A fair number of you reading this must have probably resolved to become travellers this year. You want to see the world, become a better person and all that jazz. And, for sure, you’ll manage a few trips before your fast drying bank accounts and skyrocketing Credit Card bills break your resolve.
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But, don’t let your shabby Savings Account dishearten the explorer within you. Give couch-surfing and homestay accommodation a shot. Replacing hotel accommodation with homestays is the fastest and surest way to reduce your travel expenses. Make sure you don’t forget your Travel Insurance though.
If you are new to couch-surfing, you need to be mindful of certain protocols. For example, giving your host a nice thank you gift. Here are a few other things you must keep in mind to avoid being thrown out on the streets by your host.
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1. Be Thoughtful
Going to meet your hosts empty-handed is an absolutely no-no. It’s imperative that you bring them a gift. And, it would be really nice if you could put some thought into it. It doesn’t need to be anything expensive.
If your host is an avid reader, you can take books. You can even add a hand-written note to it for a more personal touch. If your home town is famous for something, like say tea or coffee, you could take some for them. These gifts don’t cost much and are warm ways of showing your appreciation.
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2. Lend A Hand
On certain occasions you might find your hosts willing to treat you to breakfast. Your chances of getting good breakfast may be directly proportional to the gift you take. Nah! Just kidding. In any case, if you find your hosts moving saucers and pans in the kitchen for you, go ahead and lend them a hand. That should keep them from sneezing into your food on the sly.
If you pride yourself on your culinary skills, you can cook a meal for your hosts. Perhaps they’ll forgive you for not bringing wine as gift. If you are the altruistic type, you could take your hosts to dinner as well.
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3. How About Other Household Chores?
If you think you’ll be more of disaster in the kitchen than of actual help, then consider assisting with something else. Run a few errands for your nice hosts. The point is to not be a pain in the wrong place.
Your hosts should wish that you’d stay a little longer and not think about wishing you away. If your hosts are new parents there is no better offer than to babysit their child. Let them have a night out on the town for once.
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4. Think Outside The Box
Getting help with household chores is relief enough, but don’t stop at that. Keep your hosts in mind even when you are out and about. At the end of the day you are returning to their home, and you will most likely be welcomed with a nice hot meal.
It would be nice if you can add something to the dining table. Did you stop by a bakery sometime during the day? Pick up a box of brownies for your host. Who doesn’t like brownies? If not food, you can bring back something nice for the house – a simple wall hanging or a pretty wind chime.
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5. Let Your Company Be Memorable
You may be tempted to take off before first light and return late at night so you have to spend little time making small talk with your hosts. That’s awfully rude. You might not have much in common with them, but you can do a little better than just making small talk.
Tell them about your travel plans, how your day went etc. They could be good guides too. Ask them to show you around if they have the time, or tell you about places only a local would know. But don’t get so carried away that you have them stay up late. Be sensitive to their cues and retire to your room.
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6. Don’t Let Your Host Spend Money on You If You Can’t Reciprocate
You may be low on cash and you might be tempted to take up all offers of free transport and sightseeing. But think before you say yes to your host for everything. Don’t let your hosts pay for your holiday.
If they offer you their car, make sure you pay for the fuel. If you can’t afford that opt for a more affordable means of transport. If a certain location is beyond your means then don’t go there. Go only as far as your own dime will take you. If you can’t afford anything then wake up from your dream, go to work and make some money.
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Meanwhile, apply for a Travel/ Airlines Credit Card. All those rewards, benefits and points earned on flight and hotel bookings will take you places for a good price. And, you don’t need to go far to apply for a card. Just click on the link below and you will have a host of options to choose from.