Travel – locally or internationally – is typically included on most people’s bucket list. After all, traveling allows you to unwind, destress, and meet people. While gaining experience, you’re acquiring new knowledge and information. Traveling, as they say, may not bring much weight to your social status/profile, but it helps your growth as a person.
There’s no denying that traveling has a long list of benefits and advantages. However, the safety concerns and protection issues entailed cannot be overlooked. Couchsurfing while traveling, for instance, could be a great cost-cutting method but one’s safety and protection are often questionable. To help, we’ll be proving how to safely couchsurf by following certain etiquette and safety measures.
How Does Couchsurfing Work and Is Couchsurfing Safe?
As its name implies, the idea of couchsurfing is to stay from one couch to another while traveling in the hopes to save money. Couchsurfing.com is an open platform that enables travelers, the so-called couchsurfers, to connect with locals aka hosts.
This trend started as a mere ingenious idea to cut costs for an Iceland trip in 2004. Casey Fenton, a hacker and traveler, didn’t expect hundreds of thousands of budget travelers to find this tip/information valuable. Couchsurfing received way more profile registrations than it was initially designed to handle, causing the site to crash roughly two years after its launch. All registered profile data got corrupted. However, thanks to volunteers and donations, it was soon rebuilt into a protected and scalable site. To date, Couchsurfing is a growing community of over 15 million travelers and 400,000 hosts.
Unlike Airbnb, Couchsurfing doesn’t require a rental fee. The million-dollar question by most, however, “Is Couchsurfing safe?” Staying in a place for free is the same reason why this tip is embraced by several travelers and why most travelers question the safety and protection that comes with it. There are certain Couchsurfing safety and protection tips that members can share to prove how safe is Couchsurfing.
Before we proceed with that though, let’s dig deeper into how this whole idea works.
Your profile is a reflection of yourself, so be sure to feed all important and valuable information – from basic details to personal interests. To help maintain safety on the platform, never include false or incomplete information on your profile.
Start by exploring your local city and look for couchsurfers near you. Couchsurfers organize regular events in 200,000 cities around the world, so surely, something is happening nearby. Simply click Join on your city’s Place Page, and be sure to show up to meet locals.
Once you’re all prepared and are complacent with the practices and safety protocols, start couchsurfing to other cities across the world. Thoroughly check potential Couchsurfing hosts in the places you wish to visit and send at least 5 couchrequests before your travel dates.
To retain the safety of the community, Couchsurfing encourages all couchsurfers to open their homes to other travelers after attending at least a couple of events. Your couch status could be set on the Couch Information page.
6 Rules for Safe Couchsurfing
Though there are certain protocols set by the admin to protect its members, Couchsurfing safety depends on the hosts and couchsurfers alike. Instead of wondering how safe is Couchsurfing, think of ways you can contribute to the overall safety and security of the community you’ve voluntarily joined.
Here are some safety tips and information, along with safety precautionary measures for a safer and enjoyable Couchsurfing experience.
1. Review and Validate The Profile
As previously mentioned, your profile is a reflection of your personality. In the same way, you should review couchrequests and potential host profiles before proceeding. Hence, our first Couchsurfing safety tip is to thoroughly check all details available. One guaranteed protection tip is to validate and crosscheck their information from scratch.
2. Initiate A Reverse Phone Lookup with Kiwi Searches
Kiwisearches.com is a web-based platform that offers a fast and convenient way of acquiring details about someone. Our database contains information that could be valuable to employers, lessees, travelers, or anyone looking for a long-lost friend/family member. In addition to checking profiles, another safety and protection tip is to conduct a reverse phone lookup. This tip assures your newly found friends are who they say they are.
3. Sign Up Early and Provide Your Complete Information
Be sure to send couchrequests to your friends a few days before traveling. If it’s your first time couchsurfing or traveling to a certain place, provide your complete and accurate profile. By signing up early, you get to secure and protect your slot to avoid overlapping schedules. This safety tip works regardless if you’re a first-timer or not.
4. Meet In A Private/Crowded Place
If it’s your first time meeting your newly found friend in person, it’s safer to choose a public or crowded meeting place. This couchsurfing and traveling tip prevents you from falling victim to common crimes like kidnapping, theft, rape, or murder. By simply ensuring several witnesses within the area, you’re already protecting yourself.
5. Inform Friends and/or Family Members
Another couchsurfing safety tip is to give your complete travel information to friends and/or family members. Provide information like where you’re going, who are you traveling or staying with, how long will you be away, and the like. So, in case anything goes south, your friends and/or family will know how to start saving or protecting you.
6. Couchsurfing Requires No Rental Fee
Couchsurfing is designed to help budget travelers continue their passion for exploration at the lowest possible cost. This safety tip is meant to protect you from scammers and thieves. Normally, couchsurfers bring gifts to their hosts and friends but are not obligated to pay a fee.