Here are some of my tips for staying safe while couchsurfing:
- If it's your first time, try it with a friend (some hosts will have space for more than one traveller).
- If you're a girl, stay with girls.
- Check for verifications on a host's profile- have they linked back to their Facebook profile and had their address verified?
- Message back and forth with a potential host, you may already get the creep vibe from this or even just sense you two have nothing in common.
- Meet in public- I never went straight to someone's place, we always met by a landmark where there were lots of people milling around.
- Get a phone number- it's also like another form of verification.
- READ THE REVIEWS! This is THE MOST IMPORTANT tip. You want a host to have positive, raving reviews and lots of them. Also, make sure reviews are by people from all over the world and from a mix of genders.
- If you arrive and sense that things aren't right (trust your gut, like the first cardinal rule of backpacking), get out. Don't worry about manners or being politically correct.