sums it up.

  • Great tips. We were thinking about couch surfing because we love meeting locals and forming new friendships. As a couple, we are wondering if many people offer spare beds?

    • aniahalama

      I’ve definitely stayed in spare bedrooms before. There’s actually a filter option where you can filter for a separate room.

  • Couchsurfing is awesome! I usually use it when I travel alone. I’ve already stayed with over 50 people and hosted more than 10 and some of them became my really good friends 🙂

  • Anushka Aggarwal

    Very well written post, though I haven’t stayed on couchsurfing, but I have hosted some couchsurfers. It has always been an amazing to meet fellow travelers. I have often been asked by my friends how can I trust a stranger staying at my place, may be in night they can steal and run away. So I am always thankful to references. The most is more for surfers but sometimes as a host we also have to be cautious.

  • Karyn Locke

    Hmm, I’ve never been the type to sleep on a couch, but I have to give props to folks that can. Great tips!

  • I did not know much about couch surfing until I read your post.You have shared some excellent tips and as much as its good way to travel and enjoy hospitality from local people one needs to take extreme caution too. Personally I would feel a little anxious to do this.

  • Rose Mont

    I had never heard of this before a couple a days ago. I like the thought of it but would be apprehensive. You have offered some great tips and I would like to check into it.

  • I am not sure about couchsurfing to be honest. Seems cool and it is free you would have to do some serious research on the host. I am sure there has been some really nice people hosting on there.

  • Pete

    Never couchsurfed – I’m too old and cranky for that nowadays – but I’ve been happy to supply references on the site for younger friends who I know are good eggs.

    You’ve pretty much nailed it, Ania. I’ll add a recommendation to stay with older couples, who will most likely spoil a solo traveller rotten. Maybe not so good for raucous partying, but!

  • Great list. We’re just getting into couchsurfing ourselves!

  • Chandresh Jain

    Everyone tell you what to do …but rarely people talk about what not to do … and this list is more important to focus on

  • Sabrina Barbante

    I always had great experiences with CS, and I think we just must be careful no matter where we go, but stay easy and enjoying life, travel and adventures 🙂

  • shreya de

    I have never couchsurfed but have heard some great things from my single friends . These are some great tips out here but I feel too old to be so adventurous now. 😛

  • Wow this is an interesting concept. I’m not sure if I’d do something like this, but I like your do’s and don’ts list for those considering the idea.

  • Opium teahouse

    I never CS but always been keen on trying it. However, since we’re a travelling couple, my other half is not so interested in doing it, so we always end up with an AirBnB 🙂

    – Diana x

  • I honestly had no idea what ‘couch surfing’ was exactly before reading this post. It seems like a really fun way to explore a new city. I agree that using common sense is the best way to have that fun while remaining safe.

  • An extremely handy and useful post for those considering couch-surfing whilst travelling. Safety is key.

  • Ana Ojha

    What a great insight on Couchsurfing! I’ve never tried it. I agree that it has its own do’s and don’t but a great chance to meet with locals!

  • Ania, This is absolutely is awesome! I totally will recommend this read because I have thought about the same things with couch surfing amongst other kinds of overnight stay options! Thank you so much for this read!

  • Dometris R Holloway

    I never have thought of this. I think I would be way tooo shy to try this.

  • I have never done couchsurfing even after reading about it and hearing from so many people around. I fascinate staying with the locals like a local, but often find myself constricted with the idea thanks to the security and safety issues. You have shared such a good list of do’s and don’t’s that I think I can take the plunge sometime. 😀

  • Kim Gammage

    Not sure I could do the whole couchsurfing thing, I like my alone time and I’m not a huge fan of new people, I get very panicy if I’m stuck in a situation with people I don’t know. But I’m sure there will come a time when I have to suck it up and give it a go!

  • Amila Wickramarachchi

    These tips are really helpful to consider couchsurfing.Though I don’t have experience with couchsurfing,I like the idea of staying with locals when travel abroad.Yes,security is always a thing to check.

  • Agnes Aasmaa

    I have never considered couchsurfing. Somehow it has never come to my mind to try it out. But I have also traveled often with friends or family and then airbnb has seemed a better option. Maybe I will try it on my next solo trip. Thanks for the tips 😊

  • Jhilmil Bhansali

    Recently only I’ve read lot about Couch surfing and wanna give it a try. This list comes in handy before I plunge myself into it!

  • Lana Chunnar

    Great tips, they are really helpful! honestly I’ve never tried couchsurfing before, looks an interesting idea, but I don’t know if it would be easy! staying with locals is very lovely thing, which I really would love to do..

  • I have thought about doing some couchsurfing but I was always to scared and now I think I am too old to do it. I wish you wrote this a couple years ago instead! haha. Really like the do’s and don’ts.

  • Young And Undecided

    I’ve couchsurfed in Paris and in China. All experiences were lovely, though I was still nervous initially. I’ve only ever stayed with women or families though, don’t think I would be comfortable staying with a random guy. Maybe that’s just me though. Better safe than sorry.

  • Vyjay Rao

    We have not tried couch surfing, but know that it is a great way to get close to the local culture. But as everything else couch surfing too has its pros and cons. Your dos and donts are really sensible and practical pointers that would help people looking to couch surf.