Couchsurfing is an amazing community when utilized the way it was intended. Unfortunately, some give it a bad name. Here’s what you need to know if you’re thinking about using the Couchsurfing community to support your travels and the 7 types of Couchsurfers you either need to be wary of or grateful for.
1. Your Highness
The “Your Highness” host is pretty easy to identify. They have dozens of positive references to paragraphs and paragraphs of rules in their profile. They expect you to read through their entire life story, and they run their account like a business. You fill out an application that feels like pages of essay writing explaining why you’re the right surfer for them BEFORE you even know if they have availability. If you don’t follow each of their rules, they’ll shred you a new one throwing their pompous “I’m a veteran Couchsurfer and have traveled all over the world” in your face, and it’s people like you that are the reason they’re so downright annoyed. When you apologize for not reading through the entire profile and explain you were traveling between countries, they fire back saying all the other Couchsurfers made them a priority followed by a “Patooey! You despicable nobody!” in your face. Ouch. Forget that you’re a newbie getting a feel for the community, or that you’re in limited wifi zones with little accessibility to email. You’re scum in their eyes if you don’t follow THEIR rules!
2. The Moocher
These are the takers. They rely on the kindness of others to support their freeloading lifestyle. They will stay at your home well past the initial agreement drinking all your booze, scavenging through your cupboards, asking for rides, and skillfully using your money instead of their own because they’re just too damn cheap and entitled to have to use their own money. They’re the ungrateful type and like a leech sucking all your time, energy, and money. You don’t even understand how they convinced you to sleep on the couch while they slept in your comfy bed. But what they will offer you are “insightful” conversations on why they don’t need money to travel. Yeah, that’s because they’re taking advantage of the kindness and money of others you self-absorbed bastards!
3. The Flake
The flakes are the inconsiderate wishy-washy type. After receiving dozens of email requests from people asking you to host, you finally select one who seems genuine and feels like cool peeps. You decline all the requests to help others because you’ve locked in this one. You give them directions to your house mapped in detail and even take a day off from work because their flight gets in the morning and you don’t want to leave them stranded with all their luggage. All is good, and you’re waiting for them to land while you finish up washing linen for them so they can have a nice, pleasant stay at your home. You’re waiting for a couple of hours after they said they would arrive but no sign of them. You’re wondering if maybe their flight was delayed or if something bad happened, but you checked, and their flight arrived on time. You email them, and then they reply, “Oh sorry. I found somewhere else to stay.” Assholes.
4. The Creeper
Eww, the creepy perverts. It was only a matter of time before the creepers found it’s way into a trusted travel community. These pieces of filth are the type who will be so enthusiastic about you staying at their home offering you a ride from the airport, show you around town and even take you out to dinner. There’s only one problem, though. They only have one bed, and it’s a twin. Somehow their couch disappeared from the living room, and that means you’ll have to share the bed with them. Oh, shucks! But, hey, why don’t you have some cheap whiskey to relax you. These situations usually turn out bad when they use Couchsurfing as a way to get sexual favors in return for them giving you a place to stay. STAY AWAY FROM THE CREEPERS.
5. The Closet Surfers
These are an interesting bunch. All is good when you arrive, but things get sketchy real fast. You come in at an odd hour of the evening and are required to stay in their room during the stay. Schedules get locked in about what time you can use the shower or even brush your teeth. You have to keep real quiet, so their roommate doesn’t hear you. Wait a minute? Doesn’t your roommate have a right to know that some stranger is staying in their home? Then it’s further explained that their roommate doesn’t agree with Couchsurfing, and they don’t want them to know. Awkward!
6. The Jaded
The poor jaded people. I really empathize with them after hearing their stories. These are the early adopters who have seen the community changing and now have to put up with the “Your Highness,” moochers, and creepers. They rarely go on Couchsurfing anymore because their experiences are more often a waste of time for them because the people no longer lack sincerity. I guess this is what happens when a community gets too big. You get a lot more sour apples that ruin it for the bunch.
7. The Small Percentage of Cool People
This is the tiny percentage of cool people left in the Couchsurfing community. They’re the type who bring you a little housewarming gift as thanks for allowing them to stay at your place, offer to take on house chores or even cook you a delicious meal. Anything they can do to show gratitude. You exchange interesting stories, lots of laughs, and the type you’ll find yourself wanting to be lifelong friends with. Or if not lifelong friends, a great experience to add to the memory book with a full belly. The experience was a win-win for everybody.