Set Up A Great Couchsurfing Profile
Your first connection to another person will be online. Your couchsurfing profile is the first impression you will give to a potential host or guest, so make it great! A great profile is both honest and clear. Let’s start it together. Go ahead and make a Couchsurfing login with either email or Facebook. You can do this on a computer or a phone– use the phone app!
Step 1: Photos
First, upload your main profile photo. Select a current photo of you alone showing what you look like when you’re happy. Ensure your face is clear, so that even when viewed on a small mobile phone screen people can easily recognize you when you meet in person.
For the rest of your photos, which you can always add later, choose pictures in which you appear friendly — maybe you’re with family or are participating in some of your favorite activities on your own or with friends.
Step 2: Written Sections
In the written sections let people read about your personality. If you’re a quiet person who wants to explore cafes and gardens, write it. Or, if you’re an extrovert who wants to attend rock concerts and stay out all night, write it.
The biggest complaint from hosts is rude guests and vice-versa, which often comes from expectations that aren’t met. Definitely plan on editing your profile after your first search for a host or guest, because during the search you will find other profiles that are really great (or really terrible) and you will learn from their styles to make yours as appealing as possible.
In terms of length, keep each section brief with 1 to 3 sentences, because many people use the app on their mobile phones, and it’s not easy to read multiple paragraphs.
“My Home” Section
Do not leave the ‘My Home’ section of your profile blank. Write a little about your home, even if you don’t plan to host. Some hosts want to know what kind of home you come from – do you live with roommates, your family, or on your own? This provides more information on your style and personality.
TIP: Leaving the “My Home” section blank gives the impression that you’re using Couchsurfing only to avoid paying for a hotel or hostel, and not to fully participate as a guest in their home. Couch surfing is a community. Briefly describe your current living situation and the reason you cannot host (traveling, no space, not allowed, etc.).
Step 3: Friends and References
Before reaching out to strangers online, it’s helpful to have at least two ‘friends’ or ‘references’, which are simple to get. These people write a few sentences about you, serving as sources letting others know that you are a good person.
References are very important, because no host or guest wants scary experiences, and a few words from other people gives them confidence to consider meeting you in person. People with 2 or 3 friends or references have their requests accepted more easily than those with none.
How To Get ‘Friends’ and ‘References
Let your fellow travelers know that you’re starting a profile and need references.
If they also use Couchsurfing, ask to walk around town together, grab a drink, or do anything else together for a couple of hours, so that they feel comfortable writing you a positive reference or becoming your friend on the Couchsurfing website.
Make sure they have your profile name, because they’ll need it to access your profile. Once on your profile, they can select the ‘More’ dropdown button and add you as a friend or leave you a reference.
2 Easy Ways to Get References For Your Couchsurfing Profile.
The first is, if you already have friends and family using the website ask them to write you a nice reference of a few sentences.
Second, attend a Couchsurfing event. All of the people attending Couchsurfing events have a profile, so find a new friend and ask for a reference. Finding events is simple, because when you’re logged in on the Couchsurfing website there is an ‘Events’ button near the top right corner of the page. You can search for events in your area or in another area. Larger cities have more events.
It’s polite to write a reference in return to anyone who takes the time to write you a reference. To write a reference or add a friend find the person’s profile and click on the ‘More’ dropdown button. Then select either ‘Add Friend’, which will send the person a friend request. Or, select ‘Write Reference’ or ‘Request a Reference’ (option available if already friends, or if you’ve written a reference). A reference is a few sentences long and describes your impressions of your time together.
For all travel tips, from street food eating to saving your phones battery power, click here.
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, and 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.