How To Be A Good Couch Surfer

If you surf you will travel. Whether it’s in this country or the far ends of the planet you’ll meet people on these travels and form bonds. Some are temporary and involve mixing your moist genetic code with each other for fun. Others are more tangible: those fellow surfers you share waves, beers and good times with that become mates. So it’s inevitable that you’ll be offered to crash at a mate’s house while on the road. It’s a simple courtesy that can be a lifesaver. Couch surfing is a fact of life … if you are a decent human.

To ensure your welcome and that for others after you stays open make sure you do it right. Being a good guest is a skill which needs to be learnt … fast.

  • Suss the situation asap. Is there a partner/wife/husband/kids? This is a major thing, what’s cool in a single guy’s pad is not cool in a family home. Respect and consideration are key.
  • Stay as long as was agreed. Most couch surfs are a night or two. If it’s a longer stint then you really need to make sure you win ‘House Guest Of The Year’. You want to leave the hosts with a happy tear in their eye as you leave so sad are they that your glittering and easy company is going.
  • Don’t be a sponge. Turn up with bread, milk and a bottle of wine/beers. Even if it’s not needed it lays out your intention not to be food hoover. That consideration we mentioned earlier is key here. Help out with groceries. Try and feed yourself as much as possible. Of course it’s inevitable your hosts will offer you meals but don’t take the piss. You’ve got free digs so shout them a good takeaway or take them out for dinner. A cheeky Nando’s never broke the bank. Also learn how to wash up or master the dark of loading a dish washer. Helping out spreads the load and earns you brownie points.
  • Be hygienic. Keep yourself clean and smelling good. A shower every other day is no big deal and always deodorise. Bring your own towel and leave the bathroom immaculate. You want your hosts to wonder if you ever use the bathroom. So that means no skids in the pan, floaters or stenches that would fell a frail person. The good old lighter trick works if you’ve got a rank, odour producing dump, a quick flame will burn your noxious methane bum-burps. As does going for a flush the second you’ve dropped the main load out the bomb doors. Wetsuit wise follow your hosts lead on washing/hanging.
  • Keep your language respectable. Shouldn’t need saying but especially if there are kids around. No mother wants to have to try and deprogram their child from saying ‘sick hunt’ because they picked it up from dad’s visiting surf buddy. Also avoid the sensitive subjects like religion and politics. You may be Richard Dawkins biggest fan but everyone is entitled to their beliefs. Even if you consider them mental.
  • Sleep tight. If you’ve been lucky enough to score a guest bedroom then keep it spotless. Don’t be a sloth. You’re here to surf so make sure you’re off and out early. Drag your host if possible. They’ll thank you for it. Don’t hang out all day watching Jeremy Kyle. Even if the surf goes bung explore the local area. If you are sleeping on the couch sleep when the hosts go to bed and be up before they are. Bring a sleeping bag. Good guests don’t turn their host’s lounge into their bedroom.
  • Be polite. As with language make sure your actions are beyond reproach. No flirting with your host’s partner. Down that road a chinning lies. So eyes front soldier. Don’t be stupidly polite though, if someone offers you a cup of tea they shouldn’t need to have a lengthy debate with you to convince you it really is no bother.
  • Don’t get pissed. Simple. The two drink rule applies. Two glasses of wine or two beers gets you a nice buzz on and keeps the conversation lively. You’re here to surf so waking up with a brain dehydrated to the size of a walnut and scrambled guts is not a good idea. If you dig chemical recreation then it goes without saying that shit doesn’t float when you’re being a guest.
  • Leave well. Suss out what is favoured in the wine department. Leave a bottle that your hosts will dig and maybe some chocolates to say thank you. And of course offer your couch/floor space in return should the need ever arise. Once on your merry way drop a text when you’ve hit your next destination thanking them for the hospitality.

That’s about it. It ain’t rocket science. Be considerate. Be funny. Be warm. Be nice. Be you. Leave your hosts thinking the sun really does shine out of your bomb doors and eager for you to swing by another time when the surf is cooking.

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