Tips for Hosting
As a new host, you might be wondering how to have a good experience with your Couchsurfers. Every situation is unique, but there are some easy things to keep in mind as you're hosting that will help both you and your guests have a good time. In general, balancing good communication with an open mind should get you off to a good start.
Before Your Couchsurfers Arrive
- Choose your Couchsurfers carefully. Depending on where you live, you may get quite a few Couch Requests. You are never obligated to host anyone! Read each Couchsurfer's Couch Request and profile carefully before making your decision.
- Check with your roommates or family. Whenever you accept a Couch Request, make sure anyone who lives with you is aware of and ok with your plans. There's nothing more awkward for a guest than an angry landlord or an irritated roommate.
- Discuss your plans. Find out when your Couchsurfers are arriving and make sure your meeting place and time are clear. Give them a phone number where they can reach you in case their plans change or they get lost. Also, make sure you know in advance how long their stay will be.
While You're Hosting
- Show and tell. As a host, it's up to you how your Couchsurfers can and can't use your space. It's important to communicate these guidelines early on. Make sure that they understand how they should come and go from the house. Show them where they'll be sleeping and how the shower works. Be clear about what they can and can't use: your computer, your phone, your kitchen, et cetera. If water or electricity is particularly expensive where you live, be sure to warn them so that they know not to use too much.
- Discuss your schedule. Let your Couchsurfers know how much time you'd like to spend with them, and when you'll be available. If you'd like to invite them along to an activity you have planned, tell them about it in advance. Also be clear about any schedule you'd like them to follow, whether that means a time to be out of the house in the morning or quiet hours during the night.
- Ways to be welcoming to your Couchsurfers. If you have the time and the interest, taking your Couchsurfers to interesting places in your city is usually appreciated. Some busy hosts make their own local guides to help Couchsurfers find fun spots on their own. Many hosts try to have dinner with their Couchsurfers at least once during their stay. In general, simply sharing your time is a nice gesture!
- Share your knowledge. There are lots of things that locals know that travelers don't: how much a taxi should cost, where the good restaurants are, which types of public transportation are safe and reliable. Pointing your Couchsurfers in the right direction is a kind thing to do.
- Express yourself. If, at any time, you aren't happy with your Couchsurfer's behavior, be sure to tell them what you expect. In most cases, the problem will be unintentional or even cultural. If you don't speak up, your Couchsurfer might never even know she's bothered you. If for some reason the problem cannot be resolved, you always have the right to ask a Couchsurfer to leave.
- Share with the community. If you feel you've learned something about your Couchsurfer, whether it's about his personality or his ability to be a good guest, write a reference so that other hosts can learn more about him.