Couchsurfing: Safely Choosing a Host

The thought of couchsurfing and sleeping in the house of a random stranger in a foreign country may seem absurd to some, however if you choose wisely, it can be a truly remarkable experience.

I have had the opportunity to stay with some amazing hosts in many different countries and I had so many unique experiences that I would not of had staying in a hotel.

Wanting to couch surf, but have doubts on how to choose a host?

Here is the way I personally go about finding a good host: 

  • Look closely at the references.

 If I am alone I usually choose a host with many positive references (I look specifically for references from solo traveling girls and if I have a random concern I will message them personally). If I am traveling with another person I am more open to choosing a newer host with no references.

  • Read the entire couch surfing profile and then stalk them on Facebook.

Pay attention to profiles that are not fully filled out. If you fail to read the whole profile you may miss something important they have written regarding their living conditions or an important detail they want you to know.

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My hosts in Sweden

  • Have good communication before the trip.

Check in frequently and get to know them by messaging or even a Skype if needed.

  • Discuss important details before confirming a host.

This might include information about their home location, distance from the center, access to public transportation, their rules about going out at night, the time you have to be out in the morning if they have work (some may give you a key and you can come and go as you please), and anything expected of you in your stay with them.

  • Ask them up front their motives of being a couch surfing host.

If they are making sexual gestures by messaging or asking too many personal questions (and your not using couch surfing to find a relationship), then move on to the next person.

 Don’t blow off anything strange or weird that you come across. Question it BEFORE you arrive. 

  •  Always figure out where you will be sleeping.

Some hosts assume without asking that sharing a bed will be okay. It can be awkward arriving only to find one small place to sleep for two people.

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  • Get the contact information of your host and home address.

Give this information to someone so they know where you are JUST in case. When I couch surf alone I turn on my phone data so I can avoid being in a situation where I might not have wifi (many hosts do not have).

The moment I arrive I send my location to at least one person and also let that person know I am comfortable and good with my host. I mention to my host that I send my location for my own safety and peace.

While this might seem like something unnecessary for most people, I will always do this. I find my host are less likely pull an awkward move when they know I have someone watching out for me.

Listen to your gut. If you get a strange feeling about anything, LISTEN TO IT!  

Don’t forget to read: 

 

  • Do you use couchsurfing when you travel?
  • How do you go about looking for a host?
  • Share your comments below! 

 

Sarah - thenomadicdreamer.comCouchsurfing: Safely Choosing a Host