Why Host on CouchSurfing?
- The world comes to you. When you are not in the position to travel whether it be work, lack of funds, or studying, then have the world come to you! When we hosted, we learned all about people's home countries like Belarus, Pakistan, and India. Our surfers taught us about their passions and skills. Our surfers from Switzerland cooked us a delicious soup and vegetable bread and a surfer from France gifted me wine and chocolate.
- Be a tourist in your town. Living in a place is different than being a tourist. As a tourist, it is more exciting. When we hosted in Gwangju, we showed them the highlights of our city. It made us feel proud when our guests raved about the great city we call home.
- Make friends all over the world. If you find yourself in your surfer's hometown, you might get a place to sleep there, too!
How to be a Great Host
- Have a detailed profile. It doesn’t have to be super long, but enough so that your personality shines. What makes you stand out? Why would someone be inspired to stay with you? Don’t forget to add a few photos.
- Fill out “My Home” thoroughly. It would help the surfer make plans better to know generally where you live, such as if you have decent access to public transportation. Also let the surfers know the situation - do you have a private guestroom or will surfers be sleeping on the floor next to your bed? Be clear because people will vary in their preferences, especially solo female.
- It’s okay to be finicky with who you host. You can just accept anyone and everyone, but I would advise against that. Choose people who write detailed requests and who truly show that they read your profile and want to stay with you, not just a copy/paste request. When people put little effort into the request, it shows that they are just desperate for a free place to stay indiscriminate of who is the host. Be sure to read their references as well to make sure you feel comfortable allowing this person into your home.
- Communicate: Be available for your surfers. Give good directions, your phone number/Facebook name, and any way they may get in touch with you should they get lost. Good communication also applies during hosting as well. This is kind of obvious though.
- If you have some rules, state them clearly in your profile: Every host has varying preferences. For example, some hosts prefer guests do not stay at home while the host is at work, so please write that in your description or at least let surfers know this ahead of time.
- Have some guidebooks or type up a document of local recommendations: The surfer can have many questions and ask for recommendations. It would be helpful for you to have some ideas prepared so you don’t draw a blank.
- If you feel iffy about hosting at first, then offer to meet at a public place. Do not give them your address. You can always change your mind if you don’t get a good vibe.
- Teach: Do you have a talent, a passion, or knowledge you want to share? Go for it! Show off your guitar skills, teach the Rubik’s cube, display your rock collection… a CouchSurfing relationship is different than just meeting someone at the bar. Since these strangers are in your home, it is a more intimate setting so you tend to get close quicker. Do be open to learn more about your surfer’s passions as well
- Spend time together. Try to set aside time to show them around or at least share a meal together to have time to bond.
- Be hospitable. This is not required, but I always offer my surfers breakfast in the morning. Something simple like coffee, eggs & toast, and fruit goes a long way and is much appreciated. It is a ritual that allows you to have an honest conversation to with each other.
- Treat them like distant relatives. Make them feel at home. When they feel relaxed in your home, their true personalities will reveal and you can make a closer connection. You can make great friendships and even have a place to stay should you decide to visit their home country. There have been a few occasions when I reunited with CouchSurfers. It’s nice to have someone to visit while traveling.
- Learn. Ask questions to your surfers. If they are artists, ask them to teach you how to draw something. If they speak another language, ask for a quick lesson. Surfers are usually more than happy to share their knowledge, especially since they're grateful for your generosity.
- Write an honest reference. On CouchSurfing.com, write about your experience on your surfer's profile. You can choose either positive, neutral, or negative. Be honest. It is rare to see negative references on CouchSurfing because people are fearful of getting a negative reference in return, but it is important to be honest for future hosts of that particular person.
- Keep in touch. I love following my surfers' travels. You might even find yourself in your surfer's country and can reconnect again. Isn't it grand to have friends around the world?