When it comes down to couch surfing, there are a lot of myths involved. There are also some aspects that you need to keep in mind in order to make out the most of your holiday. A good relationship with your host is in the best interest of both parties- the host and the surfer. You need to keep in mind that there are also lots of scams and you have to be very careful when you establish the place where you will spend your holiday. Couch surfing is more than a business. Couch surfing is about making friends and has a good time. This is what you need to know about couch surfing:
9. It is not free
Most of the time, when you hear about couch surfing, you hear that it is for free. Mostly it’s like crashing at a friend’s house for the night. There were many conflicts between hosts and couch surfers because travelers thought it was for free. You need to know that you still pay your host. Indeed, it does not cost as much as a hotel room, but still, you have to pay. Some travelers can even offer some gifts from their own country, although nobody asks them to.
8. It means sharing
Some people who have been hosting travelers share stories where their guests came and left without saying a word. They were disappointed because couch surfing has other intents – not only to host a person, but you also want to know her. Couch surfing means telling stories, sharing moments. The host usually takes his guests out, to show them the city and the main attractions. One of the best things about coach surfing is that you can make new friends and you can see all the cities hidden places.
7. Be careful!
Although most of the surfers say that it is 100% safe, the truth is a little bit different. You have to keep in mind that you are going to meet and stay with complete strangers. It is better if you tell somebody where you are staying. Meet your host in a public place and always keep in touch with him/her. There can be all kinds of scams, and it’s better if you stay vigilant. Some surfers had the unpleasant surprise to be stood up or the accommodation was not even close as it was described.
6. It is not like living in a hotel
Some surfers think that couch surfing is another word for a low-cost motel. Actually, it is more than that. Although you are not forced to, it is polite to speak with your host. It is not ok to come back in the middle of the night and expect them to open the door. If you are staying over the week, you need to remember that they have a job they need to attend in the morning. One host told that once, her guest showed up to her house with other people – people the guest met in a local hub. It is not ok to bring strangers to your host’s house.
5. There can be other guests
Your host can have other people over too. If she/he has more rooms to spare, you can always meet with other couch surfers. It can be a very unique experience. You can share stories and information about places, people, and previous experiences. You can make new friends and you can explore together the place you are visiting.
4. Help your host
You always have to keep in mind that you are not staying at a hotel so it will be better if you keep the place clean and tidy. You can help you host with the dishes, cooking, and other chores. After all, couch surfing is about helping each other. The host helps you in cutting back expenses and you should help it back. Nobody appreciates a surfer that leaves a ton of things to clean. At least a nice gesture would be to help with shopping. If you decide to cook something it would be nice if you would prepare a dish for your host too. You can make something specific for your place/country. The host can do the same for you. You will be highly appreciated.
3. Respect your host
Your host will understand if you want to go downtown to party. He/she will understand if you sometimes come late. But you have to keep in mind that most of the time your host has also a job and probably will wake up early in the morning. So, even if you come home at late hours, respect your host’s sleep. Also, do not put him/her in uncomfortable situations. One host shared an awkward situation when the surfer came drunk after a party and found him lying on the couch naked. This is a situation that is uncomfortable for both parties.
2. Rate your host
This kind of agreement is based also on references. A good host will receive good feedback from its surfers so other people will trust the host. The same thing is applied to surfers. If he receives bad feedback, it will be harder to find new hosts. Nobody wants a surfer that does more damage than help.
1 – Respect your host’s privacy
There were situations when surfers were left alone in the house. The host has to trust you enough to leave you home alone. This does not give you the right to look through your host’s things. Most hosts fear stealing stuff from their homes. There were cases when the surfer saw the opportunity to steal from the host’s house. Of course, the police were alerted, and what supposed to be a holiday turned out to be a jail-visit.
There are advantages and disadvantages to couch surfing. The main point is that you should respect your host, and demand the same thing from the host. You are supposed to remain in a good relationship with your host, because, you never know. You might want to visit it again.