As a Slovak girl, which wants to travel as much as possible, who doesn’t have much money for it, I was constrained to save as much as possible during traveling. My first choice was Couchsurfing.
I was happy to know about Couchsurfing (CS). I set up my Couchsurfing profile, I tried to fill it up as much as I could: honestly, funny with useful information. I sent 3 couch requests to London surfers, but nobody answered. I was thinking it was because I had no reference. Later I had doubt if my requests were sent 🙂
I focused to build-up perfect Couchsurfing profile. One of the most important things on Couchsurfing are references.
1. Set-up and fill up your Couchsurfing profile
- Try to write honestly how you see yourself. Or what people use to say about you, your personality. Write about school or job, traveling information. You can also write about:
- What do you do for CS in your city (or would you like to do, if you didn’t start yet), hosting, surfing, face to face meeting, bigger meeting, organizer of meeting or some other action in your city?
- What is your CS experience (or what you wish to experience)?
- What are you interested in? Your hobbies and interests, sports, movies, music, books, whatever you want…
- Philosophy of your life.
- Try to honestly write what kind of people you like the most
- What can you teach and share, what you would like to learn from CS?
If you like to host people, you should try to describe your place in the best way:
- How they can reach your apartment.
- Where and how they are going to sleep – sleeping spot – parameters of on what and how is it situated.
- If they can cook or if they can take a shower. 🙂
- If you have the internet or other helpful things for share.
- How long they can stay in your place.
You should write also what you don’t like. If there is something important for you. What would you like to avoid? If you expect something (cooking a dinner for example). Describe it all too.
As much you’ll write in your profile, but in a simpler way, as more you’ll avoid complications or bad situations.
2. Start to join Couchsurfing meetings
This is the best way how to show yourself. You can get known in the local community, you’ll find new friends or you’ll meet interesting foreigners and travelers. You can later find them in meeting page and write them a reference. And if you get lucky, they’ll write something back to you too.
3. Write messages or respond to messages of travelers in your city
This is very nice way, how to meet new people and make new friends.
You can invite them for walking around your city, you can prepare for them a tour and speak something interesting about buildings and stuff on your path.
Speak about other topics too. Invite them to a party, dinner you organize at your apartment for your friends and travelers as well.
After some good meeting, you’ll write reference, and you can be sure, you’ll also receive one positive for you as well.
4. Organize meeting, trip, party, dinner, in your city or in city you make a trip
If you’ll be proactive, creative and you’ll invite people to join you for a different action, you can be sure, you’ll receive positive references very easy and very fast.
5. Start to host people
Look at your local page site, browse page for hosting – who is looking for a host or join SOS Couchsurfing request group. Check if somebody is looking for a couch. It is easy to say, it has to be someone interesting – yes, it’s better, feel free to choose who you want to invite to your house. But keep in your mind that there are travelers they need your help and you’ll see, how nice it is to give help and how nice is it to receive grateful greetings from your guest. You’ll be happy to help more, be sure 🙂
Write them why would you like to host them, what you can offer, and what you expect for exchange. No expectations are better. 😉
Once they are in your apartment, you can prepare for them a place to sleep, maybe food – you can ask if they want to cook with you. You can play games with them, watch TV, you can take them to the party, show them your city, if you plan some family occasion or some meeting with your friends, invite them. It is nicer if you’ll invite them to join as much with you as possible because you show them how you live your life. It can be for them nice adventure and great local or friend’s experience.
6. Start to surf
Once you want to travel and you already know Couchsurfing, there cannot be a better experience.
Write CS request: why you are in the city, what would you like to do, who you would like to meet and be hosted by.
What you can offer and what you expect. Also, take a look at the profile of a person you request to stay with. It’s very important to write personalized request: for example, I love to meet creative people, so if I found such a details in the description I always notice that in the message.
Once you are at the host’s place respect his rules, try to ask, if he needs some help with your place to sleep, cooking or cleaning. Ask if they want to spend some time together and how.
Some people like to receive some gift from the country from where you are or some other gift, but CS is a very open community, you can do whatever you want and how you feel. There are no strict rules, but you should always be respectful with your host because you are in his house. Of course, there are people they say you my house, is your house, but you know, be polite and that’s always a better way.
Of course, don’t forget to write a reference for your host and to be grateful.
7. Boost your CS community life (and profile)
Join anniversary meetings around the world.
Make better friends and keep a good connection with them – they can always offer some other help or you’ll help them. You can meet them in another place around the world. There are many advantages.