Safety is the biggest concern among surfers seeking for a place through Couch Surfing. Personally, all my experiences had been quite pleasant.
Recently, I came across a news of 25 yrs. old American Humanitarian Traveller beaten to death by her couch-surfing host while she was on an earthquake relief mission in Nepal.
This should not discourage you from using couchsurfing, however you need to be cautious in choosing the right one.
Consider the tips below to have a safe experience.
Choose Your Host Wisely:
Reviews play a vital role. Spend a little time reading reviews of other guests who stayed with the host, before you drop a request.
If possible try to engage in a chat with the host through the messaging system in the website, by doing this you will not only get to know them but would also build a rapport and won’t be hesitant while you are at their door step.
Don’t be a fool to trust everything they say, neither ask awful questions like ” Will I be safe in your place?”. The host would never say no, first of all be obliged that this person accepts you as a guest, at the same time be wise whom you chose as your host.
Asking general questions like, “How many Surfers have you hosted?” or “Are there any safety precautions I’ll need to take in the neighborhood or surrounding areas”, will tell you a lot. Choose your host only if you are throughly convinced with their response.
Don’t go overboard with the usage of alcohol or drugs at-least on the first day, while you are still in the process of getting to know each other. If your host offers you a some beer, limit it to a pint or two. Getting drunk could be quite an unpleasant experience to your host and could also be unsafe to you. Don’t leave your well-being in the hands of someone else.
Trust Your Instincts:
If you feel unsafe or threatened , don’t let these thoughts sit in the back of your mind. Trust your instincts and react sensibly. If things get out of control, act wisely and seek help from the local authorities.
Let Your Friends And Family Know About Your Trip:
Keeping your kins informed about the travel plan would be vital. Something that I strongly believe in, specially after watching the movie “127 Hours” . If something goes wrong, they would know your whereabouts.
Write A Review:
Your review must not necessarily be a positive one, but must certainly be truthful. Think about those surfers who would choose to stay with the host based on your reviews like you did on someone else’s. If you encountered something that made your stay unplesant, warn others about it. Be Honest!
Have you ever tried couch surfing as a host or as a guest? If not, are you willing to try?
I’ve never tried couch surfing before – I wouldn’t mind connecting with a host who can tell me about all of the awesome places in the area, but sometimes I am a little concerned for my safety. I prefer to rent apartments while I travel. Thanks for the tips though! 🙂
I usually check the reviews about the host before opting for one. Inexpensive travel with the real local way of exploring 😉
I just signed up for CS and these trips will come in handy! Thanks!
Thanks Joe, sounds great 😉
I wasn’t aware of that story – pretty scary and a bad rep for the company. I’ve signed up but never used it yet. Have began considering it as the money gets tighter!
Yes Gemma, I got a bit more cautious after reading the story. I do spend 3-4 days a month couch surfing, so far it has been amazing.
My first encounter with CS has always been positive till now. I have always been careful when choosing a host or accepting requests. My only rule is don’t be an idiot really and only trust yourself and no one else.
Hi Kristine, that sounds great. I love your rule , it would certainly keep you wise and safe. Cheers and thanks for writing in.
First of all I love the fact that you have two separate ways to say “got a couch” in Portuguese, one for Portugal and the other one for Brazil. I’m from Portugal and nowadays it’s very common to see just the Brazilian way. Haha. Thank you for that. Couch surfing is on my to do list. Everyone keeps saying that it’s an amazing experience in which you usually make friends and find great people. Nice tips here.
Thanks Marta or like you say “Obrigado”. Glad to know that these tips are helpful to you. Do give it a try after reading some reviews of the host. Trust me if the host turns out to be an interesting person, your trip would undoubtedly be the best one.
Definitely want to experience Couch Surfing at least once and if it turns out to be good then I may continue. Thanks for the tips!
Experience would certainly differ from host to host. Wish you a good luck Vedant. Cheers!!
I am definitely willing to try couch surfing. These tips of yours are very precise so would be a handy guide whenever I try CS.
Thanks Jessica, nice to know that. Cheers!!!
I’ve never tried Couch Surfing. Looks like a good alternative but idk if it’s for me. Great tips though!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts Jana. Its an one of a kind experience, worth trying once at-least.
I have had some great and also some OK experiences with couch surfing….I think using your instincts is a very good thing to remember… you have to feel comfortable.
True Kimberly, using one’s instincts would certainly be the best thing.
Great tips here. I have never tried Couch Surfing, but this sounds like reasonable advice.
Thanks Tracie, nice to know that.
There is some good advice here. I just wrote a post about using AirBnB and recommended some of the same tips. Reviews and making contact with the host first is recommended. If you are comfortable with both, don’t do it. And I agree leave an honest review it will help the next person!
Absolutely Elizabeth, reviews and making contact with the host do play a vital role, as it gives an idea of what to expect and is the best time to decide if want to be hosted.
I love the translation! I think this is really important when writing to hosts! I am an active member of CS for 7 years now and I still do this up until today! Thanks for sharing! Xx
Thanks for droppin by Trisha, that sounds great. Am sure you might have met some incredible people while surfing.
I have a few friends that couch surf. But, I don’t think it’s for me. Thanks for the tips though!
Its an unique experience though.