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Basics of Couch Surfing

Bot Jesse Allhands
By Bot and 1 other
8 articles

What should I think about before responding to a request?

You should read the person's entire profile and read through their references. References can give you an idea of what others think about the person. It is also very important to communicate thoroughly with the person before accepting their request. Be sure to ask for any information that is missing from their profile or request message. For example, if their profile is empty or missing a photo, it is okay to ask them to fill out their profile and/or upload a photo before accepting their request. It is also good to ask the person when they will arrive and when they will leave, why they are coming, and who is coming with them. It is helpful to let them know what your schedule looks like and how available you will be to interact with them. Don't feel obligated to provide a bunch of details or private information, but you should let your guest(s) know about any important information about you, your home, who lives with you (including pets!), and your schedule that may be relevant to their visit. Keep communication on the Couchers.org platform as much as possible. Use common sense when reviewing requests and profiles and especially when providing personal information like your address and schedule. Keep in mind that you are never obligated to accept a request or provide a reason for why you cannot accept. If you decline a request, the person will not be able to message you again unless they visit your profile and send a separate message. If you accept a request but change your mind, you can reject a request up until the start date of the request by clicking the "reject" button at the bottom of the request.

Last updated on Jul 12, 2024

How to write a reference

References are a very important part of Couchers.org. They help build trust, safety, and provide valuable information for both hosts and guests. References not only let the other person know how you felt, but also help other people in the future when they consider being a host or guest with that person. Here’s an overview of how to write a helpful, effective reference. How to structure your reference: - Introduction: Briefly explain the type and extent of your interaction (e.g., "Mary hosted me and my partner for three nights in Paris. Mary had to work a lot, but hung out with us in the evenings."). - Details of the Experience: Share specific details about the stay or hosting experience. You can explain to what extent you spent time together and mention any other relevant aspects such as activities, communication, special moments, and any other highlights. - Behavior and Character: Comment on the person's behavior, personality, and your overall impression, especially with regard to communication, respect, reliability, and trustworthiness (e.g., "John was very social and shared some interesting stories. He was very accommodating and even took me on a city tour. He was also kind enough to respect my need for quiet time in the evening after dinner. Communication with John was clear and easy, both in person and via text"). - Recommendation to others: It is good to mention if you would or wouldn't recommend this person to others (e.g., "I highly recommend John as a host/guest"), or at least give an impression of whether your overall experience with the person was positive, negative or neutral. It's okay to say you didn't spend enough time with the person to form an opinion! (e.g.,"We only spoke a few times since she was very busy with work, so I can't say too much about Mary, but she seems nice!") Reminders about the content: - Be honest and accurate: Your reference should be genuine and reflect your experience accurately. Since references are important for safety and trust, remember to avoid exaggerations, sarcasm, and jokes. If everything went smoothly, and communication was great, mention that. Highlight the positives of your experience. However, if there were any problems or issues, be sure to mention them, since this may help the person improve and help other guests or hosts in the future. - Details and specifics: You don't have to write a super detailed reference, but be sure to use at least some specific, detailed examples to illustrate your points (e.g., "Jane cooked a delicious meal for me from her home country and shared fascinating stories about her travels in India"). At the same time, keep the information relevant. - Location and Accommodations: When referring to the location of someone's home in your reference, be respectful of their privacy by not being too specific. If you are a guest, remember that the quality of the accommodation is not the focus of couch surfing, so don't make that the focus of your reference. This is not Airbnb™ and your host is not running a hostel or hotel. However, if anything was particularly noteworthy in a good or bad way, then it can be helpful to mention it (e.g., "John's couch is very short but very comfy!", or "Mary has 6 cats, which I loved, but they peed on my bed all the time and there were fleas all over the bed and couch!") - Negative experiences: If you had a bad experience, you should definitely leave a reference to warn other people. However, if you don't feel comfortable mentioning it in a reference, you can still report what happened to the support team by emailing safety@couchers.org or by using the report button on the person's profile (the flag below the message button below the profile photo). Examples You don't always need to write a long reference, but sometimes it makes sense to do so. Here is an example of a fairly long, well-written reference: "I am so happy I got to host Emily for 3 nights! We have been working on the Couchers.org project together for about a year now and we finally had the chance to meet in person as she was traveling cross-country. I was so glad it worked out that Natalia and I could host her because it was a wonderful experience. Emily was only able to stay a handful of nights, but we made the most of it! We did everything from strolling around Madison, to a road trip to Monroe, a tour of the Capitol, a boat ride on the lake, and even played some mario kart! It was great getting to catch up outside of a "work" environment and share stories and adventures together. I was a bit surprised we didn't tire her out with all the things we wanted to show her around Madison and do with her. Emily really does have a great sense of adventure and a good sense of humor! It's always great having discussions with Emily too; She's never afraid to speak her mind and will give it to you straight, while at the same time being a (genuinely) very nice person with a great worldview. Emily's an uncomplicated guest, was flexible with the bathroom situation, and very respectful of our space. Out of the blue she even offered to clean our sink for us (it has so many stains) and holy moly she did a great job! Emily was also understanding of the several times Natalia and I needed to take breaks to work on other stuff. What a wonderful guest! I definitely would recommend that you host Emily, stay with Emily or even just meet up with Emily if you get a chance. She's a great couch surfer and an amazing human! I'm so happy that we're friends and I can't wait til we cross paths again!"

Last updated on Jul 12, 2024