I am a big fan of Couchsurfing and hate it when people don’t respect their hosts and create a bad name for the community and other surfers. So, please keep these tips handy if you plan to be a guest and someone has graciously offered to host you. Remember, you are not paying but it’s not just a free couch– You need to respect your host and their rules.
Here are some tips on how to be a good guest and have a lovely Couchsurfing experience –
Carry Souvenirs from your Country
Couchsurfing is all about indulging in different cultures and interacting with locals. How best to make them understand your culture and traditions by bringing them some trinkets from your land? It also shows that you are not there for a free stay and are genuinely obliged at their gesture. This also acts as a small thank you for their kind hospitality.
Follow their Rules
Remember the phrase – “My House! My Rules!”. I am sure you will feel the same as a host. Act exactly as you would want someone who is surfing at your place to act. Imagine being on the other side, understand your host, thank them often and follow their house rules to the T. General house rules like keeping the house clean, making your bed after waking up, washing utensils if you use any are often unsaid and require a basic level of common sense.
Okay, so someone decided to offer you a couch for your travels, it does not mean they are responsible for you 24*7. You need to venture out on your own and not expect your host to babysit you or take you places all the time – They have a life. If your host has time and offers to show you around, that’s great. If they don’t, grow up, go out and explore!
Share House Responsibilities
Cook, clean, make beds, buy groceries – the usual household responsibilities must be shared – Especially for longer stays. Even if you are just in town for few days, it would be a great gesture to cook your favourite dish from your country. This can give an insight into your culture as well.
I was couchsurfing in Cambodia for 2 nights and my host and I went to the local super market to buy groceries. We got home and cooked together – She made a local dish and I cooked an Indian delight. Not only did we bond while cooking but totally enjoyed challenging our taste buds with different cuisines.
Offer to Host Them When they Visit your Hometown
Surfing is not a one way street. At the end of your stay, always offer the host to come and stay with you if they ever plan to visit your city. It’s a chance to return the hospitality.
Leave a Reference
Don’t wait for a reminder to do so – as soon as you leave and get to a WiFi spot, leave a kind reference for your host. You might want to wait till you get back to your hometown, but this comes off as rude if you are travelling for long. Plus, you might just forget.
Remember, an honest reference would help the community and is integral for the success of Couchsurfing as this is the backbone of the entire process – Be honest, be kind and be prompt in doing so.
I hope you follow these tips and make couchsurfing a better community for everyone.