- Make friends all over the world. Self explanatory!
- Culture Exchange. You can learn a lot about the local culture by staying with a... local! You can share your culture with your host as well.
- Free accommodation. This is one of the benefits of CouchSurfing, but not the priority. Since accommodation can be expensive, your travel costs cut down significantly by sleeping for free. However, we tend to treat our hosts to meals, meaningful gifts, and taking care of their travel costs if they show us around, so sometimes the cost evens out. It is completely worth it though because the experience is richer than staying in a hotel.
- Local Guide. Your hosts know more about the city than listed in any guidebook such as the best hidden restaurant in town. If it weren't for our CouchSurfing hosts, we wouldn't have gone to a mesmerizing temple in Guangzhou, China, a fabulous vegetarian restaurant in Nha Trang, Vietnam, or the Vipassana Center in Mumbai.
How to be a Great Guest
- 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.
- Get some references. Getting hosted is quite difficult if you do not have references, which is fair. Having a few positive references is the only way the host can judge that you are a real person. So, if you have good friends on CouchSurfing, ask them to write you some references noting your character and personality, even if they didn't host you.
- Search for people in your traveling city. There usually is a long list of potential hosts. You can narrow them down by choosing only hosts that have references, photos, logged in within the past month, etc.
- Thoroughly read potential host's profile and references. As a host, I can tell when someone read my profile or not. It's important that you read and specifically choose a certain person to want to CouchSurf with. Reading references is also an important safety precaution.
- Write a detailed request. Why did you choose that specific host? What do you have in common? What can you share with the host and what do you want to learn from them? Make it personal and do not just copy/paste!
- Communicate: Your host can be a busy person. Be clear on your arrival time, meeting place, and length of stay so they can accommodate you properly.
- Learn. Ask questions to your hosts. Take note of interesting things in their home and ask about their passions. We learned about coin collecting in India, cooking traditional food in Vietnam, playing Mahjong in Taiwan, SCUBA diving in the Philippines, and the list goes on.
- 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.
- Spend time together. You might want to go to the main attractions in the town, but don't just leave early in the morning and come back late at night and just to go to bed. Your host's home is not a hotel. Set time aside to spend with your host, if that is what your host wants. Some people are more hands-off and too busy with work to want to spend time together, but we feel that this defeats the purpose of CouchSurfing.
- Treat your host. This is not required nor expected, but it is a kind gesture to treat your host in exchange of the free accommodation and local guide you're getting. Any small gift is appreciated. You can treat them to a drink or a meal, bring a souvenir from your country (We've given Korean fans, homemade art, snacks, a flag), or even purchase groceries and cook a traditional meal for them.
- Write a thank you note. We carry around postcards or nice stationery to leave our hosts a nice note thanking them for their hospitality, knowledge, and friendship. Hosts appreciate this gesture.
- Write an honest reference. On CouchSurfing.com, write about your experience on your host'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 CouchSurfers.
- Keep in touch. CouchSurfing friendships are unique. You never know when you can bump into them again!