Although I have scored numerous couchsurfing hosts without doing much of the tips below, I found that when I got really serious (due to a 40-day road trip throughout the Western U.S.A) and wanted many places to couchsurf quickly, I had to do a few things to make people feel safer in their choice.
Some people would email me and tell me that I should “do this or do that” and I might do better with getting responses. So I did, and everything went great.
1. Fill out your profile as much as possible
Really, this is important. People want to see who you are, what you look like, and learn about you. Wouldn’t you want to know a little about someone before you let them sleep in your house? Ofcourse! We all do.
When you sign up for a profile on couchsurfing.org, it will tell you how much your profile is complete. Try to get it as close to 100% as you can. Add more than one picture and make sure they are good ones. Traveling ones are great as well as a close profile as well.
Tell people about yourself as much as you can. Why do you love travel? Why do you love couchsurfing? Are you outgoing? Do you like to party? Do you read books? What is your favorite destination? What do you do for a living?
Try to give as much as possible so people can get an idea if the two of you (or three or four or five) would get along.
2. Make some friends
Couchsurfing profiles also include a section where you can have your friends listed, similar to Facebook. Although not necessary, since most friends will come after couchsurfing, it’s always good to see if you can get a couple added so people can see that other people like you. Don’t lie as that is no way to present yourself, but see if you have “real” friends who are also on couchsurfing. This is a quick way to establish credibility. But don’t worry, if you don’t have any on the site, you’ll still be able to couchsurf and within no time, will have plenty of friends to add to your profile.
3. Read profiles
Some people get very annoyed if you ask them for free accomodation but don’t even take the time to read their profile. Some even put hidden passwords so that they know you read their profile. For example, some people will put in their profile…
“Hi, I am Matt and I love hosting people from all over the world. I have cats though and therefore, it is not good if you are allergic to cats. I also would like you make sure you read my profile so please put “blueberries” in your request so I know you have read it”
This way, people know if you don’t add that message to the profile, then you have not bothered to read their profile. People take offense to this since your not willing to read about them but are willing to ask to use their house free of charge.
Read profiles and make sure you think they would be a good match for you.
Not only is it good for you to get GOOD recommendations from people you have hosted or have been hosted by, but it’s also near-mandatory to give someone else feedback. People really don’t like when you don’t give them feedback after they hosted you in their house. This makes sense and it’s only polite to write on their couchsurfing profile wall if they were good hosts and what you liked about them. This way, others will see that they are cool and will decide to stay with them in the future or host them.
Same goes for you. The more positive feedback you get on your wall from people you have stayed with or people who have stayed with you, the easier it will be to get free accomodation.
5. Give dates and as much time as you can
When your looking for accomodation, it’s always best to do so in advance and to also give exact dates in your request form. The more time you give someone, the more likely they can make it work out. Asking someone for free accomodation tomorrow might not work out to well. I’m not saying it won’t, as it quite possibly could, but it will much tougher since people don’t always check their profiles daily and may or may not have plans already. People also like exact dates (or close) so that they know if they will be home or if they to, will be on holidays.
6. Get verified!
People love to see the green little checkmark above your profile. This means that couchsurfing.org has verified your address and that you are a real person. They do this by asking for a donation (I believe $10 U.S) and then sending you a postcard in the mail. When you recieve the postcard, you will notice a code on the back. You would then login to your account and type in that code. This verifies that you recieved the mail and are not a robot. Not only does it help tremendously but it’s also a very small donation to a very amazing organization. Plus, you get a beautiful postcard as a collectible.
That’s it for now. If you do all the steps above, you’ll be far ahead of many others and well on the way to free accomodation all over the world.
If you would like to see my profile, come check it out.