Couchsurfing! The idea behind is to stay with locals. Kinda like visiting a friend which you do not know yet. This post is about how to find a host easily and how to get the maximum out of Couchsurfing. I know many travellers that are disappointed because they struggle to find a host. But it can be so easy. Here are five steps about how to find a host in a tourist destination like Berlin and increasing the chances of getting accepted.
1. Boost your profile
Couchsurfing works pretty easy. You sign up a profile, fill up all the topics and write something about yourself, why you are on Couchsurfing, your interests and describe your home so people know where they are going to stay at. Add a few pictures of yourself, more is always better than less.
2. Use the filter option when searching for a host
To find a host, use the search function and search for hosts in the city you want to stay at (for example Berlin). If you like, you can filter your search, wich is recommend when there are many hosts available: for example at the moment 118.613 in Berlin. You can specify your search by arrival and departure date, gender (male or female), private or shared room etc. I my experience, it is helpful to search for hosts only that “accept surfers” and have been “online during the last week“, otherwise they might not read your request. On the example of Berlin this search specification limits the available hosts to around 950 – huge difference, right? Browse through the profiles and look out for one that seems interesting to you and read their profile. If you find the other person interesting, it is likely that you have common interests and match together just well.
3. Write a personal request
In a tourist destination as Berlin, a hosts gets easily up to ten requests a day and it is difficult to keep up with reading all the requests. My experience is that many surfers do not take time to write a personal request. Refer to their profile and mention something personal so the host knows that you have read their profile. You can refer to a book or shared interests etc. It is better to write a few good requests instead of a bunch of bad ones. A host will spot a copy-paste request on the spot and will not be interested in hosting you if he can choose someone that put more afford into the message.
4. Add some thing you want to do in your request
When you travel you are usually full of ideas of what you want to experience. You can add these ideas in your request. Are you in for party, for cooking, for drinking beer in a bar, sight-seeing or up for going for a walk? Tell your host! This way, your host gets an idea about the upcoming time with you. It is somehow like when you ask someone on a date (although Couchsurfing is not about dating): you want the other one to be on the hook. To look forward for the time you are going to spend together. By doing this, make sure your interests match together. You can get some ideas of the interests of the host by reading the references of his or her surfers.
5. Request for a few days only
Requesting for more than 1 or two nights in a tourist destination can get tricky. The locals are usually busy with their own live and like to get out of their normal routine for one or two nights. Your chances are higher if you request for a short term only.
6. Search the surroundings
It can get quite hard to find a host in a big city like Berlin as many surfers compete with you. If you expand your search to the surrounding area you sometimes have bigger chances. Be open for it is to discover outside of the big city, you might get surprised. Good luck with finding a great host and enjoy your travels 🙂