Before http://www.couchsurfing.com came along we used to call if sofa surfing. It would have made for a much better name. This guide was written before internet hospitality sites really took off but the principles still apply. So here is a guide to making yourself at home…in other people’s homes.
There are all kinds of advantages to staying with people; apart from saving money, you also get to hang out with someone who’s from the area and who can show you around town and give you insights that you just wouldn’t get while getting drunk with the Ozzies back at the hostel. Spending time with a local you might find work opportunities, romance or just meet a whole bunch of people who will trust you because you’re staying with their friend.
There’s a definite art to being a guest. At first you’re something of a novelty, like a roaming circus performer come to entertain all of your host’s friends. Soon though, when they find that you’ve been plundering their favourite biscuits or running up a phone bill, you may find that hints about your departure progress to the point that they change the locks and throw your bags into the street.
But if you want to stay on the road for any length of time then the hotel or hostel bills will eat away at your budget faster than anything else. How then does the canny traveller leave his host always wanting more, more, more?
To learn the answers read on… Just remember that you’re karmically bound to be a damn good host when you finally get your act together to rent your own roof over your head.