Whether you’re new to couch surfing or just looking to ‘up’ your couch surfing game, we have five tips from experienced Couchsurfers that will help you connect with a perfect place to stay.
1. Make an Awesome Profile
The first thing you need to do is sign up on couchsurfing.com and make a great profile. Upload a fun picture of yourself – this instantly means you are more likely to match with a host as they can put a face to a name.
Write a description about yourself that really shows what kind of person you are. What are your hobbies? What languages can you speak? What are your plans for traveling and exploring? The more detail you can provide, the better. If a Couchsurfing host feels like they’ve gotten to know you, they are more likely to say yes to letting you stay at their place for free.
Top tip: avoid generic words and descriptions such as ‘I’m a fun and tidy person.’
2. Search for Hosts
When searching for a place to stay, think carefully about what kind of host you are looking for. A real pet peeve of Couchsurfing hosts is when a traveler arrives, dumps their bags and heads out. The whole point of couch surfing is to expand horizons and meet new people. So don’t expect to use their house as a hostel.
Think about the sort of person who would be a good match for you. Are you traveling alone and looking for someone who can show you around their city? Or are you an experienced traveler just looking to make a new friend and get to know more about a different culture?
Send couch requests to several different people. This way, you can start conversations with a few people, and figure out who is your best match.
3. Write a Great Introduction Message
Once you’ve found a good match, write them a great opening message. You have to show them why they should let you crash at their place for free.
Explain why you are traveling to their city or town, what you are hoping to do and see. Next, write about something you both have in common. Have you both traveled to Thailand in the past? Do you both like cooking? Finding common ground is a great way of striking a match. Check if they can host you on the dates you are traveling — and don’t be pushy.
Top tip: Don’t copy and paste text to different hosts. Just like with a resume, you need to tailor your message to each person.
4. Get to Know the Host
One of the most important stages of couch surfing is interacting with the host, and figuring out if you’re a good fit. It’s much better to figure this out before you stay, rather than during your stay.
Once you have linked up with a host and received a reply, send some more messages. Get to know each other! Figure out if you have common interests and you get on well.
Top Tip: Remember to be careful with your personal details. Stick to messaging the host through the hangout application on the Couchsurfing website. Only give your personal details if you feel completely comfortable.
5. Get started!
Begin packing and remember to stay in regular communication with your host. Organize an agreed meeting time and place, and keep them updated if your plans change. It’s also a nice gesture to bring a small gift for your host, maybe a souvenir from your hometown or other places you’ve visited. If you’re eager to make more friends on your trip, check out 5 Ways to Meet People When Traveling Alone.