Is Couchsurfing Safe?

Today we’re going to talk about safety when
it comes to using Couchsurfing. We are going to address the question if CS
is safe and I will give you 9 advices for your safety. Is Couchsurfing safe? This is a tricky question. It’s exactly like asking: are cars safe? What would you answer to that? Cars can be safe, for sure, if used properly,
but they can also turn quite easily into death machines. They are only means, like Couchsurfing is. All depends on how you use them. We’ve all heard about Couchsurfing horror
stories: people harassed, assaulted, even raped. But don’t we only read in the newspaper about
car crashes and people dying on the streets? What makes a news interesting is its exclusivity. There is not enough meat writing about how
good a Couchsurfing experience went or how successful a car trip has been. There have been some cases of bad experiences
over the years. There have also been thousands of great interactions
and many friendships built through Couchsurfing. Would you ever give up on driving a car saying
it’s not safe because all the bad news you’ve heard? I don’t think so. You just pay attention and be careful. It’s the same with Couchsurfing. If you use it reasonably and apply common
sense, it’s safe. If you don’t, it’s not safe. Now, we all know what common sense is when
driving a car: pay attention to what happens on the street, respect the signs and so on. But there is no license to get when you start
couch surfing, that’s why now I’m going to give you some rules. Specifically, I will give you 9 tips to follow
for your safety. Please stick to the end of the video cause
after these tips I’m going to address specifically to female surfers and give some special advice
for them. So I’ll start with the more general tips to
finish with the more specific and practical ones. 1 – Use it properly: don’t use it only to
have a free bed. Instead, use it with the purpose of meeting
new people. 2 – Look for profiles that have similar interest
to yours. What you are looking for is the feeling that
you can be friends with this person before even meeting. 3 – Be picky with the profiles, especially
if you are a surfer and especially if you are a woman. 4 – Have a backup plan in case you have a
bad feeling after meeting in person. So many surfers recognise to have that bad
gut feeling that tell them they should leave, but they remain instead, just because they
have nowhere else to go. Before meeting a hosts, select a hostel in
the neighborhood or have in mind a bar that could be a place where you go immediately
after leaving the host’s place so that you can look for a better accommodation. 5 – Read between the lines of the positive
references. I believe the inability of the people to leave
bad references is the curse of this service. Because you have spent time with this person
and he had for sure also positive sides, even if you didn’t have a totally good experience
with him or her, it’s hard to put it black on white in a reference. That’s why you should be aware of that and
be able to interpret the good references. The real good ones usually sound very enthusiastic. If they sound just slightly good, they may
be some hidden bad ones. So be very cautious. 6 – If you are a host, before hosting someone
with no references, make sure to make them sweat to have their couch request approved. They have to show you that they care and that
they are not just looking for a free accommodation. Ask questions and expect the answer to be
convincing enough. If you are a surfer, on the other side, avoid
staying with anyone who has less than 3 references. 7 – Chat and or talk as much as possible before
meeting, so you can have a first impression of the person already. You want to gather as much material as possible,
based on which you need to make an evaluation of the person later. 8 – Set up clear expectations before meeting:
are you going to explore the city together or the surfer will do it by himself? Are you going to spend time together or just
a chat when you first meet and then just randomly meet if it happens? Will you have meals together? What are your schedules? 9 – When you surf, meet the person before
evening, so that you have a window of time to arrange a different accommodation if you
don’t feel comfortable at his or her place. For both hosts and surfers, the best option
is to meet in public first rather than directly at home. But I realise this is quite unusual. And last but not least, 10 – When surfing,
leave if you feel there’s something wrong. Now some specific notes for females. If you are a woman you are more vulnerable,
that’s a fact. Especially when you surf. Most of the hosts on CS are men and there’s
a reason for that. There’s more reasons actually. One is probably because for women is more
difficult to accept strangers in their houses. But the other reason is that the majority
of them would probably like to sleep with their female guest. In most cases though, that’s not their primary
intention. It’s like in every other real life situation:
if you are at a party and a guy comes talk to you, he probably would like to have sex
with you eventually, but if you don’t want to and you have a good time just chatting
together, he will enjoy the experience too. There are some male hosts though, who leverage
Couchsurfing with the only purpose of having sex with women. They exploit the fact that the guest is sleeping
at their house and has to follow their rules. Please be aware that this kind of people exist,
learn to recognise them and be prepared to leave their place if you are unlucky enough
to end up with some of them. The profile of such a person will probably
A) have no references because they change it very often in order to hide their bad references;
B) only have references from women, and if you read them carefully you can understand
that they were not completely happy about the experience; C) when texting with him,
he doesn’t seem super interested and involved in the activities you could do together, and
that’s because the only activity he wants to do with you is something he can’t talk
about. That said, if a host makes you feel uncomfortable
in any way, he’s probably going to continue doing it for the whole time you will be staying
there. So please, please, please, leave. Pack your stuff and gently but firmly thank
him and tell him you don’t feel like staying. Then leave and go to the nearest bar where
you can sit down, relax and look for a hostel or another accommodation. Ok guys, I hope this video answered to enough
of your questions about safety on Couchsurfing. There is still one very important thing to
address before closing. It’s a request I have, or more like a prayer
to everyone of you: please, please, please leave bad references. They are not even called “negative” nowadays,
they are called “neutral”. And if you still want to leave a good one,
at least inform the rest of the community of weird of unusual behaviours. That’s it guys. Please like this video and comment below to
let me know what doubts do you still have, and if you agree or not to what I said. Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel if
you are interested and feel free to check out the other videos I made about Couchsurfing. You find them all linked in the description
below. Other requests from comments:
how to make profile attractive how to get those first reviews
on which website do you find couchsurfing hosts
do you reccommend getting verified

16 thoughts on “Is Couchsurfing Safe?”

  1. I just discover couchsurfing two days ago and I am searching as many informations as I can before my trip. So thank you for the video, really good quality, sound and also accent!

  2. Hi! I ran into ur channel! Good job on your work and keep it up! I just subbed and liked!😇 plz sub back with post notifs on? 🛎✅ and check out my latest vid and leave a like? 😱👍 Lets support eachother that'd be awesomee! Thanks and best of luck!😇

  3. Hey Mary Jane! 🙂 Another advice that I frequently take – usually as a host, but is also useful as a guest – to have multiple possibilities for the guest and the host to reach out to each other. Negotiate a place of meeting but the guest should also learn the street address and phone contact of the host. It's probably a good idea to also familiarize yourself with the map even if your host agrees to walk you home. And another advice that could be especially useful for solo female travellers: have an emergency contact back home who knows all the above details and expects a message or a call from you shortly after your arrival. If you fail to contact them, they know that something is wrong. Even if they can't do much for you other than probably call the police, it could be some extra self confidence for you when negotiating yourself out of an unpleasant or probably even dangerous situation.

  4. Thanks for this. me and my friend (also a girl) are looking into doing some couch surfing in Europe this year and this video was super helpful!

  5. Hallo Mary Jane, thank you very much for that video. It was very helpful. I am a woman from Germany and a am just starting out as a host on CS. Yesterday I had my first CS experience and drove a very friendly guy from Egypt around my area and showed hin a lot of castles at the river Rhein. Key was for me that we shared the same interests and I studied his profile at least 10 times. We spend a wonderful long day together and had so much fun before he went back to his hotel. That made me so confident, that now I am thinking about inviting people to my house. but I would always ask them for a photo of there passport by WhatsApp and maybe send them also a photo of my passport. 
    It is very strange, that almost no couch surfer, is giving any rough information about arrival time, wether evening or morning ore whatever??? Also a lot of people don't tell wether there are traveling by public transportation or by car., which can makes a big difference, when it comes to the location of the house.
    What I finde very confusing right now are couch surfers that are showing photos of themselves at the beach being half naked. Of course it is normal to be half naked at the beach, but I would rather see pictures of the couch surfer together with there family members and friends and well dressed! I wonder wether those pictures of men that show there upper body naked are some kind of code???…. And what about all the women (mostly from Russia) posing really really really sexy???? Is that a cultural thing I don't understand or is there something else going on??? And what about the people, that are willing to share there bed with a couch surfer. Is that normal in some parts of the world? What is going on on Couchsurfing????

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