It’s Oktoberfest season in Munich, so I´ve been getting a lot of couchsurfing requests lately, way more than I can, or want to, host.
Also, couchsurfing has gained a lot of popularity and attention lately, so there`s an influx of a huge number of cs newbies, which, unfortunately, leads to a rising percentage of lame requests.
So here’s some tips on how to get hosted – that is, hosted by me, according to my subjective critieria.
1) References, references, references. There’s no better way to show me that you’re a nice guest than having positive previous references. Of course, everybody has to start somewhere, with no references, that is – but why not host people at your place, before asking others to host you? If you have no references at all, I might still host you, but you’ll have to overcome pretty long odds.
2) Read my profile, and show me that you’ve done so. Usually you’ll have to send a few requests until you find a hosts, so it’s perfectly OK to copy-and-paste the same request to multiple hosts – but add a little something that refers to my profile, to show me that you’ve read it. This assures me both that you’ve read and understand what you’re getting into in terms of location, couch and “house rules”, and that you’re not only looking to save money, but also to make a local connection, which makes hosting you more fun for me.
3) Show me who you are. Again, references help a lot here. Getting verified is also good for showing me that you’re a safe guest. At the very least, have a few recognizable pictures, and fill out your profile in a way that shows me what kind of person you are, and what kind of things you like to do. A couchsurfing request that’s a bit longer than two lines also helps. For example, if you’re into good food, experiencing local culture, interested in art or history, or a science nerd, we’ll almost definitely find a common interest, whereas if you want to mostly go out and party, you’re much better off with a different host, because I’ll neither be interested in joing you, nor can I tell you which clubs are good to go to.
4) Show some interest in couchsurfing. I’m happy to help you save hotel money, but I don’t want to be used as a free hotel. Couchsurfing is based on reciprocity and making international connection. Not everybody has the space to host, and you don’t have to get terribly involved, but you should couchsurf because you want to support a good idea and community, not because you heard it’s cheaper than hostels.