Why do couchsurfing?
If the democratization of air transport has radically changed our conception of travel, this new way of visiting a country has further accelerated this transformation. More than a million people around the world are now willing to share their accommodation for one night or more. An effective way to reduce costs and discover the culture of a country.
But before you throw yourself headlong into this adventure, we have prepared ten tips for you to put into practice for successful couchsurfing.
1. The watchwords of couchsurfing: flexibility and adaptability
First of all: couchsurfing is not intended for people who are picky about schedules and want to anticipate everything. The meeting with your foster home requires availability, flexibility and a great sense of improvisation. You will be surrounded by one or more people towards whom you will have to show interest and with whom you will have to take the time to discover and meet each other. Couchsurfing is not just a way to benefit from free accommodation, it is above all an experience of sharing and human encounters.
2. Ask about profiles for more security
It is imperative to find out about the different profiles offering couchsurfing in the country you are going to visit. Don’t forget that you will be staying for one night or more at the home of someone you don’t know. Particularly for single women, the risks of running into undesirable people are not zero. Pay special attention to the comments of previous couchsurfers: these are the main indicators of reliability and safety.
3. Write a complete and attractive profile
Just like for couchsurfers who offer accommodation, you must make a complete profile that inspires confidence: photo, preferences, habits, tastes… It is preferable to write your profile in English, the most commonly used language in the world. On the contrary, an incomplete, sloppy profile without a photo will risk making your accommodation options particularly limited.
4. Find out about the necessary security measures
Particularly for exotic countries, it is important to find out about the necessary diseases and vaccines before leaving. Likewise, pay attention to the location of the French Embassy in the country where you are traveling. Although it is unlikely that problems will arise during your couchsurfing, prevention is better than cure.
5. Know at least the habits and customs of the country visited
With couchsurfing, you will be at the heart of the culture and customs of the country you are going to visit. It is important that you know at least certain traditions, the rhythms of life and customs (clothes, meal times, etc.). For cordial and human relations, you sometimes have to forget some of your very French habits…
6. Learn the most common words to facilitate dialogue
No need, however, to become bilingual: for more understanding and dialogue with the other couchsurfer, it is important to master certain essential words which will be practical and useful to you in your experience. Starting with the common “hello”, “goodbye”, “please”, and a few other utilitarian words, such as “eat”, “drink”, etc.
7. Have signs of attention for the foster home
Don’t forget that couchsurfing contributes to a positive and human exchange. Bringing a typical object or product from your country when you arrive home, to contribute to the enrichment and sharing of cultures, is for example a tip to start your stay on the right track. Also consider participating, to some extent, in household chores.
8. Couchsurfing is based on mutual respect: be respectful
Another important tip is respect, which is an international custom. Make your bed, put your things away, be clean and don’t impose your bad habits.
9. Benefit from the knowledge of the hosts to enrich your knowledge of the country
Take advantage of the presence of your host to discover places that you would not necessarily have visited alone or of which you were unaware. The couchsurfers who welcome you live in the city and probably know the country you are visiting better: take the opportunity to ask them for advice and experiences to discover.
10. Know how to thank your host
At the end of your stay with your couchsurfer, know how to be grateful and thank him as it should be. Give her a little something that can leave her with a memory of you after you leave.
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