Couchsurfing: You Don't Need the Luxury to Have Fun

I traveled to Copenhagen in this October for a wee getaway trip with a friend of mine. As we are both students, and Denmark, let's be honest here, is bloody pricey, we tried to save some money with Couchsurfing. In case you don't know, Couchsurfing site was launched in 2004, and it is a big community to help backpackers save some money and meet new people all around the world. Sounds easy and a good deal, right? 

This was my second time Couchsurfing, as I did it in Stockholm not too long ago, which makes me kind of an expert (at least I regard myself one). Therefore, I am writing this piece for those who would like to try it but somehow never did, also I will enrich you with some useful tips.

Check Couchsurfing our for yourself here!

 

Why Try Couchsurfing?

 

1. First of all, you can stay at a place for free. That is a big advantage, and most of the people out there go because of this reason, so don’t feel guilty if it is your reason too.

 

2. You meet amazing people. You really do, you might even make long-lasting friendships. Also, you will have a place to stay at, anytime you go back to that particular city. Just be open-minded for everything. In Copenhagen, our host was a queer person, and I’ve never had such an amazing talk about gender and its issues before, not even in my sociology classes. 

 

3. You do stuff, you would not do as a tourist. Our host in Copenhagen took us kayaking to the beach. How cool is that?! He also showed us around a bit in the city and took us to a really cool Danish pub. Thanks to him, I now know what Danes drink on a Friday night, and I also know some drinking games. 

 

4. You have a free tourist guide. And locals are more than happy to talk about their own town. You won't only go to the popular touristic places, but you will see the cutest streets and hidden treasures too. 

 

5. You have some language classes. And again, locals not just love their city, but they also love their language. I’ve never seen someone as enthusiastic as my Swedish host from last year trying to teach me some Swedish. 

 

Issues with Couchsurfing:

 

1. It is time-consuming. Finding a good host isn’t that easy. Be ready, a lot of people will decline your request. You might don’t fit their expectations and vice versa.

 

2. If you are new to Couchsurfing it’s even harder to find a host, as most people on the site will check your ‘references’, and if you have never done it you won’t have references. But you know what they say, every beginning is hard.

 

3. Your host might cancel on you…in the very last minute. It happened to us in Copenhagen. We just arrived at the airport, when I saw he cancelled on us for that night. 

 

4. You might have free accommodation, but personal space is important too. 

 

5. You can only send 10 messages/week if you are not a verified member. The site is free, but you have limited numbers of messages, except you pay 50 pounds. I would recommend choosing whom you will send a message to wisely. 

 

Tips 

 

1. Give yourself enough time to find a host.

 

2. Don’t settle for anyone, even if you’re desperate. You should rather book a hostel than stay at someone’s place you don’t like.

 

3. Reed your host’s references, and house rules.

 

4. Let your host know about your plans. It’s important so there won’t be any misunderstanding and you can plan to do something nice together as well.

 

5. Don’t expect them to be with you 24/7 and have them as a tourist guide. Some host will be super nice and helpful, but they also have their life, work etc. 

 

How to Be a Good Couch Surfer

 

1. Get to know your host. They aren’t only your ‘hotel room provider’. 

 

2. I don’t want to say you have to, but I recommend you should get some small gift to your host. It makes them happy.

 

3. Respect their home. And pretty much respect your host too. 

 

4.  Share your food and stories. Cooking together whilst talking and sharing the experience is super nice and will make everyone happy and satisfied. 

 

5. Be respectful to your host’s schedule. You might don’t care when you eat, sleep and do your own stuff but they have a life as well.