The other day, my sister told me that she wanted to try couchsurfing. If you haven’t heard of couchsurfing, there is where you sign up on the Couchsurfing.com website and stay at someone’s home for free.
You might stay on their spare couch, in their spare room, and so on. Your host (the person who owns the place) may also show you around town or give you local insight into what places you should visit.
It all sounds great right? Yes, it does! However, as always when traveling, you should always make sure you stay safe.
Below are my tips to stay safe with your next couchsurfing vacation:
Do your research.
Before you absolutely decide on a person’s place to stay, make sure you do as much research as you can. This means reading the person’s whole Couchsurfing profile, as well as searching for them on Google and on Facebook. For some it might sound excessive, but I would prefer to do as much research as possible since you will be staying in the same place as them.
Talk to the person.
After you find someone who has a place you might want to stay at, you should try talking and messaging them. You can usually get a good or bad vibe by talking to someone, even if it isn’t face to face. This way you can also clarify what the rules are and what type of room and/or bed situation they are supplying.
Make sure they are legitimately wanting you to stay there for free.
There have been some stories of places charging once you get there. This is when doing your research is very important.
Always leave a review.
After you stay with someone, always make sure you leave a review. This way you can help other future travelers. Leave reviews for both positive and negatives stays!
Other quick couchsurfing tips:
- Make sure you tell your friends and/or family members where you are staying. Give them your phone number so that they can contact you if something were to happen.
- Instead of meeting your couchsurfing host at their private home, perhaps meet them in a public place so that you can meet them slightly beforehand. Yes, this may make it difficult just in case it does not happen, but if it turns out that they are super creepy and/or awkward then you can leave now instead of things escalating later.
- If you don’t feel comfortable with staying with the opposite sex, then do not.
Have you ever couchsurfed?
If not, would you in the future couchsurf? Why or why not?
Image via Flickr by Dee Speed