The idea of CouchSurfing in my opinion is the following:
- Get to know people from other countries you wouldn’t meet when spending your holidays in some random 5* Resort.
- See other countries in a way you would not see them when spending your holidays in some resort, only doing the standard excursions with other resort guests.
- Enjoy the culture of another country in a way you can only enjoy it when spending time with locals.
The principle is also not too difficult to understand:
- Go to CouchSurfing.org, create a profile, fill it in as far as you want/have time to/can.
- Do a CouchSearch for the city you want to visit.
- Check the people who according to the Search could offer a place to crash. Do they seem nice? Would you want to spend (part of) your vacation with them?
- Send CouchRequests. This seems to be the hardest part, especially for newbies.
So, here’s more about Writing Good CouchRequests:
First – there is a seperate button “CouchSurf with…” which will open the Request Form. Use this button, not the one saying “Send message to…”!
Second – let your maybe-host know you read their profile! It’s always great to use your chosen one’s name – not only the username, but their real one. It might take some time to find it, but try! Some might even ask you to use some keyword that is hidden somewhere in their profile. And of course it’s important to let them know why you chose them. Do you like the same kind of movies/books/music? Do you share interests or hobbies? Do you know much about a country they want to visit?
Third – give them as much information about your plans as possible and necessary. They don’t need a day-to-day schedule, but the basic information: when are you going to arrive? when are you leaving? what kinds of transport are you going to use? what would you like to do?
But still – the request doesn’t have to be a novel. I heard about one CouchSurfer who hosted a guy whose request was the following:
I’ll bring beer!
Do I have to mention Michael loves beer?