Having spent over 50 days on the couches, spare beds & floors of CouchSurfing hosts from Italy, Bosnia, Croatia and throughout Japan & Korea (to name just a few) we’ve gradually been collecting ideas on how we can better ourselves as surfers, but also give us direction on how to be the best possible hosts when the time comes to settle down & pop that ‘Home Sweet Home’ cross stitch on the wall.
So here comes a selection of the best, from good experiences, and the bad; and also some we’ve picked up from other CouchSurfing stories along the way.
DO’S for Surfers
DO be prepared to be independent – your host may need to work during the week – it’s easy for us non-workers/travellers to forget.
DO offer to cook where you can, sure it’s hard to find those important ingredients from back home, but even the most basic dishes (hooray for scrambled eggs!) will be a welcome change to a host’s diet.
DO clean up after yourself when you cook, clean or wash – or shave your beard in my case (NOTE: I’ve never left a mess after a tri-monthly beard trim).
DO (sometimes) say yes where you’d normally say no, you might have the best day/night of your travels.
DO try to collect as much info as you can from tourist offices if you can, don’t expect that your host will know where everything is.
DO grab a handful of free maps from tourist offices – leaving them with your host will prepare them well for future surfers who might not be so prepared.
DON’TS for Surfers
DON’T let your backpack explode all over the house, keep things neat & tidy, last thing anyone wants to come back to are smelly socks draped over the television, plus, you might not leave anything behind.
DON’T bring the party home with you – your host waking up to a drunken surfer with 2 strangers in tow is no way to celebrate your sudden ‘declined Couchsurf request’
DON’T just sleep for three days straight – your host is not a hostel. Catch up on your beauty sleep in one of many cheap hostels nearby.
DON’T insist on ‘just one drink’ – your midweek party is your hosts mid-working week.
this next one should just go without saying, but you’d be surprised :-
DON’T have sex anywhere in the house – this is not a sex motel or a Japanese ‘Love Hotel’.
DO’S for Hosts
DO offer to do any number of activities, but don’t insist too much.
DO be prepared – collect those pizza, kebab & curry menus that fall through the door; those offers might be a godsend for a surfer or two, also, grab free maps & guides from tourist centres.
DO take into account that what might be cheap locally for you might not be for your shoestring budget traveler – talk budget before planning anything.
DO offer to cook something small (scrambled eggs again!), even if you’re ‘the world’s worst cook’ – a fresh home cooked meal is a stranger when you’re on the move.
DO try to combine equal amounts of alone time – not just for yourself, but also your surfer – with together time.
DO provide accurate directions – try walking the route yourself as you write it. What might be a familiar and easy route to you can be a minefield to your late arriving surfer (NOTE: Best directions we’ve ever seen are a YouTube video walking the entire route. So clever)
DON’TS for Hosts
DON’T offer to share your bed with a surfer, male or female – it’s an uncomfortable situation to find yourself in.
DON’T have sex in the next room behind the paper thin walls – yes, we will hear you.
And here’s one for both the surfers, and the hosts
DON’T expect too much – expecting too much from either your host or your surfer will lead to much disappointment when things don’t quite work out how you’d always dreamed. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.
For now that’s about it, but we get the feeling that as we add to total days surfed on Couchsurfing we’ll learn more, hear more & write more notes on the Do’s & Don’ts For CouchSurfing, and we’ll update this list, PLUS, leave us any suggestions of your own in the comments for others to draw inspiration from too.
So, here’s to another 50 days!