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Old 06-10-2008, 09:29 PM   #1
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Default To Couchsurf or not to couchsurf - that is the Question!

Alright ladies, gentlemen and others!
I have a flight booked, Saskatoon > Toronto > Belfast, all starting on July 14th! Whoop!


Now, the deal....
Hostels are starting to fill up! Weekends are already being booked as late as July 12th in Paddy's (the hostel I want to stay) - so I am jumping on some accommodation ASAP!

But this is what I am wondering: I have a couch surfing account, which is something I have never done (couch surf I mean). I want to couchsurf for a number of reasons... asides from saving money, I think it would be awesome to meet locals, get the inside track, perhaps have a more comfortable sleeping arrangement (quieter? more private? etc). Therefore I am thinking I would like to couchsurf around 20% of the time.

My problem is this: When should I couchsurf? When should I not couchsurf? I have to start booking a weeks worth of accomodation in Belfast soon... should I save the weekends for hostels? Should I not hook up with a Couch Surfing host my first night in the city (I mean, stay at their place!)? Any tips? Do CS Hosts like people on weekends or weekdays? Do they want to hang out with a Canadian Dude with jetlag and bitchey as hell? :D

Thanks!
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Old 06-11-2008, 03:22 AM   #2
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The thing with couchsurfing is it can be quite personal. Also during the week couchsurfers will be working I always encourage people to stay with me at the weekends because I would want to bring them out and show them around. But you never know, that's the thing with couchsurfing you can never know what to expect. Send an email and see what the craic is that's all you can do. You should start now and see what kind of replies you get.

Belfast would be one city where I would definitely couchsurf, local knowledge would be invaluable.
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Old 06-11-2008, 05:14 AM   #3
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Yeah, as MeTurk has said, its all about contacting people and getting feedback from them. Go for it. What's the worst that can happen? They say they can't help you out and you're back where you started...or they say yes and then murder you in your sleep...but you know, thats probably not gonna happen.
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Old 06-11-2008, 08:52 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbo108 View Post
They say they can't help you out and you're back where you started...or they say yes and then murder you in your sleep...but you know, thats probably not gonna happen.
No worse than hostel.. At least with couchsurfing it will be a more personal experience and you won't have to wait in line.
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Old 06-11-2008, 09:32 AM   #5
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Thanks for the replies lads,
I guess what I meant is, from the perspective of a backpacker/traveller in strange and foreign lands - would you rather be couchsurfing during the week or the weekend? What about when you first arrive? After being tired and feeling a bit alienated, is it better to be in a hostel or in someones house? I am sure I could find a host for any type of situation - but I am being selfish in this respect . When is it good for me to couchsurf haha.
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Old 06-11-2008, 12:52 PM   #6
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Couchsurfing is great.
SOme things I would recommend though would be to search the profiles and see who you're interested in staying with and contact them to open a dialogue well in advance.
Often they will say right on their profiles when the best days of the week are for them to host.
Don't try to stay at any one place for more than a few days, and always offer a gift of some sort if you stay with them (bottle of wine, dinner, momento of some sort, Etc.).
If you're the type that need a day to shake the jet lag, or rest after arriving, you'll likely be better off in a hostel or hotel for that time. Then you can possibly have some alone time.
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Old 06-11-2008, 01:57 PM   #7
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CSing 20% of the time is a good figure to shoot for. One thing about CSing is that you really have to know the exact date you're going to arrive (Would you really want a houseguest that says I'm gonna turn up sometime between Tuesday and Friday?). Since you're going to be travelling long term your plans are probably going to be really flexible. So if you can know your dates maybe 2 weeks in advance it would be easier. I suck at making a plan.

In your first destination and last destinations I would without question get a hostel. You're making a big transition and you don't need the pressure of being a guest.

Weekdays: You have to follow your guest's morning schedule. Are you comfortable with leaving the house at 9am and coming back no earlier than 4? And probably having a "curfew" of 11pm? This is typical for 90% of hosts. I wouldn't want to do this for 4 months straight, but once in a while is fine. One way to circumvent this is to stay with students who may not have class until later in the morning.

Should you CS w/ someone on your first day in a city?: If arriving in the afternoon or early evening, yes. If coming off a night train, no! You will wanna get your ass to the nearest shower/bed and not wait for someone to get off work to meetup with them.

Make sure you fill out your CS profile as thoroughly as possible. This link is about how to be a good CS guest. More tips

How to write a CS request <--- Very important!
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Old 06-11-2008, 03:34 PM   #8
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I couchsurf heavily and love it.
I did it mostly in europe and loved it.
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Old 06-11-2008, 08:36 PM   #9
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I couchsurfed my way through the Netherlands and Germany and I absolutely loved every moment of it. It's true that it can be a little less flexible and free and you have to work with your host's schedule, but I found it to be a different and great way to travel. I did put a lot of time into reading through profiles and picking interesting people though. Good luck!
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Old 08-15-2008, 09:42 AM   #10
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Has anyone couchsurfed in their own state (or country if it's small)?

I live in SF and was looking for a cheap place to stay in Napa/Somona, which is pretty difficult, so I thought I could maybe couchsurf?! Is it weird that it would only be an hour from where I live?

I'm trying to be safe and not drink and drive
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Old 08-15-2008, 10:37 AM   #11
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A friend of mine in Montreal offered a couch to 2 girls from Toronto. I don't there is a rule limiting the services to sleeping outside your own country.
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Old 08-15-2008, 01:24 PM   #12
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You can do it but the question is...will anyone host you? I'd refrain from mentioning you're looking for a cheap place to stay. CS is not only supposed to be about free accommodation, but a way to meet new friends and cultural exchange, etc...you get the idea.
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Old 08-15-2008, 09:14 PM   #13
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That's exactly what I was worried about. I can at least talk to them about all my travels....
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