Free Couchsurfing: 5 tips before you get started


Free Couchsurfing is a popular way to travel, especially among young people. The concept is very simple: you stay with someone who has an extra sofa or room in their home, and in return, you offer them a place to stay when they are in your town.

How does Couchsurfing work?

A method of travel with many advantages

This exchange does not involve any financial consideration, as the concept of Couchsurfing does not involve money. You will, however, be asked to help with some household chores or simply to share your interesting travel stories with your host.

It's an excellent way of meeting new people and getting a taste of local life. As you will have realized, this way of traveling also saves on accommodation costs.

Based on authenticity and exchange with others

For many people, the idea of Couchsurfing conjures up images of young backpackers sleeping on strangers' sofas with the sole aim of cutting their expenses. While this is certainly one way of doing Couchsurfing, it is by no means the only way.

In recent years, Couchsurfing has become a popular way for travelers of all ages to connect with local people and enjoy an authentic travel experience.

So whether you're looking for a place to stay in a new city or just want to meet new people, Couchsurfing can be a great option.

How do I go about Couchsurfing?

Free couchsurfing: register on the website

It's generally quite easy to sign up. You create a profile, then search for hosts in the city you're visiting. When writing your profile, make sure you're as real and transparent as possible about yourself.

Put up a clear photo of yourself, and indicate the comfort of your accommodation, as well as the facilities available. Couchsurfers do the same, and this will help you to target the right people for you.

Optimizing your Couchsurfer profile

It is strongly recommended, if not essential, that you write in English, unless you are targeting a specific area of the globe such as Latin America, for example, and you are fluent in Spanish or Portuguese.

However, most surfers like to travel all over the world, so English is often the best choice. Don't give your exact address, you can give it to the people you are going to host or come and pick them up directly at the airport/station.

Inspire confidence in other members

Bear in mind that positive comments have a huge influence on your ability to convince future globetrotters, but when you're just starting out you don't have any references. So put as many chances as possible on your side when writing your profile.

Get to know your host a little before you commit yourself.

A human adventure

It's vital to feel at ease with the person you're staying with. Couchsurfing is first and foremost a way of traveling based on sharing and discovering other people. It's best to make sure that the person you're about to stay with trusts you and offers a holiday environment that suits you.

Assessing compatibility

Ask questions about the house and the town. It's important that the town where your host lives arouses an interest in you, and that your host notices this! They'll be all the more excited about the idea of welcoming you.

Next, get an idea of their personality and make sure that the two of you hit it off. How old is he or she? What does this person like in life? Do you share certain interests? Are you already planning activities together when you come?

Make up your mind

Finally, it's your turn to take a close look at the host's references. How many are there? What do the good reviews say about him? His friendliness, his house, his welcome? Is he a verified member?

If there are bad comments, don't panic, your host may have had a bad experience with someone but there's nothing to say they were at fault. Compare the number of negative comments to the number of positive comments and make up your mind.

When you're there, don't forget a few rules and tricks, but above all, make the most of it!

Adopt the right attitude towards your host.

Remember that free Couchsurfing is not a hotel. You'll be sleeping in someone's home, so be respectful of their space and belongings. You may not be allowed in certain areas of the house, such as the office. If you're not sure where you can go, simply ask your host.

And don't forget to clean up after yourself. When you leave, leave a nice note for your host, or give them a little something to thank them for their hospitality.

If your experience has been a success (and we do not doubt that it will be, because you're following our advice!), leave a positive comment on the host's profile, and they'll do the same.

Take advantage of your host's tips and tricks

You've got someone to lean on in a foreign country - that's quite an advantage, so make the most of it! Chances are that your host has lived in the town for some time, and is therefore very familiar with all the good tips and hidden treasures to be found there. That way, you can avoid the usual tourist attractions and experience life like a real local!

In terms of cultural immersion, your experience will be that much better too. Living in someone's home is a bit like having access to their privacy, and you get a much better feel for the culture you're immersed in than you would in a hotel or hostel!

Make the most of it!

And don't forget to have fun! Couchsurfing gives you the chance to meet new people and discover new cultures. You're there for an authentic experience based on sharing and discovering other people. Hosted by hipsters from New York or San Francisco?

You're sure to have a chance to party with them. Or with a couple in their fifties in Quebec's Laurentians? They'll be more than happy to show you all that their beautiful region has to offer.

Think of Couchsurfing evenings too. These events are organized regularly in many towns and cities, giving hosts the chance to meet each other and couch surfers the chance to make new friends!

Even if the concept of Couchsurfing is brilliant, you must remain vigilant

"Last minute couch request"

This is a group that allows you to find a host in a hurry in the event of a major problem. It's a good way of getting started and collecting your first host reviews, which are so important for convincing and reassuring potential surfers.

However, you shouldn't fall back on this technique and accept just anyone into your home at the last minute! You should also check that these people have good references.

While it's always possible to find yourself stranded at the last minute, many people just use this technique to take advantage of the hospitality of hosts by not even bothering to send them a personalized request or with profiles without photos.

Couchsurfing: hosts motivated by reviews

Just as you need to have a warm and respectful attitude towards your host, they also need to make you feel welcome.

Unfortunately, not all hosts are well-intentioned, and while some couch surfers take advantage of their host's accommodation as a cheap hostel, they may also be motivated by the simple aim of getting good reviews.

When it's like that, don't hesitate to leave. Don't give in to blackmail by these hosts because they will perpetuate their method, and this distorts the authenticity of positive reviews for everyone!

Women are even more vigilant

Unfortunately, some ill-intentioned people may post slightly dubious adverts on the site or behave inappropriately once the person has arrived: "You can sleep in my bed", "I organize hot parties at my house", etc.

Some men may also be tempted to host a woman simply because she is one or because of her beauty. Faced with this phenomenon, many girls find it more reassuring to host each other, and for those who have gone on their own, many don't know if they could try the adventure again unaccompanied.

In conclusion, a wonderful experience

Despite a few minor drawbacks, if you're tempted by the adventure of couchsurfing, don't hesitate for a second! Taking the time to establish quality contact with your host will allow you to leave with peace of mind and try the adventure.

With over a million members, you're bound to find the Couchsurfing experience that's right for you.