I heard about Couch Surfing 9 years ago when my best friend called me very excited about joining this website. By this time, I loved the concept but I didn't want to join right the way because I was living with my parents so I couldn't host and I was studying in the College so I didn't have the time and money to travel. But actually Couch Surfing is much more then that.
Couch Surfing is basically a travellers community where you can host and be hosted and also you can show your town, go for a coffee or a drink. A great place to give and receive information about countries. All with locals which means that you will stay at a local's place and he knows the best places to visit, to eat, to dance for cheaper or for free. This is a great way to get out of touristy areas or the cliché places travel guides tell you to go.
When you decide to join Couch Surfing is important to know that CS is not Free Accomodation, you will share opinions, perhaps cook your country's food, give company... Is not about arriving, sleep and eat for free, be outside all the time or spend all day in front of the computer for the free wifi. It's about SHARING. Sharing cultures.
I found CS pretty safe because you can read the references from previous Couch Surfers and also you can read the profile and check if you share similar interests. But there's always a "black sheep" so you gotta watch out for messages from people who only wants to go for a coffee, thinking about a flirt. This person usually sends a short message like: "Hey, I saw you are around would love to show you around and go for a coffee, my number is 93820398. Would love to meet you!"
When you open your CS account is not easy at all to find a couch because you don't have any references. I remember to look for couch in Stockholm, sent around 30 couch requests and finally one cool guy approved me :) I guess luck was besides me.
My CouchSurfing Tips are:
>> Complete your profile as much as possible, so people know you better;
>> Upload at least 5 pictures of you;
>> Ask your friends who have an account to send you a reference. Three references to start is good enough;
>> Join the Groups and be participative: if you are going to Thailand join the group Thailand and check the posts that might interest you. If you have any doubts post! Also join your town group so you can answer others questions.
>> When looking for a Couch make sure you have about 2 hours because it takes time to read profiles and decide which person you really wanna meet up and spend 3 or 4 days with;
If you have any doubts please ask in the comments of this post so we can start a discussion. Click here to access my CS account. Are you travelling short/long term? What are you waiting for? Go join CS!