Meeting Locals on a Gap Year Around the World

What it’s Like to be a Couchsurfing Host?

August 25, 2017|Lena
what is couchsurfing like as a host

One week ago I signed up to Couchsurfing. It is a website that connects travelers with hosts from all over the world. Couchsurfing is a way to find a “free” accommodation with a local person, thereby getting valuable tips about your destination and having a strong social component. This post will give you all the information you need if you want to make the decision whether to be come a Couchsurfing host or not.

If you want to know all about the sign-up process, whether you should get verified or not and what kind of functions Couchsurfing has, read this post
 
Now let’s talk about what it is like to be a host on Couchsurfing.

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To make your decision whether you should become a Couchsurfing host easier, by telling you about my first experience as a host.

Before your Guests Arrival

Within one week of signing up to Couchsurfing I had 4 requests.
The first request was from an Australian couple that had been traveling through Japan for a couple of days. They were looking for a place to stay in Tokyo and sent me a lengthy message about their trip, their wish to meet people to make their stay more enjoyable and what interests we had in common.
They were new to Couchsurfing, having stayed with only one other person before, somewhere else in Japan.
 
Since I didn’t yet have any plans for the weekend I decided I could let them stay for one night from Friday to Saturday and spend Saturday showing them around.
 
So, we made a plan. They would arrive on Friday night after I had finished working and we would figure everything else out after that.

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If you want to avoid misunderstandings you should share your plans, additional information about your place, and possible rules with your guests in advance. I haven’t had any problems with my guests so far, but I would always make sure everything is clear before they arrive to avoid misunderstandings or disappointments. For example, letting them know where they are supposed to sleep.
 
I think this is something that should be obvious, but I tried to clean up my place a little before my first Couchsurfing guests arrived. I took out the blankets and pillows the could use and I even went shopping to ensure I had something to drink in the house. You do not have to provide food or drinks for your guests, it is something I like to do but should not be expected of you. Everyone is in general responsible for themselves.

Welcoming Your Guests

Brady and Tara arrived on Friday night at my address. I had given them the Google Maps information in advance and even tough they had it they got a little bit lost. I was happy that they had access to the internet and could ask me directly. On the time of arrival keep your phone close so you wont miss any contact attempts from your guests. If you are comfortable with it it might also help to give out your phone number for emergencies.
 
After they unloaded their luggage in my apartment we went to have some Sushi for dinner because one point on their Japan bucket list was a Sushi restaurant with a train. I love Sushi and we have a restaurant with a Sushi train near our house and that’s where I took them.
sushi train ningyocho
We got to know each other and talked about where they had been in Japan, and what they still wanted to do. We also talked about our homes, work, relationship and anything else that comes to mind when you first meet someone.
 
After dinner, we went back to my place and they got settled in. Tara sleeping on the bed, Brady on the couch. We had decided to go to Kamakura the next day because they hadn’t made it to Kyoto and so they hadn’t really seen many temples yet. Tara also wanted to go to the beach, and so Kamakura was the perfect destination for both activities.

Spending Time Together

In general please don’t feel compelled to spend time with your Couchsurfing guests if you are busy. But make sure to communicate your plans in advance so they know what to expect of you. Some Couchsurfing hosts like spending a lot of time with their guests, others just a couple of hours to have dinner together. It is completely up to you and what you are comfortable with.
 
Having said this, I really wanted to get to know Brady and Tara and so we went on a day-trip. We got up early in the morning, taking a one-hour train ride to Kamakura and started out by visiting the Great Buddha.
with couchsurfing guests in kamakura japan

Our next stop was Hase Dera Temple.

hase dera temple in kamakura

We got hungry and had a Japanese lunch of Udon noodles.

udon in kamakura

Our last stop for the day was Kamakura beach. Where we relaxed a little bit, refreshed ourselves in the (unfortunately a little bit dirty) ocean and just talked about different things, like travel plans and weddings.

kamakura beach
If you want to know in more detail what to do in Kamakura, I will soon publish a detailed blog post about Kamakura as a destination for a day trip from Tokyo.
 
We took the train back home at around 6 and after packing their bags at our place we said our goodbyes. As a small thank you I got two postcards from Tasmania, where they are from, with messages of gratitude.
 
Gifts are not mandatory but appreciated by many Couchsurfing hosts. Hosts who have a lot of guests often complain about all the little trinkets standing around and maybe receiving something to eat or drink or just being invited to something will be more appreciated.

My Conclusion About Being a Couchsurfing Host

Couchsurfing is a great way to meet people from all over the world. I made some new friends, learned new things and got a new perspective learning about living in Tasmania, Australia.

There are so many other ways to be social and travel socially. And if you are hosting on Couchsurfing you feel as if you are traveling while at home, just one of many ideas to keep the travel spirit alive while at home.

I recommend you try Couchsurfing for yourself. By the way, I also have all the info about what it is like to be a Couchsurfing guest and some tips on how to be a Couchsurfing guest with good manners. If you are having trouble finding a Couchsurfing host it might be because you write bad requests. Check out my blog post with Couchsurfing request tips. I also got you covered if you are looking for some Gift ideas for your next Couchsurfing host.

Do you have any experience couchsurfing? Tell me about it in the comments. Also let me know if you have any bad experiences.

Pin this so you can find it again!

Couchsurfing 101 - Should I become a Couchsurfing Host | Hosting on Couchsurfing what it's like | Couchsurfing Tips | General Couchsurfing Advice | Hosting people in your home | Experinece as a Couchsurfing Host | Stay with Locals | How to become a host | #Couchsurfing
What is Couchsurfing Like as a Host | Couchsurfing Guide | Couchsurfing 101 | Couchsurfing Host | Guest | Homestay | Cultural Exchange | #Travel #TravelTips

Lena

Authors Note:
None of the experiences in this post are in any way sponsored and have all been payed for by myself. The opinions stated are all my own and have not been influenced in any way.
This posts contains affiliate links. I receive a commission if a product is purchased through one of these links, at no extra cost to you. Please support me by purchasing products through my links!

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About Lena

Hi, I'm Lena the founder of The Social Travel Experiment. My mission is to teach about Social Travel, the art of exploring destinations from the viewpoint of locals while learning about Culture, History, Food, and Traditions.

Find out more About Me and The Social Travel Experiment

If you are a business we might be able to work together so check out the Work With Me page for more details

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About Lena

Hi, I'm Lena the founder of The Social Travel Experiment. My mission is to teach about Social Travel, the art of exploring destinations from the viewpoint of locals while learning about Culture, History, Food, and Traditions.

Find out more About Me and The Social Travel Experiment

If you are a business we might be able to work together so check out the Work With Me page for more details

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