Monday, March 14, 2011

Couchsurfing Etiquette: Surfing

In my last post on this subject, I went through the proper ways to send out a couch request. Well congratulations! You followed my advice, got approved by an awesome host in a very nice place and now all you have to do is show up, veg on their couch for a week, and then leave, right? Wrong! You still have some stuff to know about the whole couchsurfing process, so keep reading!

Be Nonexistent
Try your hardest to make it seem like you were never there. Clean up after yourself and keep your laundry in one spot. On my recent travels I had a backpack and every morning I got up, folded the sheets and put all my dirty clothes in my backpack. If I charged my phone and laptop last night then I made sure they were put away and the wires weren't where anybody could trip on them.

If you use the bathroom, don't make a lot of noise and make sure that nobody else in the house has to use it before they go to work or school. You're on vacation and you're the one with the flexible schedule. Get off of the couch every day and explore the area. I once heard about a guy who just slept on a host's couch for three straight days. DO NOT BE THAT GUY!

Be Available
Couchsurfers should always be down to do something fun with their host. Even if it sounds boring, I guarantee that with the right attitude it won't be. I always have fun letting my host take me to their usual hangout spots and have them show me off to their friends. It always ends up being a night worth talking about.

More importantly, if you have something going on and you can invite your host, then by gum invite them! I and a lot of couchsurfers consider it rude to crash on someone's couch in order to go to a specific event and not invite the host to come along. Half the reason they're letting you stay is probably because you're going to that event.

Pay It Back
You're saving 30+ bucks a night by not having to book a motel room. Let your hosts know your gratitude by getting something for them such as a bottle of wine or a bag of candy. If you're going to a concert then offer to pay for their ticket.

Under NO circumstances do you offer them cash! Couchsurfing is NOT a place where people exchange money to stay on a couch. There are other places for that.

Pay it Forward
The second you have a place with an area for someone to sleep and you have roommates that are chill with it, then immediately offer up your couch for others. That's the whole idea about couchsurfing – if you stay at other people's house then you yourself are obligated to offer the same in return sometime in the future.

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