When planning the travel budget accommodation tends to take the most of your trip budget. Indeed, when you are paying for the hotel/hostel in any ways, you want these hotels to be in the city center so you can save on public transportation. However, there are other ways to avoid paying for the accommodation, while having a nice place as a shelter and a nice local person as a host. Well, that’s called Couchsurfing – a platform that enables travelers and hosts to communicate and give each other a place to crash on. Although using CS is super-easy and you will see a lot of people, getting the proper accommodation and host option still takes a lot of effort and energy. This is why in this article we will share several fabulous tips so you can secure your stay on Couchsurfing easier.
These tips will especially help you if you are preparing for your trip to Europe. Couchsurfing is one of the most popular traveling platforms on the continent, so you can be assured that knowing these tips will definitely give you a hand. Another thing that will make your trip easier to Europe is to know update EU travel regulations on ETIAS website.
Fill in the Profile in a Detailed Way
First thing that you need to be aware of as a beginner Couchsurfer is to take care of your profile. There are several questions on the platform that you should answer carefully. Remember, you are hosted by a stranger and for them you’re a stranger too. This means that your profile is the only way they can know more about you. Be very explicit and detailed in your writing, outline your hobbies and interests; Tell people what are you dreaming about or what goal are you working toward.
Such fulfilled profiles have more chances to be accepted, simply because hosts love interesting people. Because CS is completely free platform and hosts get nothing in terms of payment, the only benefit they get is meeting interesting people. So be it. Write whatever you would like to write, but make sure that they are not too far-fetched.
Always Send Personalized Messages (Don’t Copy/Paste the Requests)
Never, ever think that you can copy/paste the message to 10 different hosts and they won’t know that you went couch-shopping. They will surely do and most likely they will decline your request to secure your stay on Couchsurfing. Besides, it’s a sign of disrespect.
Instead, think of these request messages as the motivational letters for a job or interview. Be very open and honest. Tell them about yourselves, share the reason why you are going on a trip to that specific destination and don’t forget to outline why you think that they will be a perfect host for you. This way the hosts will know that you have read their profiles and they will appreciate it even more.
Always Request Two or More Nights
Most of the Couchsurfing hosts (including me) don’t like people sending the request for a night only. Couchsurfing is a social platform for travelers, not a free hostel. This is why it’s always better to request several nights, so you will have more chance to get to know your host better. Who knows, maybe they are great people and you become friends even after your CS stay is over?
From my personal experience I can tell that I have met some of the greatest people on CS. For example, last time out I was staying through CS in Malta, the host was a genuinely great guy and even though quite good 6-7 months have passed since then, we still keep in touch.
Always Leave a Review
CS also provides hosts and guests with a possibility to leave a review. Building the reviews is a great way to make you look more appealing in the eyes of strangers. This will increase your chances to score a couch easier.
If you have a lot of positive reviews, this means that you are a great Couchsurfer so more people will feel safe by allowing you at their homes. However, if you have negative reviews your chances to secure your stay on Couchsurfing will be lower.
This takes me to the next important tip.
Always consider why you want to leave a neutral or negative review to your host. Was it because they didn’t act as they should, they disrespected you in any ways or was it simply misunderstanding between you two. Once you’ve done your analysis, you can leave a review and be sure that your hosts will leave a review too (The reviews are hidden for each other until both parties submit it, so that’s a positive feature).
Be Nice and Chill Guest
Once you already have a couch and visit your host, make sure that you follow the house rules they have. It’s very important to know the limits what you can do and what you can’t do. Just because someone opened the door for you doesn’t make you two friends. So, don’t do something that you might consider normal, but might not be the same for your hosts.
Always ask for a permission if you can use the house utilities. Besides, make sure that you don’t leave any trash or leftovers behind you. Try to spend some time with your host even though going out all alone for seeing around the city is completely okay too. Don’t feel obliged to bring something to your host, but if you do, they will most likely appreciate it.
Couchsurfing is a great way to meet new people, make friends and save a great amount of money on accommodation. The platform helps you to connect to people with the same interests as you and spend some time together. I know that sometimes it’s super tricky to secure your stay on Couchsurfing, but be patient. Never copy/paste the messages, always choose your hosts wisely and make sure that you respect them and their houses.