Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Couchsurfing Etiquette: Hosting

I feel nervous about writing this post because quite honestly I've never hosted before. That isn't to say I've tried, but each time I try to host I either get canceled on last minute or life makes me pack my bags and move to another place before I have the chance to even get a couch in the living room. So that this post for what it is: a request from a surfer to hosts. In my experience I've had hosts that have gone from decent to amazingfantasticawesomesauce and a lot of this advice is from the hosts that I've stayed with before. If you yourself have hosted before then please give your two cents in the comments. I want to hear your advice!

You don't have to reply right away (especially if the surfer sent a request ahead of time), but you should definitely reply. Even if you're not sure yet, send a reply saying so. Let them know your current situation and tell them when you'd know for sure if they could stay.

It's incredibly frustrating to send out requests to people and never get a reply from them. It's even more frustrating when I get a reply from them weeks after I sent the request! A denied request is far better than no reply.

Be Flexible
I get it: you have a job and friends and roommates and family and all this stuff going on that is extremely important and you can host on this day but not that one and they can sleep on the couch after 4pm but they gotta get out around 11pm the same day.

If this is you then don't host. Surfers have a life too and their flights will get canceled and they have to work weekends and need to stay an extra night. It's difficult and frustrating to stay with a host that has a very specific schedule and it's far better for them if you just denied their request. The best hosts I've had are those that have tons of crap going on in their life and STILL were able to host me.

Be Trusting
If you're worried that a couchsurfer is going to steal your TV then don't couchsurf. Couchsurfers trust strangers with their stuff and even go as far as giving them a spare key to their place. If a surfer does try anything then the site can track the credit card they provided and also check their references. Couchsurfing is a website on trust and it works both ways. Just like you're taking a chance that the surfer isn't a klepto, they're taking a chance that you're not an axe murderer.

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