How to Write a Kick-ass Couchsurfing Request:According to a Host
22 June 2016 | Mri Grout
Couchsurfing is a fantastic way to travel the world both when on a shoestring budget and when loaded with too much cash to bother with. Its most obvious use is as a free place to sleep (hence the traveling on a budget benefit), but it’s most valuable asset is its connection to a wide variety of both locals and fellow travelers alike. I’ve used Couchsurfing in a few different countries over the years and have 98% of the time found a willing host within two or three requests. I was a bit surprised to find that this wasn’t the normal ‘waiting time’ if you will, but after becoming a host myself that suprise has lessoned greatly. The enthusiasm I started out with when I first checked my inbox for requests has nearly disappeared into a depressing pit of dismay; so here I am trying to get that enthusiasm back by showing you how to write a kick-ass couchsuring request.
1. Address Us Hosts By Name
Preferably the right name, mind you. Lols. Copying and pasting requests is understandable when you don’t have much time or data to spend. I get that those can both be greatly restricted on the road; however, you are asking us hosts to accept a stranger into our home and treat them like family for the duration of their stay (however long that may be). The very least you could do (and I mean the VERY LEAST) is address us host(s) by name.
2. Only Write Your Couchsurfing Requests When You Have Enough Time
Obviously, sometimes you get stuck out and need to write a last minute request, but more times than not you know days, weeks, or even months ahead of time. And somewhere during all of that, you’re going to have enough time on your hands to read through Facebook or Google what things to do nearby. Use that time to actually sit down and write your request. You’re asking us for a minimum of 24 hours of our time; as a host, I’m just asking for 15-30 minutes. Is that really too much? And if the answer is yes, please do not contact me. Lols.
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3. Write Your Requests in the Language We Speak
You would think that would be obvious, but since I’m living in Spain I get so many requests in Spanish. Which, fair enough, I’m in Spain. But then I go and check out their profile and THEY SPEAK ENGLISH! I now no longer reply to those blatant ‘I didn’t even look at your profile’ requests.
4. Actually Read Our Freaking Profile
5. Mention Something on Our Profile That You Find Interesting
It can be as simple as: “What was your favourite place in (whatever country they’ve been to)?” or “Anything you’d recommend visiting in (wherver they currently live)?” Some profiles will tell you what to ask and if you don’t, they’re not going to accept your request even if you’re Tom Hiddleson. Actually, scratch that and make it the average Joe (aka: you) cuz let's face it, it's Tom Freaking Hiddleson.
6. Fill Out Your Own Couchsurfing Profile
After reading a request, I always go and check out that person’s profile. If I find it funny, I immediately accept. If I find it fully filled out and nowhere do you say you like to rob or kill people, then I accept after reading it entirely. If I find it empty, I put out a few more feelers first and may or may not accept. You can take that as you will; if you’re not good at filling out profiles but are great at selling yourself when you talk, then go for the latter and vice versa.
These are the five main points that I would love to see in my Couchsurfing requests. They are also the ones I stick to when I write my own (ie: the ones that normally always get accepted fairly quickly). This works, not because of some fancy formula, but because I actually take the time to try to get to know my hosts before asking such a huge favour from them. So try it and see where it gets you. (:
For some more amazing travel tips by Lifelong Vagabonds, then check out these tips for when you're on the road.
Travel Tip #4
Any other tips you guys have (either as hosts or surfers), please drop them in the comments below.