You have just spent the third hour sending couch requests on Couchsurfing. And here’s another person who declined your message”. It’s already tenth one – with no answer! You have enough and you start thinking Couchsurfing isn’t that great as everybody says. Maybe it’s better to look for a hostel.
Or maybe you are doing something wrong.
Couch request, a message you send to your potential host can’t be thoughtless. It has to be personal and straight from the heart 🙂 Even though more and more people start to treat Couchsurfing simply as a way to find free accommodation or even a date for a night, that’s still not its purpose. The idea is meeting people on the way or inviting others in order to share each others’ experiences and culture. If you’re new to the whole idea of Couchsurfing, I encourage you to read this Couchsurfing guide.
In popular touristic places, hosts can get over ten requests.
Per day. Every day.
Among all these messages they try to find people who treat Couchsurfing the way it should be treated. People who really want to meet and spend time together. The only way they can do it is through your message and your profile. And the message is more important – it’s your chance to make a good first impression.
I started my Couchsurfing adventure writing terrible requests to people in Stockholm. They looked more like a question if this hotel room is free, with a short explanation why I like this hotel more than others. With numerous declines coming I started thinking that something must be wrong here. I started changing my message. And I found the right way to do it, finally 🙂
How to write a good couch request on Couchsurfing?
1. First of all – read the host’s profile and check if you want to meet this person and if you can get along! Sure, some people like to write A LOT. You don’t need to be very focused on every sentence. But get to know this person as much as you can.
2. Start with a personal greeting, use the host’s name. “Hello”, “hi there” – forget it. It really discourages hosts.
3. Introduce yourself and all your travel companions
4. Tell the host something about your trip. Where do you come from and where are you going. Is it a one-year trip around the world or just a weekend getaway to see a new city?
5. Write a few words about yourself and your travel companions. The host wants to know who his guests are. That’s how you enable him to assess whether he wants to meet you or not.
6. Mention something from the host’s profile as a proof that you’ve actually read it. It’s very important. In their profiles hosts often ask to use a specific word or information – don’t miss it. Tell the host what got you interested about him, what would you like to talk about. Do you have something in common?
A good couch request on Couchsurfing – message example
The request I present to you below was accepted by a popular host with many references who uses Couchsurfing for many years. The answer was: „I’d love to host you and Adam! Thanks for a great request” 🙂
Hi Jeremy – host’s name!
My name is Dorota, I come from Poland. Together with my fiance Adam we are coming to the USA for the trip of our lives and we would love to use this opportunity to meet you. 🙂
(3 – who am I, where I am from and with whom I arrive)
We arrive to Los Angeles in two weeks (alreadyy!! 🙂 ) and firstly we’re going for a trip around California – Kings Canyon, Sequoia, Yosemite National Park. From there we’ll head east towards Flagstaff and then the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Bryce and Zion. Our trip will last a month. After that time Adam goes back to Poland and I’m staying one month more to volunteer (WWOOF).
(4 – shortly about our trip)
A few words about ourselves – we live in Tychy, a city in southern Poland. I work in a Swiss corporation, doing an office job. I love traveling, I write a travel blog. My goal is to volunteer on every continent (except for Antarctica – it’s too cold for such chilly people like me 🙂 ). I volunteered in Russia two years ago and I loved the experience. Adam is an IT guy and he takes care of linux servers (can’t tell you more, I don’t understand his job myself 🙂 ).
(5 – information about me and Adam which let the host get to know us better. I also shared an information about myself which I think might get the host interested)
We love animals so we would be happy to give your cat a pat. We have two cats ourselves. I am very happy about the trip but saying goodbye to the cats for so long will be hard! They’ll stay at Adam’s parents place so they’ll be perfectly fine but still… 🙂
(6 – That’s a sign I have read his profile. I noticed he has a cat. It’s something we have in common so I share my feelings about leaving the cats behind for my trip)
We are also much more into nature and hiking rather than visiting cities. We’ll be camping most of the time during our trip.
(another thing which links to his profile, he mentioned he likes nature and camping)
Let me know if the date works for you and if you think we could get along.
(I like asking the host if he thinks we could get along. That’s a sign that I don’t want a free bed but that I want us to have a good time together)
You should always remember that a good couch request doesn’t guarantee you a couch. Despite an amazing, personalized message some hosts don’t answer at all or they decline with no explanation and you might be forced to use booking.com anyway. A lot of people can’t host you at a given time, some have so many messages they just can’t keep up. But by sending such message you’ll make a great first impression. You’ll stand out in the crowd. And if a host is free, feels like hosting someone – he would rather host you than anyone else.
I wish you many amazing Couchsurfing experiences 🙂 Couchsurfing will make your trip better, you’ll gain new experiences and new friends. And you’ll learn that it is that great as everybody says.
If you have any other tips on how to write a good couch request – let me know in the comments! And if you found this post useful, use the buttons below and share it on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ or pin it on Pinterest! Thanks!