Getting Started: How to Host Travelers with Couchsurfing

Interested in hosting? Here's how to get started!

Step One: Figure Out Your Expectations

As a host, you can (and should) set whatever guidelines you like for CouchSurfers who are staying in your home. Sit down with anyone you live with and decide what boundaries you'd like to set. How often do you want to host? For how many days at a time? How many CouchSurfers can you have at one time? Is it ok for them to use the kitchen? Are there any quiet hours, or times when CouchSurfers will need to be out of the house? How much time do you expect to spend with your guests? Write down the information that you decide on.

Step Two: Create Your Profile

It's time to fill out your profile. As a host, pay special attention to the "couch" section. This is where you should outline all of the expectations you figured out in Step One. By putting this information on your profile, you'll receive CouchRequests from CouchSurfers who are willing to follow your guidelines. As for the other sections of your profile, read these tips, then go ahead and tell us about yourself!

Step Three: Learn How to Read a Couchsurfing Profile

When you're choosing who to host, reading a member's profile carefully is one of the most important steps you should take. It helps keep you safe, and helps you have more positive experiences. Read these tips to learn more.

Step Four: Start Connecting

The more friends and references you have, the easier it is to meet more people. So even before you start hosting, it's a good idea to get out into the community.

The easiest way is to join or create an Activity near you. You can find a list of upcoming Activities on your dashboard or through CouchSearch. They can be anything from a casual bike ride to a giant party.
Don’t see anything you like? With just a few clicks you can create your own listing for other CouchSurfers to see and join.

You can also contact a nearby Ambassador to ask for advice. Ambassadors are active CS members who help support the community. To find one near you, set your location in CouchSearch, then on the left hand column under "Community" select "Ambassador."

You can also contact a nearby traveler. Find someone you'd like to get to know and offer to show them around your city, or invite them for a coffee.

If you'd prefer to meet a lot of CouchSurfers at once, try a local event. You can find one by searching the events listings. Also, the discussion group for your city will often have event announcements.

Step Five: Read CouchRequests Carefully

Before long you'll begin receiving CouchRequests from members interested in staying on your couch. First, do a quick sort. CouchRequests shouldn't be copy-and-paste "can I crash with you?" messages, they should be thoughtful and personalized. Look for messages that use your name and make it clear that the member has read your profile. Once you've narrowed it down to these messages, read each note and the profile of the member who sent it.

Step Six: Be Selective

The best way to be sure to have positive experiences is to host who you want, when you want. Look for people who understand your guidelines, are coming at a time that is convenient for you, and most importantly -- people you're interested in learning more about!

Step Seven: Get Ready, Get Set, Host!

You've confirmed a time and meeting place with your CouchSurfer, and they're on their way. Read these tips about how to have a good experience during their stay!

Step Eight: Follow Up With a Reference

After your experience, the last thing to do is to write your CouchSurfer a reference. A reference is feedback you write that will appear on your CouchSurfer's profile, describing the interaction you had with them. Please read about what references are and how they work, then go to your CouchSurfer's profile and leave your reference.

Step Nine: Learn More

Read the rest of our tips to learn about how to get the most out of Couchsurfing!

And that's your first Couchsurfing experience! As you host more the process becomes second nature, but you should always follow this basic set of steps, all the way from reading profiles carefully to leaving a considered reference.