Couchsurfing was founded in 2004. Back then it was a tighter knit community of travelers helping each other with housing in cities all around the world. In 2011 Couchsurfing was sold to the private for-profit corporation Better World Through Travel in 2011.
In came the weirdos.
All of a sudden the site was flooded with guys who clearly make profiles to get attractive young travelers to stay in their beds for a few nights before they move on to the next city.
If you are looking to sample the men across the globe, then by all means do whatever you’d like – just be safe. But if you are simply looking for a couch to crash on, I will give you pointers on how to avoid the sex-craved hosts.
article. A chauvinist blogger made a list of “8 signs of a slutty Couch Surfer girl.” Take note of his findings and change your profile accordingly.
If there are only girls and hot girls at that, take notice. If he doesn’t have any reviews of letting a fellow male traveler crash at his place for a few nights then be assured that he is looking for female company only.
To ensure a safe trip, try meeting in Couchsurfing groups as opposed to meeting one person. The odds are in your favor of meeting someone you actually click with on a platonic level.
Local ambassadors in your region that can be of service. They may have the scoop on any wayward hosts.
CHECK HIS PROFILE INFO
Instant red flag for any guy who has not surfed anywhere nor has any cities listed as placed that he’s visited. A blank Couchsurfing page means that he isn’t truly with the Couchsurfing community. If he has no reviews from males, then he is only looking to hang out with women. Its best to skip his profile and head to the next one.
Look for female hosts first. I’ve stayed with a few male hosts and they turned out to be nice laid back guys, but if you have the option to choose a woman, why not? You’ll meet enough guys while traveling. No need to be tethered to the guy whose couch you are crashing on.
Make it 100% clear in your profile and email correspondence that you are not looking for any dating service, hook ups, etc.
While you email back and forth, do not flirt with the user. If they flirt with you, do not respond.
BE A LESBIAN FOR A DAY
If you’re non-confrontational and a good actress, this wont be the first time you lied about your sexual orientation to keep a platonic friend from slipping into the no-go zone. Tell them you are not interested in men at all and act accordingly.
OFFER A GIFT
While couchsurfing in London, I gave my host an extra ticket to attend EDC London. He let me sleep on his couch and I gave him free tickets to one of the biggest raves in London for free! Although offering something valuable is not a guarantee that they will not flirt with you, it does give you better bartering leverage.
ALWAYS HAVE A BACK UP PLAN
If things get too weird, you will want an escape plan. Once you are around your hosts house, find a hostel or affordable hotel nearby.
Although certain guys will always throw around the sex hint, just relax and firmly say that you are not interested. I doubt he will risk doing anything rash, risking a negative review on his Couch Surfing profile, but if you feel uncomfortable, leave.
NEVER LET YOUR HOST DO TOO MANY THINGS FOR YOU
While traveling, you will find that many people are inherently nice. We watch shows and sensational movies that make us believe that everyone is a villain with an ulterior motive which usually involves murder. While that isn’t the case, you still never want to feel indebted to someone for helping you out. Don’t let your host do too many things like shuffle you to and from the airport and pick up the tab after a long night of drinking.
Lets face it. Sex is a part of life. No matter our personal beliefs, others may not live with the same standards. Being a single young girl traveling the world already makes you more adventurous than most and many guys will take that adventurism and turn it into some exotic sex goddess fantasy. Let them know up front that you are not interested in hooking up.
And if anything bad happens, do not hesitate to give them an honest review on CouchSurfing.
What experiences have you had Couchsurfing? Any tips you'd like to share?
Jelisa is passionate about inspiring fellow millennials to travel. Specifically, utilizing travel as an educational right rather than an elusive reward after long years of working. There are enriching lessons tucked into every corner of the world, and it can be accessed by less than a fraction of the national average college tuition. She firmly believes that life is best understood and dissected through travel, rather than in a classroom lecture. Follow her posts on her personal site.