Your Guide To Safe Couchsurfing.
It’s sad to read about the couchsurfer in Nepal that was murdered.
A lot of people are out there saying it’s not safe, but the thing to take away here is that nothing in life is safe.
She could’ve been murdered in a 5* resort, at a hostel, on a bus…. You can’t just blame Couchsurfing.
I’ve seen a lot of “that’s why you should stay with an Airbnb” comments lately since the couchsurfers death in Nepal. I got news for you guys: Airbnb isn’t any more or less safe.
The most important thing when Couchsurfing is to do your research, trust your gut and do everything possible to ensure your own safety. This isn’t saying that the couchsurfer was being irresponsible. Remember: being alive on planet Earth in general is a risk for death by murder.
Here is what I followed when selecting a Couchsurfing host:
Only sent requests to other female couchsurfers, or a couple if that was the next best option.
*This mostly applies if you’re a female.
I’m a female. I’m not assuming every male out there is a rapist or that females aren’t capable of horrific things. I went with the notion that I was lowering the rape chances by staying with another female.
I don’t know how men can ensure their own safety with this. I have hosted a few men when I had my own house and had couchsurfed through Europe and felt comfortable with it. I had positive references and so did they. I met them, they seemed normal and they were.
Only Couchsurf with verified hosts.
Couchsurfing.org gives you the option to become verified. Not that slapping down a credit card number to verify you are who you say you are is ensuring safety. But common sense tells me that if someone wanted to murder and or rape me, they probably wouldn’t verify who they are.
Meet your host/s, preferably in public .
This is a no brainer. But if you get a bad feeling about them, bail. There’s always a hotel or hostel somewhere around where you’re at. Better safe than sorry, right?
Check your host’s reviews and references.
Yes Couchsurfing has a review section for each account. Guests can write about their experience. Generally it’s a good sign if there are good reviews. Other people have stayed with this person and departed alive.
Message back and forth with them for a little bit.
Find out a little about who they are before you stay with them. Ask questions, get to know them.
Get their phone number before.
In case you get lost in their city.
Tell friends or people back home where and who you are staying with.
Hell I hardly leave my house without telling someone where I’m going.
Have a backup plan.
Have a bad gut feeling about the potential host? They start making odd requests? Stay somewhere else. Be prepared to sleep in a hostel or hotel.