Couchsurfing will open up a completely new side of Belarus, full of unexpected routes and encounters. If one will dare to take advantage of this way of travel, it is strongly recommended to consider the experience of seasoned hosts and guests.
Why a coach, not a hostel?
Couch-surfing is a no-brainer if you just need to spend the night before a low-cost flight with from Vilnius, Warsaw, Moscow or any other stopover on your way to Belarus and save money on hostels and hotels, without any frills.
However, there is another category of travelers who are interested in a cultural experience. Masha Shendel, a long-time couch-surfing enthusiast from Minsk, says it’s her favorite type of guests!
Why become a host in Belarus?
You see, despite the established reputation of grumpy cats, Belarusians love when new people discover our homeland.
We understand perfectly well that if a foreigner decides to venture independently, the most beautiful and surprising things will remain hidden from the traveler.
The host can describe you how the city’s transport system works, offer a café with delicious food, or even better, a café with an English menu, or take a tour around the city, depending on the interests of the guest.
How to find a host in Belarus?
The easiest way to do this is to visit couchsurfing.com. One can also search for all sorts of social networks using keywords like ‘host’ and ‘overnight stay’, but it’s not a very effective method.
How to prepare for Couchsurfing in Belarus?
Before submitting a request, you need to analyze the feedback, photos and personal information provided on the potential host page. Even if there are negative reviews, read them — you can always DM the host and ask what happened and why.
Information about what you can and cannot do in the hostel’s apartment should also be included in the profile, as well as photos of your potential bedding. If you are provided with all these details, the risks of stumbling upon unpleasant situations tend to zero.
After the host has confirmed that he or she is ready to receive you, ask about all the things you are worried about, like the routes from your place of residence, public transport operating hours, etc.
What about the documents?
Any foreigner must have a registration. Not every host can help with this, and some just don’t want to bother. Therefore, you should clarify in advance whether the host can take care of your registration, or, ideally, solve this issue yourself.
How to pay for host’s services?
It is not customary for couch-surfers to pay for the services with money, but you can always express your gratitude to the host with the soulful conversations or souvenirs.
Text by Anton Ananich