Did you know there’s a hospitality service and social networking website specifically for travellers? It’s called Couchsurfing and it’s pretty cool. It’s a great way to learn about the local culture of a place you’re interested in travelling to. Get advice and tips from the people that live there, and you get to make new friends before you even leave home!
What’s cool about Couchsurfing is that it doesn’t cost you anything to join and you get to meet some awesome people all over the world. The website is all about making connections with other people, which in turn lets you have a holiday you’ll never forget. Obviously, the first thing you’ll need to do is create an account and complete your profile. The more insight you give others on the website, the more they’ll be able to help you when you start planning your trip. Don’t forget to add some photos of yourself and places you’ve been. Photos are great conversation starters. Get your friends and family to give you a reference as well, on the site. This helps people you are about to meet, feel comfortable about who you are and that you’re legit.
Here is where the real fun begins: finding potential hosts in the city or country you want to visit. Start by searching where you want to go and review the list of hosts in your choice holiday spot. You can use filters to narrow down the type of host you are looking for. From here, read through the profiles of all of the potential hosts on your list. Since you want to travel safely, make it a point to thoroughly review all of your hosts – from looking at their references to reading their “My Home” section to see what kind of accommodation they are offering. They more you examine your potential host, the better position you will be in when you reach out to them.
Reaching out to a potential host is called a “couchrequest”. Make sure you write a request that is polite and that specifies why you are interested in visiting their city and meeting up with them. If you’ve done your research on your potential host, you’ll already know if you have similar interests and if you’ll get along. Make your request real, honest and heartfelt. If you don’t hear back, don’t get discouraged. Some hosts get more requests than they can accommodate.
Of course, you have the option of being a host yourself! Always give out your contact information so that others can find you and send you a couchrequest. Once again, thoroughly examine every request and respond to people who you feel would be a good fit. Make sure your place is clean and welcoming and have fun meeting your new friends!