I jumped on the Couchsurfing bandwagon for my solo travels after my study semester around Europe.
Met the most amazing bunch of hosts and surfers! For those that don’t know: Couchsurfing is a platform for travelers to stay with locals for free – I slept on proper beds, air mattresses, couches… it really depends! Sleeping in a stranger’s home could end up dangerously wrong but it was the best leap of faith I ever took and I’m glad I tried Couchsurfing in Europe.
Here are 5 pieces of advice I have for any first-time who intend to Couchsurf in Europe:
#1: Be picky and get personal: Read everything!!! on their profile and choose your hosts wisely – preferably one who’s experienced and with the same interests as you. Add a personal touch to your message requests to show your host you’ve been through his/her profile. Show your sincerity!
#2: Share something with your host: Always bring a little something to show your appreciation: wine or beer can be good, a little souvenir from home’s great too. I drew and left behind postcards because I didn’t have anything from SG – they love them so yay! Oh, and I cooked Asian dishes once at Milan for my host’s fam! Give back in ways you can!
#3: Communicate with your host: It’s not a free Airbnb stay. Get to know their house rules and respect them. Let them know if you’re gonna be out late! Trade stories, ask questions, interact. Most hosts enjoy the interaction with their guests! – The personal and cultural exchange is what this is all about anyway!
#4: Leave no trace (except an honest feedback): Seriously, just be considerate. Your host isn’t supposed to clean up after you, so always tidy up!
#5: Keep in touch: Stay connected! These global friendships are hard to come by. :’)
Keep in mind that Couchsurfing is as much about the cultural exchange as it is about saving money!
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