By Yijing Shen, Distribution Manager
Travelling is always a great option for any break. However, as a student who doesn’t have a lot of budget, traveling could also be a dilemma. Because housing, food and transportation really cost money.
Hotels are obviously too pricey for college students, therefore many people would recommend Airbnb, an affordable housing option during traveling. But if Airbnb is also out of your budget or you just want to save the budget on the housing, here is another way to make the trip more obtainable – Couchsurfing.
Couchsurfing is a website that offers travelers free homestays around the world. If you are a traveler, you have the opportunity to find hosts who would like to share their house with you for free. On the other hand, if you just to meet new friends, you could also choose to be a host that share your house with other world travelers.
I started my Couchsurfing experience last year. To be honest, I started it with concern but ended up with great time traveling inside the United States with several different hosts. As an experienced Couch surfer, I have five tips for you about how to get a host on Couchsurfing.
#1 Complete your profile with details
Having a great profile is important because the profile allows other couch surfers or hosts to get to know you. Imagine if you were a host who received the request from someone that wishes to stay in your house for several days, of course, you want to know more about the person. But when you check out the profile, you find out it is empty or barely completed, you probably would choose to decline the request right away. Therefore, a profile is like a resume, tell the hosts about yourself. Besides that, it is very easy to complete because the website has already provided questions such as who are you, why are you on Couchsurfing and what are your hobbies. What you need to do is just to fill the blanks and be honest!
#2 Add photos
Obviously, photos give more credibility on your profile. Because information sometimes could be true or false, but photos are about yourself. Photos also help to build a better first impression with other surfers and hosts.
#3 Get references
References are the mutual comments from other people on Couchsurfing. Hosts are generally not willing to accept surfers who have zero references. More references mean more experiences and shows how respectful you are of other peoples’s homes. You can get references from other surfers or hosts.
#4 Be a host
You can choose to be a host or not. However, if it’s possible, to be a host yourself helps to get more chances to be hosted by others. If you have lots of references from the host but you never host people, the potential hosts might recognize you as a freeloader and decide not to host you. The purpose of Couchsurfing is to connect people from all over the world. Think about this way, if you get hosted by others one time, they probably would expect you to host them next time when they visit your country.
#5 Make your request personally
Writing the request is the most important part. You need to not only make sure your request clearly states how many days you will stay, what day you will arrive and what day you will leave, but also make the request personally by addressing the host’s name. Because it shows your respect and proves at least you have visited the host’s profile. It would be even better if you addressed some identical interests between you and them because I believe most of the hosts are also looking for something worthwhile or someone who could be friend with instead of just offering a free place to a random person.
Photo Credit: Couchsurfing.com