Regardless of how far you are travelling, whether it’s interstate or international, it is important to be a respectful and conscientious guest. Couchsurfing and using services such as AirBnb are great ways of meeting new people and experiencing the world, however the relaxed nature doesn’t exempt you from basic etiquette.
Couchsurfing by its nature is about sharing your life and stories with a new set of people. While you may not have much money, it is good manners to show your hosts your appreciation with a small token. Whether this is buying food or a meal, or simply a gift on your arrival or departure.
You are in someone else’s home, space and maybe even country, so ensure you understand that your norms may not apply. Diversity is to be embraced and appreciating their traditions or customs, you will get much more out of your experience.
Spending time with your hosts is important, after all, meeting new people is why you are there in the first place. Say yes when invited to participate and let them show you their community and culture.
You aren’t in a hotel, so make sure you keep your things in order and clean up after yourself. If you are sleeping on their sofa bed, pack it up when you wake in the morning so the room and sofa can be used during the day, it isn’t your bedroom, it’s someone’s living room.
If your plans change, let your hosts know as soon as you do. Nobody is a mind reader and leaving on good terms in vital to creating a pleasant memory of your time there. If you need to stay a night or two longer, be upfront with them, equally, keep them informed if you need to leave early.
Simple courtesy goes a long way
Staying with strangers can be awkward for even the most outgoing person. Having impeccable manners and approaching the situation maturely and openly will go a long way to making it successful and rewarding.