Last month I had the chance to couchsurf in one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever traveled to: Vancouver, B.C. Before this trip, I usually stayed in either hostels or airbnb’s while traveling. Since I was on a tighter budget this time around, my friend and I decided to try out couch-surfing, and I’m beyond glad I did! Not only did I have the chance to meet some of the most generous and kind-hearted people, I made really close friends who I still keep in contact with.
1. Don’t have any expectations! Of course, after checking out someone’s profile on couchsurfing.com, you may have a vague idea of what your host may be like, but they could turn out to be an entirely different person than what you’d expect. Thankfully I had a pleasant experience with both of my hosts. Besides being kind enough to invite us into their homes, I wasn’t expecting much else from them. But they certainly went above and beyond to make sure we felt at ease throughout our stay!
2. Have a Back-Up Plan. It’s always a great idea to have a plan b in case things don’t follow through. Whether your host cancels, you didn’t feel comfortable, etc. Keeping another host as an option, or saving an address to a hostel/hotel nearby may save you lots of stress.
3. Take the time to get to know your host. The main reason they’re inviting you into their home is most likely because they enjoy meeting new people and are genuinely interested in getting to know you! This might not be the case for all hosts, but I definitely felt that our hosts appreciated the time we spent together, whether it be going out to dinner, watching a film, or going for a hike.
Taken at Our Host’s Home, Vancouver Island, B.C.
4. Be open to stepping out of your comfort zone, but still keep your wits about you. If you’re planning to couchsurf, you’re probably already okay with the idea of being in a new and unfamiliar place. I find it to be an important part of the journey and is definitely a great learning experience. I still do find it important to listen to my intuition, and not do anything that would put me in serious danger.
5. Be Thoughtful & Respectful. You’d think this surely is common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people lack it. If someone is being generous enough to open their doors to you, the least you can do is be just as kind in return! It’s not a necessity, but just doing small favors such as buying them some groceries, flowers, or even a thank you card is just a small act of kindness that could make someone’s day.