Remember when surfing meant hitting the waves or changing channels on your TV? Now there is another meaning for the word, and it involves short stays in friends’ or even strangers’ homes. It might sound crazy, but sofa surfing is the newest craze in budget travel. Read our key points to keep in mind before you and your friends start cruising couches or you let a stranger visit on your very own loveseat.
Couch surfing 101
Couch surfing has been around for a few years, but it’s still a relatively new trend in low-cost travel. Couch surfers tap into a network of hosts across the globe and find a free place to sleep for a short stay. Hosts can simply offer a sofa to crash on or provide more extensive benefits like actual beds, meals and tours of the city. The goal of couch surfing enthusiasts is to create a community of friendly folks who like meeting new people and seeing new things, all for just a few bucks.
To surf or not to surf
When it comes to sofa surfing you can be a surfer, a host or both. Before you jump into any of the roles, there are some guidelines you should consider.
Since sofa surfing connections are made online, it’s important for surfers to post an informative profile, so potential hosts can get to know you and decide if you would be a good guest. Let them know a bit about your personality, what hours you keep, if you have any requirements, such as a pet-free apartment, and so on. Give them as much information as you can and be sure to include a photo. Also, provide references from friends, previous hosts and other surfers.
Be an impeccable guest when you surf
When you are searching for a sofa connection, start looking early so you don’t inconvenience hosts with a last-minute request; a notice of at least two weeks is preferred. Also, remember to be flexible, as hosts’ schedules can change. Be sure to communicate your plans clearly with your host, so they know how to meet you upon arrival and, most importantly, how long you would prefer to stay.
Once your couch surfing visit is underway, treat your hosts with courtesy and offer to cook meals, wash dishes or tidy up. Always stick to your schedule and don’t overstay your welcome. When you get back home, send a thank you note to your host and write a review to share with other surfers.
Hosting a surfer
As a host, most of the same responsibilities apply. You should create a comprehensive profile that lists your expectations and restrictions, plus provide photos of your sofa situation. Include the maximum length of stay you prefer, so that surfers know exactly what to expect.
When it’s time to decide who will be your apartment guest, read the surfer profiles carefully. Look for indicators about personality and read references from other hosts and sofa-surfing friends. Don’t be shy about contacting a previous host to find out how their visit went.
Once you accept a sofa surfer, be sure to communicate clearly about arrival time and what you will and won’t provide as the host. When your guest arrives, greet them with a smile and follow the golden rule — treat them as you would like to be treated.
Safety should be your top priority. Hosts and surfers should always ask for and check references. If you find yourself surfing at an apartment where you don’t feel comfortable, leave immediately. Be sure to have a back-up plan. It’s easy to cancel a hotel reservation, and it’s nice to have it as a safety net.
When you are hosting, remember that you don’t have to give your house keys to strangers, and you can always ask someone to leave if they make you feel uncomfortable. The surfing community is founded on being friendly, but if you run into a problem, handle it as graciously as possible.
Consider traveling on a shoestring budget and meeting people you might never have imagined knowing. Surf’s up!
Everyone feels lonely sometimes, but these feelings might happen more frequently if you live alone. The good news is that coping with loneliness is possible and, with practice, you can learn to love your alone time. If this is a tricky area for you, here are some thoughts that, though not necessarily easy, still might help. Savor your solitude ...
Living alone in an apartment can be a wonderful experience. No apartment roommate means nobody else’s habits, moods or friends to deal with. But all things require balance, and living alone can have its challenges. Here are some tips for happily living alone in your apartment. Don’t be a stranger As nice as it is ...
Dealing with death requires moving through many layers of emotion, and everyone makes this journey in a different way. Sometimes going through the possessions of a deceased loved one can feel like experiencing the loss all over again. If you are faced with the job of packing up a loved one’s belongings, here are some ...
Buying a friend that perfect housewarming gift for their new apartment can be tricky, as chances are they don’t have a lot of space to spare. And you run the risk of buying something for their home that doesn’t go with their style. Here’s how to buy a great housewarming gift. Let them pick out ...
Using your apartment fireplace during the cold months can save you money on utility bills — but only if your fireplace is a cheap and efficient source of heat. Learn the ins and outs of apartment fireplaces to get the most out of your model. Before you make any major changes to your apartment, however, ...
Do you plan to move yourself or hire a moving company to assist you?
Total Voters: 28