How to Be a Good Couchsurfing Guest and Host

by Michael Catford May 16, 2017

According to those who partake, Couchsurfing is one of the most pure and humanitarian communities in the world. The system of completely obligation-free hosting and guesting where neither party has any expectation of money or goods changing hands is one that is incredibly unique in this day and age. People take part in order to do a little bit of good, and to meet new and always interesting people.

So how do you go about being a good participant in Couchsurfing? What should surfers and hosts do to ensure this community keeps its awesome reputation? Let’s take a look.

How to be a good guest

Being a good guest is about respect. Your host has allowed you into their home and into their lives – it’s no small thing. As a guest you should repaying the favour through showing the utmost respect, and perhaps even offering them something of value in return.

As a good Couchsurfing guest you should:

  • Have a completely honest profile – your host should know exactly what they’re getting themselves into!
  • Send personalised messages to the people with which you hope to stay.
  • Tell your host about any modifications of plans, delays of flights or changes of situation.
  • Be wary not to interfere too much in the host’s life. They may be working full time while hosting you, and not have the energy to show you around or cook a meal with you after a long day.
  • Offer value. While you may not be paying cash for your stay, offer up stories, teach your host something new, cook for them, and maybe even buy them a parting gift to say thanks.
  • Be clean. Keep yourself as tidy as possible – do the dishes straight away, and make sure your belongings stay within your bag rather than spreading across the living room.
  • Never bring people back to the host’s place.
  • Be wary of security. Do exactly as the host asks when it comes to locks and alarms.
  • Leave an honest review as soon as you leave.

How to be a good host

By the very fact that you’ve opened your home to perfect strangers, it could be argued that any Couchsurfing host is a good host. But if you truly care for the experience of your guests, it may be worth taking note of the following tips.

As a good Couchsurfing host you should:

  • Make sure your profile is completely honest, as you’d expect from your guests.
  • Vet your potential guests thoroughly. Only offer your home to people who have complete (and completely genuine) profiles. Ask potential guests to use a keyword in their requests to vet those that request anyone and everyone.
  • Meet your guests at their point of arrival, not your house. This gives you an out that may be handy.
  • Try to host people for at least 2-3 nights. One night isn’t enough to get the full Couchsurfing experience.
  • Offer your Couchsurfers breakfast and beverages. These things are hard to travel with, and are always appreciated.
  • Show them your city; offer them the bits that normal travelers may never get to see.
  • Treat your guests as you’d like to be treated in the same situation. If you’ve Couchsurfed yourself before, try to do an even better job than the best host you ever had!

Michael Catford
Michael Catford


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