1. ADVRIDER Print Magazine!
    We're doing two more print magazines year. July & November. 144 pages of high quality adventure riding stories, photography and interviews!

    Click here to purchase both for $35.
    Dismiss Notice

Couchsurfing

Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by Old-n-slo, Apr 17, 2020.

  1. Old-n-slo

    Old-n-slo Burnin' fossil fuels! Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2005
    Oddometer:
    229
    Location:
    SE Michigan
    Just finished reading Derek Mansfield's book about riding across Russia, Mongolia and the 'Stans --a trip I had to call off for this May :-( He did couchsurfing quite a bit and met some fascinating people. I tried to to make use of the Couchsurfing site to link up with people in northern Scandinavia two summers ago and again last year in Central Europe. Didn't get very far. Seems if no one has ever stayed with you then you are an unknown entity and maybe not trustworthy.

    Anyone have experience with it or any tips for how to use it and actually get an invitation to stay over night?
    #1
  2. Mark Manley

    Mark Manley Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2010
    Oddometer:
    3,267
    Location:
    Wessex, England
    I have had a similar lack of response I presume for the same reason but I have had some great hosts from the tent space thread although not so many outside of North America.
    #2
  3. ExodusRider

    ExodusRider ExodusRider

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2015
    Oddometer:
    2,114
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Start staying at couchsurfing locally around the United States so you can build some references... not many folks wanna extend you "credit" as a first time buyer, if you will...

    Although in this CV19 era, CS will be taking a major hit in terms of participation for awhile..

    Send request 3 days ahead.. most folks dont appreciate or can handle 1 day / same day requests.

    Lastly, when u send a request.. make it personal and have realistic/ positive backstory... nobody wants to read... "coming thru your neck of the woods.. got a free couch?"..
    #3
    Old-n-slo and Edoz like this.
  4. holckster

    holckster dougholck Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,526
    Location:
    Lodi, Ca
    #4
    Elle2Konsai, FMFDOC and bigphish like this.
  5. holckster

    holckster dougholck Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,526
    Location:
    Lodi, Ca
    #5
  6. Old-n-slo

    Old-n-slo Burnin' fossil fuels! Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2005
    Oddometer:
    229
    Location:
    SE Michigan
    Tent Space is my go-to. Have used and hosted in North America and Europe. Gets tougher in Mongolia and Tajikistan. Seems like there are Couchsurfer members in every nook and cranny. But nobody likesme! :-(((
    #6
    holckster likes this.
  7. ExodusRider

    ExodusRider ExodusRider

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2015
    Oddometer:
    2,114
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Your mother would begg to differ!
    #7
  8. Natgeo14

    Natgeo14 Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2019
    Oddometer:
    1,512
    Location:
    Des Moines, IA
    The creation of Airbnb really hurt couchsurfing. It is not nearly as popular as it used to be 10 years ago.

    Definitely work on building up your couchsurfing references in the USA. When someone is looking at hosting you they want to see that 5 other people hosted you and had good experiences. When you stay with someone, I recommend bringing beer or wine. I like to show up with a 12 pack of beer and then drink it together with the host. In this day in age, I think couchsurfing has got a little bit of a bad rap, because a lot of couchsurfers show up, ask the host what their wifi password is and then ignore their host for a couple of hours while they catch up on social media. Don't be one of these millenial tworps who is ruining the couchsurfing experience for everyone.

    I have couchsurfed over in Europe a couple of times and will try to give some advice. There are differences between couchsurfing in Western and Eastern Europe. In general, being a guy, it is easier to find couchsurfers in Western Europe to host you.

    The smaller the city/ town you are staying in, the more difficult it is going to be to find a host. If you are planning the trip 4 months in advance then I recommend sending out a lot of requests 4 months in advance. When sending out your requests, don't blanket the whole town at once. Stagger the timing. Send 5 requests one month for the town, then 5 more the next month to new people, etc, etc. One difference between Europeans and Americans is Europeans travel a hell of a lot more then Americans do. So, if you are requesting to stay during their prime-time vacation months you might not have a lot of luck. Have a good backup plan always for that town. You can make hostel reservations 4 months in advance as a backup plan. From what I remember, your credit card does not even get charged if you don't cancel your hostel reservation.

    Before sending someone a couchsurfing request look to see how active that person has been on couchsurfing recently. If they are taking 3 weeks to respond to requests and they only respond to 20% of requests then you can tell that it is probably a waste of time to write that person. Look at the persons references. Is it a guy only hosting ladies? Don't waste your time on sending that person a request. Was the last time he hosted someone longer then 6 months ago? Waste of time, skip that person. Skip sending messages to stay with girls. That is a waste of time in my opinion.

    Make sure to read the host's profile and references before you send them a request. You want to personalize the message that you are sending to them so you stand out from the crowd. If they really like snowboarding ask them some questions about their snowboarding trips in Europe. etc. People from the USA do not always have the best reputation as travelers/ couchsurfers in my opinion so I think that parts important.

    Another idea is to work on building up your hotel points. You can sign up for credit cards like the Hilton Honors American Express card or the Marriott credit card where you will earn 5 nights of free stays for the introductory bonus. Staying at a nice Hilton or Marriott every once in a while when you find yourself in a bind will help a lot.

    The couchsurfing hangout app is a great way to meet fellow travelers if you are traveling solo. I have used that app in Europe to meet lots of fellow couchsurfers and then go have fun in the city. It usually has to be a fairly large city to support enough people using the app to make it useful. It works best in cities with 500k plus people.
    #8
    Elle2Konsai likes this.
  9. Old-n-slo

    Old-n-slo Burnin' fossil fuels! Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2005
    Oddometer:
    229
    Location:
    SE Michigan
    Natgeo, thanks for the thoughtful response. AirBnB in Europe has proven to be fairly dominated by commercial interests-- a bit like using Hotels.com only on a smaller scale. I've has few genuine homestays with ABnB. Between Tentspace, BMW Anonymous Book, and wild camping behind large truckstops, I have had little need to couchsuf in the U.S. But I would have loved to meet up with some locals in Bosnia or Estonia. I guess I have to build up my cred! ;-)
    #9