As we all know, accommodation usually is the bulk of your trevel expenses. Thankful for the friends I have living abroad, I can usually stay with them when I am there. This year, I travelled to new places, hence I started using Couchsurfing when I travelled alone.
When I first used couchsurfing, I was rather clueless. The idea is simple: you send a request to people saying when you want to stay. And if they accept, you will stay with them during your trip there. Turns out, it was not exactly as straight-forward as it sounds.
How to use Couchsurfing.com
- After you have your itinerary and where to go, you can make a public trip on couchsurfing. This is to help people to find you and host you.
- You can also search on couchsurfing based on your location. Filter according to:
- Last login date (best if logged in within 24h)
- Host info (best with references)
- Accommodations (best if you have a private room, especially for females surfing with males)
- Availability (best if accepting guests)
- Make sure you read the profiles of the people before requesting
- In your request message, tell them when you are going to stay with them, your rough itinerary and other things you might add. For example:
“Hello! I am Lisa from Singapore. I am traveling in xxx country. I enjoy meeting new people and … (include something that you learn about them in their profile to show that you have read their profile). I was wondering if you could host me for xx days when I am in the city.
Thanks in advance for your reply!
- After confirming, get the address and directions to get there. Check if your host is interested to meet you first, or you will meet them at their homes instead.
- Have fun and be open to meeting new people! Do remember to bring a gift of exchange when you are there.
Issues Faced When Finding Host
- Last minute cancellation – sometimes the hosts have some urgent things going on and had to cancel last minute. Always have a backup plan or have at least 1 most host that is willing to host you but have yet to confirm.
- Hosts not replying after confirmation – I once had a host that was not willing to reply me after I confirmed my stay. Hence, I looked for a hostel instead
- Some hosts want more than just hosting you – ignore these people
Etiquette of Surfer
- Do not treat your host’s home like a hotel. It is not a hotel. Make friends and spend time getting to know them
- Do bring some gift from your home country to show gratitude or give them something interesting you found along your way of travel.
- Do not cancel last minute
- Do not request last minute and expect them to accept immediately. Like I said again, it is not a hotel or hostel – the best is to request 1 week beforehand
- Always as for permission and be respectful of the host, the family and the home
Etiquette of Host
- Do understand that these people are trevellers. They are not staying with you in exchange for anything other than friendship and trevel stories
- Be respectful to the couchsurfer
- Do not cancel last minute
Note to Females
- Always read the profile before accepting to the host and before meeting the people
- Check for references – I usually read the negative and neutral references first
- Check the sleeping arrangements – I’m still wary about sleeping on the same bed with another person, especially a male
- Should there be something that happens, do contact the couchsurfing community
- Trust your instincts. A woman’s instinct never goes wrong.
- Always have a backup plan – I usually have another host that is willing to host but have yet to accept. Or find a cheap hostel that could be a place to stay, should there be something that goes wrong
Stay safe, be careful and enjoy your travels! (Currently in Surabaya airport)
Trevellers is my way to change the world. Through my stories, tips and lessons learnt, I truly hope to inspire you to get out of your comfort zone, see the world and see who you truly are. Travel is more than just taking a selfie at beautiful destinations. Travel is an adventure, where you can truly become who you are, give you the time to reflect and grow to become the person you’ve always dreamt of.