Is it safe to stay with Couchsurfing hosts?
Just want to share my couchsurfing user experience in Europe, Middle East, North Africa, and Australasia
Why are you using Couchsurfing?
People have millions of reasons to use couchsurfing (a bit exagg): meet local people, save up budgets, use it like Tinder… Saving up travel expenses would definitely be the main reasons why everyone is using Couchsurfing. But I never use couchsurfing as a must for finding a place to stay. i.e I will book hostels if I couldn’t find a suitable host.
Some girls are doing hitchhiking and often it is mandatory for them themselves find a couchsurfing host, even if in a last-minute situation. In my personal opinions, it is quite risky when you are in urgent and haven’t considered a lot.
Stay for 1-2 nights for each host
I don’t use to stay long for each host, even if they welcome me to do so. Simply because you don’t know what is going on when you meet them in person. Sometimes, they could be friendly and you just feel like you can’t get close with them. I usually pack in light and switching places.
Public Trip is a great function to announce your itinerary to the hosts. For solo female travelers, some hosts would text you in person even if you haven’t made any requests yet. For me, it’s like 100% rate even though I am not super pretty type haha. However, you would receive the invitation from all range of age. That sounds pretty weird for me.
I received 20+ invitation when I visit Morocco, all over the countries, given that I’m not going to all of the cities.
For Europe, it depends on the country, I have received 5+ invitation from Italy and a few from Germany. It would be hard for expensive countries like Switzerland, better to send a request 1 month prior to your trip. Be reminded that it would be near impossible to find a host during Christmas.
During my last trip to New Zealand, most of the active couchsurfing members are immigrants, my local kiwi friend said it is not common for them to use couchsurfing
In Asia, members staying with families would not host travelers but people who live alone would give you a hand.
If you are looking for female hosts, you have to send messages to those hosts in person one by one. It is not difficult to find a host if you sound sincere and personal, try to get to know your host before sending them a message and include your common interest into that
Verify = safe?
Staying with verifying member would be safe. Is it so? Let me share my experience:
I was contacting with a verified female host in Morocco but a few days before my trip, she didn’t reply me and I stayed with a male host. Everything turns to be fine and we still keep contacting each other.
2 of my friends stayed with a verified male host in Paris with more than 100+ positive comments. End up they left earlier because the host kept asking my friend to kiss him and ask them to go jogging at 2am
using couchsurfing is about luck, like many things in our life. Who knows what will be happened tomorrow? What we could do is to reduce the risks, but there is no way for us to eliminate the risks. Trying to get to know your host beforehand or having a plan B in mind would help so.
Last not but last, having the right mindset of using couchsurfing. If you are looking for free accommodation only, Couchsurfing might not suit you. You shouldn’t your host’s place as hostels or hotels, do whatever you want. (I heard some will return back at 2am, given that the host need to work on the following day)