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Wisdom: Couch Surfing

Couch Surfing Words & Photo: Ian Sansom

We know how it is. You want to travel the best ski resorts in the world without having to pay for hotels. If you’re lucky, you’ve got friends – or at least friends of friends – living in the sickest spots, and these guys have said you should come and stay. Grab that opportunity with both hands! Thing is, there’s a code of conduct to successful couch surfing that not only shows respect for the people who have been good enough to put you up, but should also help you get invited back another time.

1. Be polite – whoever has invited you to stay is welcoming you into their home – a few manners cost nothing.

2. Bring supplies from home – Brit foodstuffs are either unavailable or super expensive in resort, and we’ve seen people reduced to tears of joy when being presented with a jar of Marmite mid-season after theirs ran out in December.
Favourites include: cheddar cheese, Hob Nobs, PG Tips, Dairy Milk, Jaffa Cakes and the all-important Marmite. Ask before you fly.

3. Offer to help. If there’s washing up that needs doing, do it. Rubbish needs taking out? It’s all you, my friend. Be a good houseguest.

4. Contribute – there’s nothing more annoying than somebody who just takes, so first thing’s first: make sure that you buy a bunch of groceries when you arrive. Basics are best – milk, butter, cereals, toilet rolls, that kind of thing. Beers are the international currency, so spend up.

5. Be cool – in a season environment, people live closely with each other for months on end and a new person in the group can upset the balance. The more invisible you are, the less hassle you’ll cause. Don’t sit around the house all day smoking out. Go shredding, ya bum!

6. Keep it on the down low. If you have been invited to stay, that means just YOU. Don’t show up with a couple of dirtbag friends – unless your hosts have EXPRESSLY said that it is cool. Assumption makes an ASS out of U and ME.

7. Stay tidy – when you get up in the morning, tidy all your shit away, keep your kit in order and as out of sight as possible.

8. Keep it pleasant – don’t just raise a leg when you’re watching TV and let one rip – it’s disgusting you moron. If you have a stinky ass, learn the benefits of air freshener – or at failing that two lit matches (to dissipate the smell when you take a toilet break).

9. Say thanks. Take your hosts out when it’s time to leave – you don’t have to go super flashy, but dropping €50 on a meal is way cheaper than a week in a hotel room, and is a welcome goodbye present.

10. Return the favour. If you finally kick down for you own spot in the mountains, make sure that your ex-hosts know all about it and that they are welcome to come and crash. If you live in a city near an airport, invite them to come and sample the delights of your manor the next time they are passing through.

Happy surfing!

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