Before surfing or hosting, you need to know how to create a great Couchsurfing profile.
Writing a great Couchsurfing profile is the cornerstone of a great Couchsurfing experience. It’s your resume – both as a host and as a guest.
Your profile is your “brand,” and just like any brand, you want yours to stand out from the rest.
Creating a great Couchsurfing profile is your number one priority if you decide to use the service.
To date, we’ve hosted over 450 people and have stayed with dozens more on our travels. We’re not better Couchsurfers that anyone else.
But we do have a lot of experience.
In this post, I’m going to show you how you can create a great Couchsurfing profile that will get you hosts wherever you go and will make other CSers want to stay with you.
Your only goal here is complete honesty. It will make the experience better for both you and the person on the other side of the experience.
Creating a Couchsurfing account
When you go to Couchsurfing.com, this is what you’ll see. Nowadays, many people log into sites using Facebook. But in this post, we recognize that many people don’t like to connect using Facebook, and we don’t want to assume you even use it at all.
So, we’re going to do it old-school and use email. Click “Join with Email” to begin.
On these screens, you will enter a username and password, plus a little demographic information, like your gender and birth date.
Once you’re done here, you’ll receive an email to verify your address.
Go ahead and do that as you normally would for any site.
Getting started with editing
In the top right corner, you’ll see a “head” icon. Clicking on it exposes a drop-down where you can choose, “My Profile” to get started.
You can also select “Complete My Profile” over there on the left.
Talk about yourself
When you click “My Profile” you come to this screen. This is where the magic happens. Click the blue “Edit My Profile” button to get started.
This is the “About You” screen. And sadly, this is where a lot of people stop. I can’t tell you how many people with profiles that look like the above picture have asked me to host them.
The answer is always “No.”
Don’t stop here! This is where you’ll start to create a the great Couchsurfing profile that works. There are 10 sections you need to fill in. The first, shown below, is the easy part.
You’re just providing a few facts about yourself and saying whether or not you’re accepting guests.
Easy. It’s the next 9 parts that are the most important.
Here, you’ll talk about yourself.
Those 9 sections are:
- About Me
- Why I am on Couchsurfing
- My Interests
- My Favorite Music, Movies & Books
- One Amazing Thing I’ve Done
- Teach, Learn, Share
- What I Can Share With Hosts
- Countries I’ve Visited
- Countries I’ve Lived In
Be completely honest
Be yourself. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Your About Me page must be a true reflection of you because hosts or guests are going to use that to choose you.
The goal of Couchsurfing should never be to just get a host or to host as many people as possible. It must be to host and stay with people who want to meet you.
Tell people why you’re on Couchsurfing! Don’t just type “for free places to stay” because that’s a turn-off for most hosts. And to be honest, if that’s the only reason you’re doing it, CS is probably not for you.
It sometimes gets marketed that way, unfortunately, but better hosts and guests never just use it because it’s free. So talk about the experience you hope to get out of it from both a hosting and surfing perspective.
If you tell people you like to go to music venues on the weekend to check out good local bands, you’re going to attract people interested in that. If you’re not really interested in it, then that’s setting yourself and your guest/host up for disappointment.
In my own profile, I tell people where I stand politically, for example. While I am completely open to people who disagree with me, and have hosted many, the last person I want to host is someone who wouldn’t want to be in the same room with a liberal vegetarian!
The point: To create a great Couchsurfing profile, you must be up-front and honest. If you’re a boring person who stays at home all day, say so!
Believe it or not, there ARE people out there who look for that. Honest!
Talk about your home
This is where you tell your potential guests about where they’ll be staying. Be completely forthcoming here. If you have pets, put it in there. If you don’t want kids in your home, say so.
Do you allow smoking? It’s important to let everyone know.
In this section, you’ll be asked to enter the following information:
- Basic Information
- Sleeping arrangements
- More Details (roommates, what you share, public transport, more)
Again, the more information you can provide, the better. In our home, we offer a twin bed in our sunroom. It sleeps two. So if you come with a friend, you both stay there. We also have a couch, but we don’t use it for hosting.
The room you stay in at my place is also my office, so if I host you, you’ll need to vacate the room by 9 each weekday morning.
Guests know this before they set foot in our place.
In the “Additional Information” section, give your guests any other information you feel is relevant. On my profile, I mention that we have kick-ass Wi-Fi.
I talk about my neighborhood and what kind of restaurants there are here. We’re green here, so guests know we recycle and compost.
Things like that seem small, but they’re important. These details also protect you.
If your profile says you have three cats, and if your guest is allergic to cats, they won’t be able to leave negative feedback about it because you told them up front!
Add great photos
Photos of you: I can’t stress enough how great photos help you create a great Couchsurfing profile. I often tell people that photos are the chief way I decide if I’m going to host someone.
If you send me a couch request and all I see is a bunch of photos that look like mug shots, I will likely reject you without even reading the rest of your profile.
The best hosts, in my experience, want guests who are interesting and know how to have fun. So when I look at photos, I try to gauge that.
Are you doing interesting things? Are there photos of you at CS meet-ups? Photos of you traveling and doing things with locals are cool too!
When I look at your photos, I want to see someone who looks like someone I want to meet and get to know. I think most good hosts do, too.
Photos of your home: My own profile shows guests exactly what my place looks like and where they’ll be sleeping. I also include photos of the pool, tennis court, and fitness center.
When they get here, they will not be surprised.
So share these photos too.
Uploading your photos to your CS profile is pretty self-explanatory.
- Click the blue “Add Photo” button for an album
- Browse for an image
- Type a caption
- Click “Upload”
Verification is optional
Although my profile is 100% verified, this step is optional. However, it’s my understanding that CS is working on, or already has in place, an algorithm that puts verified profiles closer to the front in searches.
And if I am being honest, it’s well worth a few bucks, considering the experiences you’re about to have.
Couchsurfing is a very safe way to travel. It will always be based on trust and references. It’s how the site has always worked, and it’s worked very well.
Verification does serve a purpose, however. It’s one safety step that many people do look for and I think it’s worth doing for that reason alone.
Most people verify using a credit card. The address on the card must match the address in your profile.
Other verification steps include:
- Phone verification
- Verification of Government ID (e.g., driver’s license/passport)
Many people don’t think verification is necessary. I disagree. Although no system like this can ever be 100% safe, it’s a step in that direction and it’s cheap.
So do it if you can afford to. It shows hosts and surfers that you are who you say you are and you live where you say you live.
Create a Great Couchsurfing Profile: Wrap up
At the start of this article, I told you that your profile will be the cornerstone of your Couchsurfing experience.
Following the advice I’ve outlined above will ensure that you create a great Couchsurfing profile for yourself and that people will want to host or stay with you.
The final test: When you write your own profile, ask yourself if you would host the person you see in your profile. Would you stay with you based on what you see?
If the answer is no, then go back make revisions.
It’s easy to create a profile. But it’s not easy to create a great Couchsurfing profile. You have to work at it.
Sometimes, it’s hard to be completely honest about yourself. But when you do, you’ll discover that not only do you get hosted and requested more, your experiences will be far superior than if you just had an OK profile.
Couchsurfing was not created to offer free accommodations alone.
It was a vision to create a more connected travel community – one where people learned from others through quality experiences.
Take it seriously: work at it, be honest, be thorough. When you do, you’ll create a great Couchsurfing profile that helps you create memorable experiences for you and others.
Our Couchsurfing profiles
Our experience has proven that CS can be a force for good in the world. I don’t believe that is overstating anything. We’re two of the most active and well-referenced CSers in the world.
Our best friends are Couchsurfers, mostly. We’ve met so many people and had amazing experiences.
We would never have even scratched the surface if we didn’t create a great Couchsurfing profile ourselves!
Get out there and create awesome experiences for yourself!
And if you make it to Atlanta, come and visit!
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Michael is originally from Canada but now resides in Atlanta, GA with his husband, Halef, who also writes here. He is a Couchsurfing expert. Michael has traveled to over 50 countries learning how to experience more for less as he travels.