It is kind of ironic. After I had posted my good impression on Couchsurfing (read here), I had my first bad experience of hosting people so far. This is worse than the suddenly-missing host I had in Milan, Italy. I don’t want to explain any detail about what had happened to me when I hosted this person. But one thing for sure, this experience I had is a lesson for me and for you who wants to be in someone’s couch or host other person. Both friends and “strangers” from Couchsurfing.
In my country, we know this “etika bertamu” or in English: the ethics of being a guest. I think other countries have these types of unwritten ethics also. The most important ethic is: respect your host and the rules of the house.
When we are planning our trip, it is better to question what are we going to do in that city and where are we going to stay. Of course, staying at someone’s couch is a good option to save our travel money! But as we have known already, every choice we make has plus & minus points. Staying at someone’s couch is different than staying at a hostel or hotel. Someone who let us crash on his/her couch surely do not want us to pay, he offer us his hospitality. Not a hostel! If we stay in a hostel/hotel, we surely will have a full control of everything. We can go and back whenever we like. Even going back to the hostel at 3AM in the morning is OK!
For me, I sleep before midnight because I have to pray before the sun rises and I always explain that to my guests. I had several guests who did’t have to pray in early morning then I tried not to wake my guests up when I prayed because I knew that they were tired after strolling around the city. I don’t expect anything from my guests except that they need to respect the rules of my couch/house.
Your host is a host. Not a hostel keeper who can open the door for you whenever you want to let you in.
Each host and house has different rules. For example, always asking permission if we want to use our host’s stuff, asking them if they are okay with our plan to leave and enter their house, and so on. I think you all already known what to do since I guess most of you have been in the position of being both a host or a surfer before.
So that’s all! I learn and reflect a lot from this experience. I also question myself, “was I a good guest?” I hope it won’t happen again in the future even when I become the guest later on.
No offence and best regards,
Taken from Couchsurfing’s website
Couchsurfing’s Hosting Tips:
- Read the traveler’s profile carefully
- Be clear about your expectations and house rules
- Open your home to travelers and share your life
- Read the host’s profile and send them a thoughtful, personalized message
- Be clear about your expectations and plans
- Be a respectful guest and stay curious