Making a City Guide for your Couchsurfers

Packed schedule? Even if you don't have time to show your Couchsurfers around, you can still give them a local's view of the city. If you have the time and the interest, think about putting together an information packet.

Have fun! Make a binder, make a book, or just designate a drawer for papers - you'll probably learn some new things about your city in the process. Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Getting around. Navigating is one of the first things a traveler will need to figure out. You can probably find all sorts of maps for your city: street maps, public transit maps, tourist maps, even bicycling maps. Share the price of public transit, and how much a cab should cost. If there are areas in your city that can be dangerous, consider taking one map and drawing in the neighborhoods where your Couchsurfers should use caution.
  • Staying safe. Just in case, a list of emergency numbers for fire, police, and an ambulance can be helpful to your Couchsurfers. Also include your own address and phone number.
  • Getting things done. Even travelers have errands to run. Make a list or a map of nearby laundromats, supermarkets, produce markets, pharmacies, internet cafes, and other basics.
  • Wining and dining. What are your favorite restaurants, bars, and coffee houses? Put together an all-star list. Ask your friends and coworkers for their recommendations, too: you might find a new favorite hang out!
  • Playing around. What kind of sports and recreation are available in and around your city? Make a basic list of public swimming pools, gyms that sell day passes, drop-in yoga classes, and places that rent bicycles. Then think about all the great tips you probably have to share: great hiking trails in the area, nice bike trails or jogging routes, a good spot to find a pick up game of soccer, a bar with free pool tables, or a lake to swim in.
  • Stepping out. Compile some brochures from local cultural attractions: museums, theaters, historic centers, art galleries, music venues, movie theaters, whatever you can think of. If you have some favorite things that aren't in the guide books - a beautiful garden, a historic building, a book store, or a restaurant with live music every Friday - share that too!

When your packet is finished, you can keep it on hand to share with all your visitors. Your Couchsurfers will love the information, and you can head off to work knowing they'll have a good day out on their own.