Regardless of if you are staying with a host you met on CouchSurfing or you rented a room on AirB&B don’t do these 3 things when you are staying with a host.
As a solo traveler it is sometimes easy to forget basic decencies like cleaning up after yourself, giving gratitude, and simply telling someone thank you because you are excited and have places you NEED to see or got lots of people you want to meet.
No excuses though, let’s be honest!
I’ve stayed in crowded hostels in Benin and in Japan. I’ve also stayed in a posh villa in a different city in Benin. I CouchSurfed the rest of my 12 international adventures (except Italy because I was an exchange student) and learned a lot of the nuances about being a surfer and also by being a host.
Here is a short list, don’t do these 3 things when you are staying with a host.
#1: Do not bother the host too much
This may seem like common sense for some people however, nothing in life is universal or has universal applications. I know far too many surfers I’ve hosted in the US and in China who initially were a bit reserved when we first met but within a few hours or a day later they would make plans including me without my consent.
The first couple of times this happened I fortunately had spare time to join them but after meeting a dozens of surfers,
I’ve learned to express the ground rules before they arrived at my place to prevent any conflict or misunderstanding.
Instead, try to be mindful that for some host they may WANT you to plan events that you all could attend together however that isn’t the case for every host.
For instance, some host generally host people for a few days but would maybe enjoy meeting up with a surfer for a short break in contrast to being with them for 4 hours.
When I was at my peak of hosting surfers I was also jugging working full time and being a full time grad student. So my time was limited but I valued providing a safe place for surfers to keep their belongings, to be able to chat with them & to learn from them.
There was a time where I hosted two women from Poland, it was their first time in the US. They invited me to do hella tourist stuff with them on one of the few weekends I had off from work.
-__- needless to say I complied out of being a great host, but yo, I was super exhausted once I returned home later that evening I still had other prior commitments I needed to resolve before I went to bed.
Rule of thumb is to not expect all hosts are available 24/7.
Alternatively you could try to communicate with the hosts before your arrival to determine their availability.
#2: Do not invite other people to your hosts place
I was told a telling story about a lax Japanese host who hosted several people at once and shortly after she discovered that many of her possessions had been stolen.
However, because she had so many people in her home at once, she could not figure out who the true thief was. It is crucial to establish ground rules before hosting people in general and to reconfirm the ground rules after the person is in your place.
It’s easy for assumptions to be made and concocted when you don’t set the standard. Fortunately though, I’ve never experienced this despite me having hosted over 80 people!
As a surfer, I would always initiate that conversation with my host and no surprise, most of them would not have any rules or they’d reply “I leave for work at 8 am, you can leave with me…” lol!
I recall asking one of my Chinese host, a chubby 25 year old once I arrived at his house “what are the rules?”, he smiled and said “there are none”.
He obviously placed a lot of trust in me and it was well received obvi lol, but I can’t be as chilled as him ahah!
I did leave his place in a great way, I cleaned the apt, did his bed, and sent him a short video thanking him for allowing me to stay at his apartment despite him not knowing me. I also left him a positive and detailed feedback on CouchSurfing!
#3: Do not forget to express gratitude to your host
I can’t STRESS how annoying this is and how infuriatingly insolent it makes the surfer(s) look when they don’t say “thank you for hosting me/ letting me stay here.”
I can count the less than a handful of sour or weird surfers. Luckily though, I’ve hosted so few of them that I can count them on one hand! They broke the #3 rule.
On two separate occasions the surfers were Russian, they did not know each other. Both came and left practically the same way, they were cold, reserved, secretive, and left without a text and neither left a positive feedback, they didn’t leave a reference at all.
I’ve since made a rule to NO LONGER HOST Russians.
Don’t take it personal, their behaviors were insolent, period!
My most recent experience similar to the previous two was from a young but noticeably strange anti-social Chinese female. lol, I may write a post about her to be honest, she was so fucking weird and her CS profile was misleading!
She described herself as being sociable, as liking heavy metal music, anime…
None of this was true or she lacked the basic capacity to express or hold conversations. It felt like speaking to a prison inmate who has been in solitary confinement their entire sentence, smh!
When I met her she couldn’t even hold eye contact, she didn’t thank me for accepting to host her…etc NEVER AGAIN!
Yes, I am aware of the saying, “when people know better, they do better” her behavior was so telling!
Anyways, she did somewhat differ from the 2 Russians because she left a positive reference that was very detailed. But I left her a scant 2 sentence long reference because I was beyond annoyed with how poorly she functioned as someone who is of adult age and it was difficult to even leave her such a bland reference. I wanted to leave her a one word reference “boring” but some of my friends advised me not to. -__-
I don’t regret it either, if you want to use CouchSurfing it requires being open and being considerate of others because you are not paying to stay with them or paying them for their time! TIME IS MONEY! To be honest she could’ve stayed at a hotel and that might have been better for her because she would creep everyone out.
And there you have it, #3 things you shouldn’t do to your host.
Which # stands out to you?
Please share and comment below.