Community Guidelines

To be a Couchsurfing member, you must agree to follow these simple guidelines to help make this community a better place for us all:

1. Do Respect Others
Couchsurfing is a meeting place for people of different cultures, lifestyles and ideals. By joining our community, you promise to communicate with respect and consideration, even if you encounter someone you disagree with.

2. Do Make Informed Decisions
Our trust network is self–moderating. Always look out for your own safety by reading profiles carefully, and help others make good decisions by leaving references after hosting or surfing.

3. Don’t Spam
We value human interaction. Please don’t create copy–and–paste messages, Couchrequests, group posts or event listings. Don’t use Couchsurfing to promote a business or product.

4. Don’t Go Looking for a Date
Our members join Couchsurfing to create friendships. Don’t contact other members for dating – we will consider this harassment.

5. Don’t Charge for Your Couch
Our community offers free exchange of hospitality. Asking for money or labor in exchange for your couch is not allowed.

6. Don’t Let Anyone Under 18 Use the Website
Many of our members host or surf with their families, children included. However, only adults may create profiles and choose who to meet.

7. Don’t Create More than One Profile
The profile that you are about to create is the only one that you may have. Our trust network needs everyone to stand by their reputation. And profiles can be for real people only – please no joke profiles, pet profiles, etc.

8. Surfing Is a Privilege, Not a Right
As a surfer, recognize that you are asking to stay in someone’s home. No one is ever obligated to accept your request. Couch availability is never guaranteed. As a host, never feel pressured to accept a request, but do make an effort to respond to surfers even if you can’t host them.

Couchsurfing’s Be Considerate and Respectful Policy

The “Be Considerate and Respectful” policy detailed below is one part of several policies that all members must abide by when they use Couchsurfing, including the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

These policies can be updated at any time, at the discretion of Couchsurfing. To read Couchsurfing’s member policies, please visit Couchsurfing Guidelines and Couchsurfing Terms of Use.

Overview. A core Couchsurfing principle ( “Be Considerate and Respectful” ) requires that people treat other people in the Couchsurfing community with civility, respect and consideration – both online and offline. Assume that others in the community are also trying to connect with one another in a meaningful way to create a great community. Respect opposing or differing opinions and beliefs. Try to listen to and understand others with whom you may disagree. Encourage others in the community to also be welcoming and respectful.

Working together to resolve disputes. Couchsurfers are always encouraged to work through their member disputes and problems together with the other Couchsurfers. Couchsurfing offers the opportunity to learn from other members through their different experiences and struggles, and members are encouraged to work through their differences with other members in a respectful manner. Working together with others as well as learning about and appreciating different viewpoints are all-important aspects of the Couchsurfing experience.

Attacking members or their content. Personal attacks are not allowed on Couchsurfing, nor are disrespectful or insulting attacks directed at other people and their contributions to the community. Be civil and respectful in disagreement with others and don’t (1) attack or disparage other people, (2) refer to other people’s content with insulting or disrespectful language or (3) harass others on the site. These behaviors hurt the Couchsurfing community and deter users from helping to create a better community of trust and sharing.

Use good judgment and be empathetic. Try to see the world from the perspective of the person who you are interacting with on Couchsurfing. People contribute to the Couchsurfing community in their own way, so comments or discussions that challenge a person’s “way” of Couchsurfing are often not helpful and undermine the community. Disputes between members can occur when differing cultural norms create a misunderstanding, as many things are acceptable in some cultures and unacceptable in others. All members are encouraged to explore their differences with others, be empathetic and take the time to understand how differing cultural backgrounds may have a role in a situation.

Member interactions and how to disagree. Couchsurfing provides a variety of ways to interact with other members online, including: Comment threads, References, Direct member–to–member Messages, Couchrequests, Events and member Profiles. Couchsurfing is a meeting place for people of different cultures, lifestyles and ideals. By joining our community, you agree to communicate with respect and consideration, even if you encounter someone with whom you disagree. A key goal of the Be Considerate and Respectful policy is to ensure comments do not discourage or intimidate other people; Couchsurfing is an open community that encourages cultural exchange with people from all over the world.

It is okay to disagree. In fact, alternative points of view are a key part of cultural exchange as long as your comments are civil, respectful and polite. Remember to give the impression of assuming goodwill on the part of the person with whom you are disagreeing. A good way to test this is asking yourself, “If I am new to Couchsurfing and/or don’t know you, would it be reasonable for me to perceive your comment as hostile or disrespectful toward me or what I’ve written?” The answer should be no.

If you disagree with another Couchsurfer, you are welcome to state your position. If other Couchsurfers continue to disagree with your position, letting the issue drop by no longer commenting or contacting the member and moving on is preferable to lengthening a potentially negative exchange that could create the impression that you are harassing, attacking and/or bullying another person.

Examples. Examples of behaviors that violate the “Be Considerate and Respectful” policy include:

  • Personal attacks, including hurtful, insulting or hostile comments.
  • Making unjustified accusations against other user(s).
  • Engaging in a pattern of behavior that constitutes harassment of a targeted person or persons (e.g., by making threats, repeated annoying and unwanted contacts, repeated personal attacks or posting personal information).
  • Racial, sexual, homophobic, ageist, religious, political, ethnic or other epithets directed against another Couchsurfer.
  • Criticizing other members for what you consider a lack of experience in the Couchsurfing community or criticizing someone for Couchsurfing “the wrong way.”

Harassment. Harassment is defined as a pattern of offensive behavior that appears to a reasonable observer to have the purpose of adversely affecting a targeted person or persons. The intended outcome may be to make using Couchsurfing unpleasant for the target, to undermine them or to discourage them from using the site for online or offline interactions. Examples of harassment include making threats, repeated annoying and unwanted contacts with a person or posting the personal information of another person.

Hate speech. Users are not allowed to post content or adopt a tone that would be interpreted by an observer as a form of hate speech, particularly any that may disparage any ethnic, racial, sexual or religious group by stereotypical depiction or is otherwise abusive or inflammatory.

Retaliation is not okay. It is never okay to violate the Be Considerate and Respectful policy, even in response to another person who has violated the policy.

Safety is a cornerstone of the Couchsurfing community. Member safety is very important to Couchsurfing and the health of the community. Couchsurfing has a robust Safety Policy and procedures for all members to follow. For more information, please visit the Couchsurfing Trust and Safety center.

Reporting violations of Be Considerate and Respectful. If you feel another person is violating this policy with respect to you or your content, you should use the Flagging or Report tools available next to posts and Events. You can also contact our Support team.

Consequences. Content that violates this policy may be removed, and violations of this policy can result in a warning and/or removal of access to elements of the site or features. In some instances, the offender will be removed from the Couchsurfing community. All policy enforcement and member consequence decisions are made entirely at the discretion of Couchsurfing. Staff decisions are final and considered private matters between Couchsurfing’s staff and the member(s) involved. If there are any questions about a recent action taken on your account, please contact Couchsurfing Support for details.