Couchsurfing is this cool travel community that provides free accommodation for travelers, and great opportunities to meet like-minded people. The main idea is the following. If you travel to my hometown, I can host you at my place for free, or can hang out with you. If I travel to your hometown, you will offer the same to me. Recently, many people have joined Couchsurfing, but they seem to know little about how it works. At least, that’s been my experience after reading hundreds of requests within the last several weeks after I moved to Boston. Here’s my advice.
- Complete your profile. That way I can learn a bit about you and your interests. It also tells me that you are serious about the community. Would you host a random person from the street that you know nothing about? Unlikely. Couchsurfing is all about trust.
- First host, then travel. A lot of profiles have no friends and no recommendations. These people send requests, because they heard that Couchsurfing is free. Cool. Trust in Couchsurfing is built around friends and recommendations, though. The easiest way to get both is to start hosting people at your place, and attending local meetings. Thus, you can easily build your reputation and become a trustworthy member. I’m much more likely to host people with friends and recommendations rather than people with neither.
- Send a personalized request. I’m not very sensitive to that, but I’m more likely to accept requests that are somehow related to my life and interests. Perhaps, nobody enjoys receiving generic requests that may as well be sent to some hostel.
Do your homework, give back to the community, and enjoy your travels!