With travel costs going down and hotels costs remaining high as ever, alternative accommodation options have become extremely popular. Couch surfing, with its affordability, opportunity of making friends and getting an authentic experience, is considered to be exceptionally desirable for many travellers. However, the issue of safety still remains a concern for many.
While looking for a potential host, read through their profile to figure out if their outlook matches yours. This might seem obvious, but many people just skim through host profiles, thereby missing out important information. Do your research well and gather information about the host. You must be certain of the kind of accommodation being offered, so look for pictures and descriptions. Choose something that will suit your comfort level- if you do not want to share a room, you do not have to. Read recommendations left by previous couch surfers and choose hosts with mostly positive ones. Also try selecting hosts who are verified by the site or vouched for by others. First timers, solo travellers or women might want to be more selective in picking a host and might prefer those who are of the same gender or age group for optimum safety. Scoping their friend-lists can provide important hints about hosts. For instance, a male host with only female friends might be a dubious choice.
After selecting a host, if you sense something amiss or start having second thoughts, there is no binding agreement in couch surfing that obliges you to go through with it and you can just let them know that you want to cancel. On reaching your destination, make sure that the living arrangements are as was promised and do not hesitate to leave if you are not comfortable. It is a good idea to look up a few hotels in the city beforehand a take some extra money in case you need to resort to the hotels. Ensure that your friends and family know where you will be staying and they have the contact details of your host. These simple precautions are often overlooked but can be essential in ensuring your safety while enjoying the exceptional experience that couch surfing is.
Picture: Lucky Dragon USA – Fotolia