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How do I address the host?

How long should my message be?

How can I increase my chances of being noticed?

  • This is more of a meta-question for future readers. I will be posting my own answer shortly. – JonathanReez Supports Monica Feb 3 '15 at 12:24
  • A lot of this is broad - it's different depending on what you're after, and subjective - some people might suggest an essay about yourself, while others may say ask about the other person. I see the intent of the question, but am concerned about its format :/ – Mark Mayo Supports Monica Feb 3 '15 at 13:05
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    Consider that (over-simplifying for effect) one person may say 'your message should be under 200 words' and another 'over 400 words', how would you accept one as an answer? Remember, Q&A site, not forum :/ – Mark Mayo Supports Monica Feb 3 '15 at 13:06
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    How can I increase my chances of being noticed? -- be female. – Flimzy Feb 3 '15 at 15:47
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    I think this is a good question, in spirit. How can we make it less subjective to save it from closure? – Flimzy Feb 3 '15 at 18:22
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This answer refers not only to the couchsurfing.org site, but to the plethora of other sites that provide the same function. Among these are gumtree.com and london.craigslist.co.uk and jewgether.org Other sites will undoubtedly join the social phemomenon first uncovered by couchsurfing.org.

There is no need for a grand opus in such matters, but it is important to identify yourself and provide at least some background information about you and the purpose of your journey. And you need to be specific about your contemplated over night stays...

You can use this as a template...

Hello ==appropriate salutation==,

I am contacting you because you are identified on ==web site== as a couch-surfing host in ==name of city==. I expect to be in ==name of city== on ==arrival date== and remain for ==number of days==, hence this email.

Briefly, I am ==your nationality=, ==age==, ==gender==, ==occupation== and visiting ==name of city== because ==why you are there== and will need a place to stay.

Would you please let me know if these dates are available via return email. Specifically, I would arrive at your location at ==time and date==, and these are my inclusive dates: ==list of overnights==.

Kind regards, ==Your full name==

Naturally, the ASL part is optional, but recommended in order to avoid any awkward situations upon arrival. Overall, keep it brief, professional and to the point. Be sure that the host understands all of your contemplated over night stays.

When you get a reply, you can then begin negotiating rates and other matters if needed.

NOTE: I will check out fixing the tag so that it refers to the broader social phenomenon of hospitality rather than a proprietary site.

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    The ASL is always included in your profile. Repeating it in the surfing request makes me think they've never bothered to use CS, and I'm likely to reject their request out of hand. I think this sentiment is strong and growing on Couchsurfing, as they have become a for-profit company which, in the minds of many old-timers, has diluted the value of the site, and attracted a lot of freeloaders who aren't as interested in the old community values. – Flimzy Feb 3 '15 at 16:26
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    When you get a reply, you can then begin negotiating rates -- The rates are pre-defined: FREE. It seems obvious to me you've never used CS. I have to wonder why you thought it would be a good idea to answer. -1 – Flimzy Feb 3 '15 at 16:28
  • The question asks specifically about the couchsurfing site, and it is tagged specifically for the couchsurfing site. – Flimzy Feb 3 '15 at 17:12
  • It says "on Couchsurfing." That makes it clear it's refering to a specific location/site, not a general concept. The tag refers to the specific site. The other sites don't use that term, and if they did they would be in clear violation of trademark. I know that Craigslist simply talks about "housing." To my (limited) knowledge of gumtree, they do something similar. Now that I've proven all of my comments accurate, and yours inaccurate, do you want to continue? – Flimzy Feb 3 '15 at 17:43
  • I have provided evidence why I believe your answer is wrong: It would encourage most legitimate CSer to reject the request out of hand, for appearing to be from a freeloader. Naturally, this is my opinion, and not an objective criticism, but I think it's a very legitimate one. My bigger problem with your answer is that it doesn't answer the question which is specifically about CouchSurfing. – Flimzy Feb 3 '15 at 17:58

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