I first joined Couchsurfing in 2010, and since then have hosted dozens of travellers at my place, as well as surfed in a number of places. Since then, I have watched Couchsurfing’s popularity explode, which at first I thought was awesome – it really renews your faith in humanity to think so many people are willing to offer a friendly home to strangers far from their own families and friends.
Then, everything came crashing down when I heard my own friends (Yes! My own friends!) delightfully exclaim they’d just worked out the could save stacks of money by Couchsurfing! Just like airbnb, but without the money!
*** Now, here I’m going to add a little disclaimer in that yes I know that saving money is a reason people use couch surfing. Hell, it’s a reason I use Couchsurfing. But if it is your only reason, or even your primary reason – you and I will have to disagree.
Since then, I have received a number of Couchrequests that have driven this home to me. One: ‘Hi, I’m coming to Adelaide for a few days in June. Could you send me a pic of your apartment?’ Perhaps unsurprisingly, the answer was no. So, if you are new to Couchsurfing, here are a few tips on how to make me say yes!
- Make sure you use the host’s correct name – this sounds simple, but I would estimate 10% of the requests I receive have someone else’s name on them. I don’t mind if some of it’s copy and pasted, like your trip details, but at least try to make an effort to get the name right!
- Explain a little bit about why you chose that host – for me, the biggest YES! comes from when people identify something on my profile that makes them think we’ll get along. If you tell me ‘Hi Georgie, I also love switching between reading case law and binge watching Teen Mom 2, so I think we’d get along’, I will roll out the red carpet for you.
- Tell me a little about your plans – do you want to do things together, or are you more of a lone wolf with lonelyplanet.com and a mission? Either is fine, but it will help me prepare for your visit.
- Be memorable – I receive a few requests a day, and I hear in the big cities it’s often dozens or even more. So if you make your message a bit longer and inject some personality, you’re much more likely to get that nice ‘approved’ tick.