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.
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- 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.
- Search early. During peak season just like hotels, hosts book up. Search early for the perfect host.
- 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.
- 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.
- Confirm your stay, this will show others that you and your host are already booked up and it’ll eliminate overbooking.
- Ask for their address right away. You don’t want to land at the airport and have no idea where you’re going.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Have fun, be smart, be personable, make new friends!
- Don’t be stupid, use common sense.
- 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.
- Don’t be afraid to leave, if you’re ever uncomfortable you can always leave.
- 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.
- 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.
- Don’t drink excessively; this one is a given. Don’t drink to a point where you put yourself in danger.
- 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.
- 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.
- Don’t steal anything, this one goes without saying, but just be respectful of your host and their things.
- 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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