Help

Couchers.org Help Page

We are currently working on a guide that more thoroughly addresses questions about couch surfing, Couchers.org, and how to use the website. In the meantime, you can find answers to the most commonly asked questions below.

Last updated: April 25, 2022.

Community values

Safety

Helping Couchers.org

Using the Couchers.org website

My Profile/Account

Interacting with other people on Couchers.org

Do you have a question that is missing from this list? Email feedback@couchers.org to let us know! You can also visit the forum at community.couchers.org to see if someone has asked the question before or to propose a change.


What is couch surfing?

Couch surfing is non-transactional hospitality that is focused on meaningful interactions between the guest and the host rather than the accommodations and amenities.

When you are a couch surfer, you are either hosting someone for free, or staying with someone for free, or meeting up with a local to hang out together. Before agreeing to meet, the host and guest communicate plans and availability during the visit so it is clear what to expect. Couch surfing is NOT for flirting, dating, romance, or sex. It is for making new friends from all around the world, sharing experiences and learning from one another.

A brief summary of the Community Guidelines

Below is a brief summary of the guidelines (rules) that all users must agree to after signing up for a Couchers account:

  1. Be kind to one another

Couchers.org is an inclusive community where people of all cultures and backgrounds come together. Treat everyone with mutual respect and dignity.

  1. This is not a dating app

Couchers.org is NOT for dating, romance, or sex. Harassment or or using the platform for the purpose of flirting, dating, seeking out romantic or sexual partners, or for engaging in sexual activities will result in an immediate ban.

  1. Be safe and sensible

Read profiles, references, and resources. Report any inappropriate content or behavior.

  1. Keep money out of it

Keep things non-transactional. Don't exchange money while staying or hosting. Couchers.org is about learning, experiences, and getting to know people.

Please note that these rules are in addition to the Terms of Service that all users must agree to. A violation of the Terms of Service or Community Guidelines may result in a suspension or permanent ban.

Is it okay to look for a date, romance, or sex on Couchers.org?

NO! It is forbidden to use Couchers.org for the purpose of flirting, dating, or seeking out romance or sex. Violation of this rule is grounds for an immediate and permanent ban.

Can I add anyone as a friend?

You should only add someone as a friend if you know them in real life -- either from interacting with each other in person or online at a virtual event. Do not add someone as a friend if you have not interacted with them in person or at a virtual event.

Do I have to host someone? Is it required that I be a host sometime?

No. You do not have to host someone, and you do not have to set your hosting status to "can host" or "maybe can host". You are also not required to meet up with anyone. However, it is recommended that you consider opening up your home to hosting or setting your status as willing to meet up as soon as you are comfortable and your life situation allows.

Can I ask for money, gifts, donations, services or work when interacting with other people on Couchers.org?

No. Keep things non-transactional. Don't exchange money, goods, work, donations, or services while staying, hosting, or meeting up. Couchers.org is about learning, experiences, and getting to know people.

Can I create an event that requires payment?

It is forbidden to create, host, share, or promote an event that solicits donations, tips, required payments, or is for-profit.

  • It is okay to ask for "gas money" or transportation costs if the event involves necessary transportation that is associated with a significant cost. However, neither the Couchers event organizer nor any associates of the organizer may profit from the transportation costs directly or indirectly.
  • It is okay to make event attendees aware of a "cover charge" or "entrance fee" associated with a public venue where the event is held. However, neither the Couchers event organizer nor any associates of the organizer may profit from the cover charge directly or indirectly.
  • It is ok to ask attendees to cover their own food and drink costs at an event, as long as neither the Couchers event organizer nor any associates of the organizer may profit from these costs.
  • It is okay to ask attendees to bring food or drinks to an event (for example: at a "potluck").

Is it okay to advertise or promote my business, organization, or cause on Couchers.org?

No. It is a violation of the Terms of Service to use the platform to advertise, promote, or advocate for a business, organization or cause. With that said, it is okay to mention your approval/disapproval of, interest in, or involvement with a business, organization, or cause, as long as that is not the primary purpose of your profile, message, or event.

How do I report someone or something that violates the Community Guidelines or Terms of Use (ToU)?

Option 1

  1. Click on the flag symbol (located below their profile photo or profile circle if they have no photo).
  2. Select the reason from the dropdown menu.
  3. Fill out the form with further details (OPTIONAL, but very helpful!)
  4. Click "Submit".

Option 2

Send an email to safety@couchers.org. If you send an email, be sure to include the following information:

  1. Your username.
  2. The username of the person you are reporting (or a link to their profile).
  3. Provide as many details about what happened as possible.

Note: If you're not sure if something is a violation or not, it is better to just report it. The support team will review the report before any action is taken.

How do I reach support if I have a question?

What are some things I should think about before responding to a request?

You should read the person's entire profile and read through their references. References can give you an idea of what others think about the person. It is also very important to communicate thoroughly with the person before accepting their request. Be sure to ask any for any information that is missing from their profile or request message. For example, if their profile is empty or missing a photo, it is okay to ask them to fill out their profile and/or upload a photo before accepting their request.

It is also good to ask the person when they will arrive and when they will leave, why they are coming, and who is coming with them. It is helpful to let them know what your schedule looks like and how available you will be to interact with them. Don't feel obligated to provide a bunch of details or private information, but you should let your guest(s) know about any important information about you, your home, and your schedule that is relevant to their visit.

Keep communication on the Couchers.org platform as much as possible. Use common sense when reviewing requests and profiles and especially when providing personal information like your address and schedule. Keep in mind that you are never obligated to accept a request or provide a reason for why you cannot accept. If you decline a request, the person will not be able to message you again unless you add them as a friend. If you accept a request but change your mind, you can reject a request up until the start date of the request by clicking the "reject" button at the bottom of the request.

How do I donate money to Couchers.org?

Visit couchers.org/donate to make your donation.

How do I report a bug? (a problem with the website)

  1. Click on the red button in the upper right-hand corner of the website.
  2. Click on "report a technical problem".

How do I give feedback or share an idea?

How do I volunteer to help Couchers.org?

  1. Visit www.couchers.org/volunteer
  2. Fill out the form, then click submit.
  3. Someone will reach out to you. Generally you will receive a response within 1 week, but in some cases it may take longer. If you do not receive a response after a week, please email volunteers@couchers.org

Where can I download the Couchers logo or wordmark?

You can use our logo and wordmark when organizing Couchers events or promoting Couchers. Our logo and wordmark are available in various formats. You can download our logo and wordmark here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1LpArrYWQT94KMAfpX2iF5wNJn8r19K7p

Our wordmark is the font "Manslava" and our primary font is "Ubuntu". The primary colors we use are the orange "#E47701" and teal "#00A398".

How do I reset my password?

  1. Visit https://couchers.org/password-reset
  2. Enter the email address you used for your account and click the submit button.
  3. An email will be sent to the email address with a link to reset your password. If you do not see the email within 5 minutes, check your "spam" filter and "promotions", "social", or "bulk" folders of your email account to make sure the email did not get filtered out.
  4. Click on the link in the email and you will be taken to a page to reset your password.

How do I change my password?

  1. Log into your account.
  2. Click on the menu button in the upper-right corner.
  3. Click "account settings".
  4. Scroll down to "Change password".
  5. Enter your old password where it says "old password".
  6. Enter in your new password where it says "new password".
  7. Enter the same new password again where it says "confirm password".
  8. Click "submit".

How do I change my age?

If you mistyped your birthday when you created your account, you can email support@couchers.org and request that it be updated. Please be sure to provide your username and your real birthday including day, month and year.

How do I change my display name or username?

It is not possible to change your username, but you can change your display name by following these steps:

  1. Visit your profile page.
  2. Click on the orange "edit" button.
  3. At the top where it says "Name" you can delete your old display name and type in your real name.
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click "save".

How do I change the gender displayed on my profile?

Send your request via email to support@couchers.org with your username or email associated with your account.

How do I delete my account?

  1. Click on the menu button in the upper-right corner.
  2. Click "account settings".
  3. Scroll down to "Delete account".
  4. Enter your username in the "Username confirmation" box to confirm you are okay with permanently deleting your account. Please note that we cannot restore an account that has been deleted.
  5. Enter the reason you want to delete your account. We are always trying to improve Couchers.org and we appreciate any feedback!
  6. Click on the "Submit" button.

Where can I see my friends list?

  1. Click "Profile".
  2. Click "My Connections".

Where can I change my account settings?

  1. Click "Profile".
  2. Click "Edit".
  3. Click "Account Settings" at the top of the screen.

How are "response rate" and "response time" calculated on my profile?

The purpose of the response rate and response time on your profile is to give people an idea on how likely it is that they will receive a response to their hosting request and how long it might take to receive a response. It also influences where you appear in search results. If you respond very quickly to hosting requests you will appear higher than someone who replies after many days. Try to respond to hosting requests as soon as possible, but definitely within two days!

Response rate is the proportion of requests that received a response. A “response” is when you click the accept or reject button, or send a message in response to a hosting request. The categories are:

  • Not sure yet (Insufficient data): < 3 responses
  • Low: response rate <= 33%
  • Sometimes: response rate <= 66%
  • Usually: response rate <= 90%
  • Almost always: response rate > 90%

Response time is the duration between when the hosting request was sent and the first response by the host. If the host didn’t respond yet or at all, then response time counts as “infinite”. "Response time" is based on the 33rd and 66th percentiles of your first responses to requests. So if a third of your fastest responses were in less than 1 hour, and the third of your slowest responses were more than 20 hours, then your response time will be reported as “1 hour to 20 hours”.

How do I invite someone to Couchers.org?

  • Share the following link with your friends: www.couchers.org
  • We are building an invite feature that will make it even easier to invite your friends!

How do I share my profile with someone?

  1. Visit your profile page.
  2. Right-click on your profile photo and select "copy link" or "copy link address".
  3. Paste the link wherever you want to share it.

Keep in mind: The person will only be able to see your profile if they have an account and are logged in at couchers.org!

Where can I find search filters?

  1. Click on "Map Search".
  2. Click the "Filters" button at the top of the screen.
  3. Enter the information required for the desired filter(s).
  • Note: If you enter a location in the "Near location" filter you must click the search symbol and then select the location.
  1. Click "apply".

Where can I find discussion boards for my local area?

  1. Click "Dashboard".
  2. If you do not see your community, click "Browse all communities".
  3. Click through the regions and locate your community.
  4. Click on the name of the community.
  5. Click the "Discussions"tab.
  • Note: If you do not see your community, you can create your community by clicking "Dashboard", then "Start your own local community", fill out the form, and submit it.

Can I message anyone I want?

You can message anyone on the platform. However, please keep in mind our Community Guidelines and values when you message someone. Treat people with respect and dignity, and do not spam or harass other users.

How can I leave a reference for someone?

  • After hosting or staying with someone

  1. Click "Messages".
  2. Click "hosting" or "surfing" (depending on which type of reference you are leaving).
  3. Click on the request you want to leave a reference for.
  4. Click the "Write reference" button.
  • A friend

  1. On your friend’s profile, click on "References".

  2. Click on "Write Reference".

    Note: You must have sent or received a friend request, which was also confirmed, before you can leave a reference for a friend.

  • A stranger or acquaintance

    Currently you cannot leave a reference for someone you are not friends with. However, no matter what the situation is, you can always report the person or email safety@couchers.org.

Where are hangouts, public trips, groups, and favorites?

These features have not been released yet. However, we do plan on releasing these features (and more) in the future. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please discuss them in our forum!

How do I send a request?

  1. Visit a person’s profile.

  2. Click "Request".

  3. Fill out your request and click "Send".

    • Make sure you provide detailed information, such as: why you are visiting, why you chose them as a host, what you will be doing during your time there, how much you plan to interact with your host, who is coming with you (if applicable), and when you plan to arrive and leave.

How do I reply to a request?

  1. Click "Messages".

  2. Click the request you want to respond to.

  3. Type your response to the request.

    • Be sure to ask any for any information that is missing from their request message that you would like to know (eg: When they will arrive and when they will leave, why they are coming, and who is coming with them) and let them know what your schedule looks like.
  4. Decide how you would like to respond:

    • If you prefer not to answer "Accept", "Maybe", or "Decline", then just click "Send". Please note that this will only send your message, but it will not provide any of the "Accept", "Maybe", or "Decline" responses.
    • If you know how you would like to respond, click the button "Accept", "Maybe" or "Decline". When you click one of those buttons, your message will be sent.
    • If you decline the request, you will not be able to message the person unless you visit their profile and send a message to them from there.