Couchsurfing: A "How To"

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Couchsurfing is one of those things that will revolutionize the way you travel and even change your life and perspectives. When traveling, not being a tourist on vacation, but really traveling we often try to find out more about those places we pass through or linger in for awhile. We hope to find out more about the culture, history, sites, food, and most importantly people. We count on those small interactions at the market, getting invited to a beer or coffee with a friendly guy at a restaurant, playing with some children in the train, those small interactions make one’s experience. Couchsurfing, check out our article, gives us the chance to get a sort of full immersion in the culture even feeling a part of it, living, eating, and so much more as a local. If you have an open mind and hope to discover this side of a city, country, or culture then go ahead open up a new tab and set up your account.

If you don’t have a couchsurfing account, here’s how to set one up, and if you already have one, but have never used it you might want to check out this “How to” for some tips in guaranteeing you’ll get accepted when you write your next couch request!

Making a Profile

You’re profile is a large part of what makes your potential host hit either the Accept or the Deny button. 

Edit your profile anytime you want, even after you set up your account

The Picture

Of course its always better to have a complete profile. Post several pictures, preferably of you looking like a normal yet interesting person. You want your picture to say “I’m a fun and happy person”, a person someone would want to invite in their house. Travel pictures are always a hit, and usually work better than a bedroom selfie or a drunken party picture.

The Information

It is important to fill out each part of your couchsurfing profile. Include your interests so people can get an idea about what kind of a person you are. Having interests or statements that make you stand out as a person always helps out. 

Don't forget to click on the tabs to make sure you fill up every information


Sadly when you start couchsurfing you won’t have any references and rare are those who want to host a surfer or surf with a host who has no references. If you know anyone, anyone at all who has couchsurfing find them, send them a reference and they will do the same for you. If you know absolutely no one you can find a couchsurf meeting, go there, meet people, and from that meeting you will be able to make a few friends and thus a few references. If though you know no one on couchsurfing, there are no couchsurfing meetings near you, make sure that you include in your next couchsurfing request something about you being new to couchsurfing. Of course a “full” profile helps your potential host overlook that.

References are visible at the bottom of any profile

Searching for a Couch


The mobile application for couchsurfing is way better (in our opinion) and easier to use than the website, especially for searching for a couch. On the mobile application as well as the website you can do the search by a map. On the mobile application dots on the map (larger for more hosts, smaller for less) indicate in which cities there are hosts. This is very handy if you are traveling around a country and hoping to stay somewhere in the country side or in a certain are as you don’t have to search each individual city, but can possibly find some awesome off the track destination where one person happens to be hosting. These often turn out to be some of the best experiences as well. On the website you can type in the name of the city where you would like to stay. You also have the option to search in the proximity of that city which is helpful if you are traveling in a touristic destination or small town. In addition, you can adjust the parameters. For example, if you are a solo woman you may want to only search hosts who are female or if you are in your forties or fifties you may not want to stay with a twenty year old college kid, and may want to search for hosts older than 30. Searching for a host is quite easy and you will quickly get the hang of it.

Click the "Surf" button and start looking for hosts by typing the name of a city


Once you have a location and are looking at the list of potential hosts make sure you read their profiles well. Find out what kind of person they are, some profiles mention certain conditions that you should be aware of, such as a vegetarian that doesn’t allow meat products in their house, or someone who will offer to drive you around but expects you to contribute to gas, or someone who can only host on weekends. Also there is a small logo which shows if their couch is available or if there is a coffee logo they are only available to meet up, show you around, or go out for a coffee, drink, or a bite to eat. 

Once you get a list of potential hosts you can filter and sort the profiles

A request is usually best if written around 5 days in advance. This gives the potential host enough time to arrange for you to come and also not too much time that they will forget or have to change their plans around later.

Sending a Request

It’s always better to choose only a few hosts that you would really like to stay with and feel that you would connect with and writing them very good, personalized requests that witing twenty cut and paste requests (you can save those for the last minute day before requests).

Hit the "Send CouchRequest" button on any profile to be able to write them a message,
then fill up all the details

Who you are

You should first introduce yourself. Explain why your traveling, where, and how long. Mention something funny or interesting about yourself that’s not in your profile.

Why you’re going there

What makes there city special? Why do you want to go there? Make sure you mention how excited you are to visit their city.

Why you’re sending them a request

Why them and not one of the other twenty hosts? Mention something you have in common, or just something interesting about them that you noticed in their profile.

Duration of Stay

You should not request too long a period usually four or five days maximum. We always try to stay three days as shorter doesn’t give you enough time to get to know and spend time with your host. Also too short of a period is also not recommended. When you request only one night, it doesn’t give you any time to get to know the person or even really explore the city, but it can be done, and even in one day you can often have a wonderful time and really get along often getting invited or asking to stay a day more. If you hope to stay for a longer period of time it’s often better to ask once you get to know the host as rarely will someone be accepted for an entire week.


In addition to including all this information your request shouldn’t be so long. You don’t want to bore them or for them to stop for a coffee break while reading your request but you want to include all the previous information.

I hope these tips will help someone in embarking on their couchsurfing adventure. Try it out go ahead. Once you do you will be addicted and will not want to travel any other way. Also try it a few times not just one because each experience is completely different. Please look for our upcoming post about the Meeting!


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  2. I met so many wonderful people via couch surfing from hosting people and being hosted. It's really the best way to travel. You can really live like a local and to experience different style of living, trying local food. I hope more and more people will join couch surfing. good artical guys