Find a Fantastic Couchsurfing Daytime Host & Events

Do you think Couchsurfing.org is only for finding a free couch to sleep on? If so, you’re missing out! Please read on and learn how to take full advantage of this amazing resource!  First, make sure you have a great profile, and then find yourself great hosts for both daytime activities and lodging, as well as finding fun events to connect with locals and fellow travelers.

When Should I Get a Couchsurfing Daytime Host?

A daytime host is great when you’d like a local’s perspective. Maybe you and your travel buddy are looking for a connection in a big city, or you’re traveling solo and would love some company for a few hours. Hosts are generally happy to meet with solo travelers or a couple. If you’re a larger group, hosts may find it intimidating or a safety risk and not offer to host.

Sightseeing – A host can offer insight and information about the sights through familiarity. Or, when you go visit ruins, they might know which bush to look under for the best carved stone.

Common Hobby – Are you a photographer looking for a photogenic beach in Australia, or the café with the best coffee in New York City? Or, maybe you’re looking for live jazz music in New Orleans. Look for someone with similar interests.

A Meal – Do you want company over a meal? Invite someone to lunch!

Travel Planning – Ask for assistance planning an itinerary in a city or region.

Finding A Fantastic Host for Daytime Activities

First of all, think about what you want in a host, since your search should focus on this. Some hosts want to know the places on your must-do list, and they’ll happily accompany you, perhaps even suggesting additional places. It gives your host an opportunity to see their town through your fresh eyes. You’ll likely get assistance learning the best route (or maybe even get a car ride) to the starting point. These people might be locals or expats. Meanwhile, other hosts are happy to share their favorite spots with you, and often will wander and suggest other great things to stop at along the way.

How to Search for a Host

  1. Writing Requests to Hosts: There are 2 methods to submit requests for a host. For the widest reach I use both methods. I post a ‘Public Trip’, about 2 weeks before my arrival at that location. At the same time I write requests to specific hosts whose profiles look great.
    • Creating a Public Trip. From your ‘Dashboard’ scroll down (on the website) to the ‘My Travel Plans’ section. Click on the button ‘Create a Public Trip’.
      • This is your opportunity to convince a host to click on your great profile. Anyone searching for travelers in their area can see this Public Trip and send you an invitation. Use the tips in the section “Writing Requests to Specific Hosts”.
      • Whenever possible, write a request in both your native language (for expatriates from your country) and the language of the country in which you’re traveling (for local hosts). Also, English tends is a very international language, so it’s a good language to include if not already in the first 2 categories. A lot of expatriates are on Couchsurfing, and they often know English better than or equal to the local language.
    • Writing Requests to Specific Hosts. As the guest, it’s your responsibility to convince a host that you will be a likeable and easy guest. I’ve never heard of a host who appreciates a guest who is rude. Finding a great host requires both work and luck, especially if you don’t yet have many references. Conducting a good search and writing good requests takes thought and time. In order to avoid a lot of messages from your host with basic questions, make sure that your request includes:
      • A friendly introduction. Use the hosts name, so the host knows that the request is specific to them.
      • 1 or 2 things you have in common with the host. This makes the request personal and shows that you read the hosts profile. This can range from hobbies to favorite foods or anything else that allows an easy connection, and is specific to each host.
      • What makes you an easy and nice guest to host? This includes good behavior such as politeness, and friendliness. TIP: Save time writing by copying this information into each request.
      • Any walking preferences. The host can suggest activities accordingly for driving, public transportation or full-on walking miles and miles.
      • Your main goal. Let your host know, so that they can decide if you’re a good match and make a fun plan. Do you want to wander in nature or visit museums? Maybe you’re an avid photographer, so you want photogenic locations. Or, do you love food and drink, so you’d be interested in touring local markets or restaurants? Or, is a history-filled walking tour your idea of a great day?
      • Your approximate location. For safety, you won’t want to provide your exact address, however you can provide the main cross streets in the area.
      • How would you arrive at the meeting spot? If you’re arriving by public transportation, your host will let you know the closest bus or subway stop. Or, if you’re driving, they will advise you on where to park and any parking rules. TIP: Save time writing by copying this information into each request.
  1. Below is an example of a well-written request I received from a traveler. The writer includes most of the items listed above and it is completely understandable even if not using perfect English (don’t be shy about using your foreign language skills!). For a faster process, use the request for many potential hosts, by editing the host name and the last paragraph for each host.

Hello, [host name]!

I am [guest name] from [country/city].

I am looking for a CS host who can share cultural experiences during my trip in [country/state/city] in 2016.

To introduce myself, I am a [job or study] in [home country]. I am a social, active, adventurous and also courteous person. I love travelling, doing outdoor activities and talking with diverse people from all over the world.

Although I have no references and not a verified user “yet”, a point that hosts consider when accepting a guest in general, I’d appreciate if you read my sincere message and profile that proves me a SAFE person (YES, I am advertising myself to you, haha).

I will visit [location] from [date] to [date]. The reason why I go there is [work/vacation/etc.] Though the conference will give me invaluable experiences, I do not want to just stay with my lab fellows and professor during whole my vacation (still I love them very much). I do really want to meet different people and do diverse things :D. Thus, before going to [location], I decide to travel other cities in [location], be adjusted to a new atmosphere and visit several touristic places :)

While looking for a proper CS host, I found that you seems to be a really nice person from many positive references :) In addition, when I was looking through your profile, I found we have a quite lots of common hobbies to share. Among things that you mentioned on your profile, I like [X], [X], and [X], I like going [X]. I’d love to spend great time with you.

Please feel free to reply for my request! I am looking forward to hear from you.

Sincerely,

[Traveler]

  1. Understand your hosts profile carefully before accepting an invitation, and always read their references.
    • Especially read the neutral and negative references, but also read some of the positive references. Couchsurfing updated the method of leaving references in autumn 2015, but any references written earlier, although rated positive, may indicate some negative or neutral thoughts. Use your judgment.
    • Accept or decline an invitation as soon as possible. A host often waits for your response before making other plans, so it’s polite respond promptly. Hosts know that travelers don’t always have reliable internet, so want to give you enough time to reply, but will often limit it to 2 or 3 days.
  2. Meet your host in a public place and leave if you do not feel comfortable with them. As with any other website, anyone can write and post photos of anything on their profile and is not always reliable. You can always have an excuse to leave– for example, pretend you suddenly need to leave because you’ve just realized you left your wallet at another location. Or, simply let them know that you’re new to Couchsurfing and not comfortable.
  3. There are many risks to Couchsurfing, apart from safety. Be flexible and have fun. Everyone is volunteering, so just appreciate whatever you receive.
    • Last moment cancellation. Once I had a host, and the day of our meeting she advised me that she was sick with the flu. She offered to meet anyway, but of course I didn’t want to bother her when she wasn’t feeling well. Family emergencies and work will always be prioritized over a Couchsurfer, so be prepared for a sudden change in time and location.
    • Weather. Ask your host for advice on what to wear, if you aren’t familiar with the weather. Spring and autumn can be especially difficult to predict since the weather is changing.

Discover A Fun Event

Events are fantastic for meeting both locals and travelers, whether you’ve just arrived in a new locale or have lived there your entire life. It’s especially great if you’re looking for a travel buddy or if you’re planning at trip and discover that your new friend has already been, or knows someone who has. First-hand recent advice is so useful! And, when you connect with someone in person, you can easily send them a Friend request to keep in touch, or write references for each other.

From your Dashboard, click on ‘Events’ on the top right of the page. In the search box enter a city in your area to find upcoming events. You can always narrow down or expand the results by searching in a smaller nearby town or larger city. If you don’t get any results, but you see that there are active hosts in your area, you can plan a meetup at a local bar or coffee shop. Simply click on the ‘Create an Event’ button (left side of Events page) and follow the process of entering the date, time and location.

Since 2008 I have used the free Couchsurfing.org website for much more than finding a free place to stay the night. When traveling, I connect with locals who share my hobbies and interests, so I can learn the “best of…” in their area. And, when at home I use the website to connect with travelers and like-minded locals by hosting travelers for a few hours or overnight and attending events, like meet-ups or the local ‘couchsurfing foodie’ group. I’ll share my tips with you here.
Personalized assistance is available, for advice specific to your situation, such as what to include in your profile or any fears or concerns about meeting a host for the first time. Couchsurfing.org is truly an amazing resource, which unfortunately most people don’t take full advantage of, since they think it’s only for staying on someone’s dirty couch — personally, I’ve never stayed on a dirty couch, and never plan to! As an added benefit, this free resource has saved me thousands of dollars on tours, transportation, and lodging, and you can do the same because you’re learning directly from local contacts generously helping travelers like you and me!

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