• Hi Everyone,

    As a seasoned CS veteran, going onto my 8th consecutive year, having started with this community as far back as 2005, I can vouch for the fact that I've hosted several couch surfers over the years and from a very diverse group of cultures, countries and ethnic groups.

    One of the things that I've learnt over the years is that common sense is not always perceived as something common by every culture, nationality and social group, though I think there should be a set standard of non negotiable rules when it comes to being a good CS guest. I'm not going to name drop anyone, but this has happened to me on more than one occasion over the last few years.

    Common Courtesy Rules as a CS guest include:

    1. Don't freeload off your host's dinner table
    When you're surfing somebody's couch as a guest, do bring something to the dinner table even if it's only something small, like a bottle of bubbly or SOMETHING to show that you're not freeloading off your host. Every now so often, I've had a guest that brought absolutely NOTHING to the table and simply expected to consume the food and drink I had at home without making the slightest attempt to contribute anything towards the food/household expenses. Whilst I will never ever charge anyone for surfing at my house, at the very least it shows respect to bring something to the dinner table.

    2. Pay for your own coffee when going out
    Yes I know this might seem common sense to most of you out there, but trust me, with so many diverse cultures traversing the world, not everyone sees this as common sense. On more than one occasion, when showing CS guests around, we'd typically stop at a coffee shop or snack bar on our way out, only to have the CS guest sit back and not lift a finger when the bill arrives. Your host is there to offer you free accommodation and keep you company, not pay for all your drinks and meals when you go out. Show some respect by at least taking out your wallet and paying for your own food and beverages without having your host asking you to do so.

    3. Give your host some breathing space
    Although it's great to have couch surfers over, it's not always feasible to spend 100% of your free time with guests. Your host is there to simplify your life a little - by offering you their couch at zero charge and also to get to know you better and show you around a bit, but they can't spend all their time with you all the time. They also have their own lives to live and also need to have some private time to themselves.

    4. Don't ask your host to drive you everywhere
    Whilst it's nice to know that your host is willing to take you on a mini tour and show you some breathtaking scenes around their city, don't take gross advantage of your host by expecting them to be a private taxi driver and drive you everywhere your heart desires. It shows disrespect and a lack of common courtesy. If they offer to show you around out of their own free will, that's great, but don't expect it all the time.

    5. Write a positive reference
    If you had a great time with your host, don't wait until you get back to your home town before writing them a nice reference. Your host was not "too busy to host you" when you needed accommodation and someone to show you around, so please at the very least spare a few minutes to write something nice about your host. I've been in situations where I've had guests stay with me for up to seven days, showed them a great time, and had to wait something like 3 or 4 months before getting a reference from them because they were "too busy traveling and getting on with their life" to take a few minutes to write a reference.

    If anyone else can add anything to this, feel free, but I think as a CS community there needs to be certain standards that has to be universal for CS to keep on being an awesome community :)
    Thanks Pravanya!! I think I should do the same :)

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