Sleeping with a stranger?

Recently I read many articles about CouchSurfing (CS) experiences. They were mostly bad experiences. The excuse is always the same: you can not know if the person is okay until you meet him. I think that to a certain extend it is possible to know how the person is. Come on, use your senses. Women! We have a sixth sense, right? Do not tell me that you did not know that this guy, who was smiling so charmingly in a swim suit on his CS profile, would not hit on you!?

Right, if you wanna know how I filter, I collected 7 + 1 points to help you. These are my subjective filters, some might not apply to you, but can definitely help to have a better experience with CS. This post is for you, who is new to CS and heard many negative stories so far, AND also for you, who is hosting travelers. Please make the CouchSurfing experience a nice one for the both of you. You can all win at the end.

When traveling I have two columns: those who I consider for surfing, and those who I fancy going for a drink with. So first let's see what I consider when choosing the best CS host in town.

1. I study the profile.
I only stay at the place of hosts who has more good references from girls as well as from boys. I prefer if the person has hosted both genders. This shows to me that the person is not a hunter. I carefully read the feedbacks. If someone is also Verified, that’s a plus.

With one of my CS friends we had a conversation about hosting the same gender. This is a sensitive topic, many bad experiences regarding gay stories, so I am not so strict about this part. :)

2. Attraction vs. sympathy.
I do not go for people who are attractive for me. I go for people who are sympathetic. I think it does not need explication, I do not go for sex.

3. I need privacy.
I only stay at places where I can have my own room/ or living. I like to have my privacy after a long day without people stepping over my head.

4. Let's chat.
After studying the profile, chatting is the second very important filter, so I start a chat. What I am checking through an email? Are you responsible? Do you answer me back in reasonable time? Are you staying cool or are you over-excited when I accept your couch request? (I can still back off if you are already too much at this point.) Are you funny and interesting? Will I have spare keys to your flat? Will you trust me and treat me equally?

5. Single bachelors.
Men who could be my father by age, living alone and offering a couch for a solo girl in her twenties? Seriously? (I underlined where I put the emphasis, no offense.) I find it kind of weird. I am happy to go for a drink if the person is interesting, but they are also on my black list for surfing. 
6. Pain in the neck.
I ignore people who are too much. When someone insists that I choose his place, wants to take holiday when I am there, and writes me even when I have not answered, that is when I back off. I find it aggressive and it is already too much.

7. The Narcissistic.
Egoist, frustrated, touchy and depressed people are also out. I do not have time and energy to heal their hearts during my travels. I can not define how to recognize them. Personally I do not like CS profiles where every photo is about „how sexy, cool and fashionable I am, oh, and look how the sunshine reflects on my muscles.”  Okay, this is quite subjective, but everyone has his thing. Guys with such portfolio, please back off, I just want a couch!

+1. I do not challenge the situation.
I do not even give the slight chance for my host to think that he can hit on me. I hope you know what I mean. If not, better you ask your friends about your behavior whether it is provoking or rather modest.

After I found the best couch in town I also try to meet other locals to have a chat with, to have fun or have a nice walk. If I had not do so, I would not have been able to write the 5 things I have learned about Bolivia, I would not have had one of my craziest 'after office' parties in Santiago, or I would not have found out in a Spanish tapas bar with a Chilean guy that we had a common friend from Mauritius.

To sum it up, I tried CS, slept at places of strangers, and also met up many people for a drink. I have never ever had any bad experience. Was I lucky? I do not know. Will I meet assholes in the future who try to hit on me during CS? Probably yes. But with the above points I can at least sort out the majority of these people and hope for another good experience with another lovely host. Thans to all my CS hosts for the great times! :)

What experience do you have with CouchSurfing?

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About Tiny Girl With Big Bag

Hobby writer and autodidact photographer whose passion is to travel and get to know new people and cultures. She has been on 4 continents and 30 countries, and the outcome is this travel blog where she shares travel stories, thoughts, tips and photography always through a subjective eye.

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  1. thanks for writing this. i can always refer my female friends on this post, those who want to try couchsurfing

    1. Thanks James! I felt unfair having stories always about negative experiences, when definitely there are more good ones. Hope that this will help fellow travelers to gain more confidence :)

  2. I think this post is good advice for men and women. I have not couch surfed yet or hosted. I have signed up on the website though. It is sad that some people will ruin the experience by acting inappropriately.

    Like you said the best thing to do is research the situation and read the reviews.

    1. You are right. Based on statistics people tend to tell a good experience to one person, while a bad experience to five people. So it is a responsibility from both sides (host & surfer) to work on a good experience :) Hope that you will have a good one, and you will share it with me ;)

  3. i agree with you in all of what you shared...we just need to be careful..this is an insight for those who are considering CS..i am a member but haven't tried it yet..i rather stay in my friends couch or book a hotel...but well maybe try it one day..lolz!

    thanks for the visit ion one of my blogs..keep posting!

    1. This is exactly how it also started with me. I was registered for a year when suddenly I had no friends in a city and thought about trying CS :) No doubt, however, that nothing can be better than a comfortable double bed in a hotel ;) Thanks for your comment!

  4. I am also in CS. But I haven't tried, I guess I am afraid of the "bad" experiences. Great to hear your points and that your experiences. Makes me want to try but with great caution :D

    1. I think the majority of the people who are registered on CS are just like us. They want to travel or meet travelers and listen stories about far-away countries. Nice people. Just like us ;) Thanks for the comment!

  5. Hey!
    Thanks for sharing this information because I am a female traveler so I rally need this types of info.

    1. Hope this will help and you will have a great CS experience. Have you already tried it? Thanks for the comment!