Planning to couchsurf this summer?
Guest post by Damien Troy
If you’re planning to go away this summer and you’re on a bit of a shoestring budget, you may have considered couch surfing. Whilst there are several benefits of couch surfing including the ability to save money and meet new and interesting people, it can also be dangerous and is a daunting experience for some. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a seasoned couch surfer, or whether you are about to embark on your first ever journey staying in the company of a complete stranger, take a look at the following five tips to ensure you stay safe while couch surfing, no matter where you are in the world, and be sure to remember your European health insurance card!
#1 | Read All The Reviews
It’s true that couch surfing can be dangerous, but if done correctly, you have nothing to worry about. Rest assured, by reading all the reviews carefully, you are sure to have a pleasant couch surfing experience. When reading each review, look out for subtle hints from the reviewer. Instead of blatantly calling out the person, reviewers are more likely to hint about the problems they experienced than be honest about their couch surfing experience. Despite this, it will be obvious if a reviewer’s couch surfing experience is a no go, as some people will clearly express their opinion. It’s entirely down to personal opinion and whose couch you plan to surf!
#2 | Message Back And Forth With The Person
In order to ensure you stay safe while couch surfing, it is paramount that you have contact with the person before you leave home. By messaging back and forth with the person, you will gain a greater understanding of what they have planned during your stay. This is your chance to speak up about what activities you enjoy, to avoid feeling trapped. This will also help you gain greater insight to their legitimacy. If at any point you feel unsafe conversing with the person, you can back out – before it’s too late.
#3 | Tell Friends Where You’re Staying
In order to stay safe while couch surfing, make sure to tell your friends and family where you are staying. By doing this, should anything happen, they can find you immediately. Moreover, by telling your friends when you are staying, should you forget the address or not have access to that information at any point, you can politely ask a close friend or family member to send it to you.
#4 | Always Have A Back Up Plan
When it comes to couchsurfing, you should always have a backup plan. Similarly, if things start to get too weird for your liking, ensure you have an escape plan in place. In order to ensure you are safe, prior to travelling to your hosts house, checkout the local hostels or an affordable hotel nearby. This way, should you need to escape at short notice for whatever reason, you have somewhere to go and can assure your friends and family that you are safe.
#5 | Be Clear About Your Boundaries
The final tip to stay safe while couchsurfing is to ensure you are clear about your boundaries. You might be embarrassed, but you most definitely shouldn’t be shy about stating what you do and don’t expect from your stay. If you are concerned, consider staying with someone of the same sex or with families to ensure safety.