About Couchsurfing

What is it ?

It's a simple way to meet people and sleep at their place when you're traveling, or host travellers who come visit your city.

There are no other obligation for the host than to allow the surfer to crash on your couch. Couch can be a bed, a mattress, or sometimes just a little bit of floor space.

Couchsurfing is free, it's fun, and it's about meeting people and exchanging about each other culture. It's a efficient way to get rid of many stereotypes too.

Several couchsurfing websites exists :
  •, the mother ship. Recently switched from a non-profit to a corporate, making people, including me, very angry.
  • My couch : a simple Ikea mattress.
  • smaller.
Note : if you register on CouchSurfing,org, you do NOT have to pay $25 or use Facebook even if the new website design pushes you to  do so.

I'm a host !

I started hosting couchsurfers in April 2011. I just had some very bad time before that, and probably unconsciously didn't want to stay alone, immobile, which is my normal behavior.

Within about a year I hosted almost 50 people from all over the world. Many of them became friends, and when they plan to come back to Paris they send me a request, and I find this very sweet because it means they fell really well at my (messy) place.

You can access my couch surfer profile and couch description online (without registering) here.

Map of my guests

View CouchSurfers in a larger map

« I couldn't host a stranger at my place »

That's what people tell me most of the time when I tell them about hosting couch surfers. Actually, this is not a problem at all !
Remember :

  1. you're the host, it's your place, your rules, and 
  2. carefully choose your firsts hosts

My place, my rules

You don't have to change your habits because there is a surfer at your place. Before you accept their request, you exchange several messages with him/her. If you have some special rules, tell them at that point, and be sure they are accepted. For example if your place is non-smoking or if you want the surfer to come back before a certain time or leave early in the morning, etc.

Your profile is probably a good place to list your rules and answer the most common questions (you can have a second look at my profile to see what I mean).

As I'm concerned the only habit I had to change is not to go naked from the bathroom to the bed room. That's all : my house doesn't have any other rules, and I never had any problem with my surfers : they are all very polite, cool, and interesting people to meet and chat with.

Carefully choose your guest

You'd better carefully chose your first few guests from the (maybe) many requests you'll receive.
I strongly suggest your firsts surfers to have a lot of experience and many positive feedback from hosts, for example above 20. You really have to read the feedback section of their profile.
Since they are experienced they'll tell you what to do... many of them are also hosts when they don't travel.

After a while you'll notice that it's not that easy for the surfer to come to an unknown place, they might feel a little bit impressed at first, just as you are.

What is the surfer expecting ?

A safe place to sleep, to take a shower, to access the Internet and of course a nice host to talk to. If they come as a tourist they might ask about directions, interesting places, etc.

How long can you host ?

There are several kind of surfers :

  • the one nighter, for example because it has a train or flight to catch the next morning. In that case of request I usually say yes, but for people from my country (France, or Belgium for example) because spending one evening together is not enough to learn something from somebody else's culture.
  • the lost surfer : this one is requesting an emergency hosting solution, he/she can be at the train station for example, or found all the (cheap) hotels full, etc. This species always have a funny story to tell about how they ended in your city.
  • the tourist will probably stay between 3 to 10 days, he already had his plane/train tickets, and everything is planned.
  • long term guest : someone who is looking for an above 2 week place to stay. He/she will probably ask you more questions to be sure both lifestyles are compatible.
If your guest likes you he/she might ask to extend their stay, and that's the same the other way around : you may ask for cool guests to stay more !
As an extreme example, I hosted Connie (from Spain/Chile) for a week because she had an exam in Paris, 2 months later she asked me to stay another week before going back to Chile, and when she came back after her summer holidays she asked to stay the time to find an apartment... and that took 2 months :-)
Meanwhile I hosted other couch surfers (again, my house, my rules), and we had a lot of fun going out together.
Now Connie still comes to sleep at my place from time to time, and she lives at 3 blocks from my place.


I hope the above little hints will help you to join the couch surfers community. If you want to hear about different cultures without travelling, if you're visiting a new country and want to see how people live, try couch surfing. The rules are pretty simple, and the fun guaranteed.

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