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5 Couch-Surfing Etiquette Tips for Startup Travel

When money is tight, staying with a friend or colleague is a nice alternative to booking a hotel. Here are some things to keep in mind.

Planning to cut your costs by staying with colleagues on your next business trip? The rules of basic etiquette still apply. Here are five tips from Emily Post's great-granddaughter, Lizzie Post, writing in the Wall Street Journal, on how to make sure you get invited back. 

1. Keep it short and sweet. 

Regardless of how well you know them, don't overstay your welcome. Post reminds us that "Fish and houseguests stink after three days." 

2. Bring only the essentials.

To be a good houseguest, pack only as much as you deem necessary for your trip.  When you're staying in someone's home, the extra clutter can start to feel imposing.

3. Make it seem like you were never there.

Post advises houseguests to "leave no trail behind," meaning that you should always clean up after yourself. This may seem like a given, but over time we may start to take the adage "mi casa es su casa" to heart. You don't want to inadvertently offend your hosts. 

4. Let them decide how much time you spend together. 

Don't go overboard with suggesting activities that you can all do together. Your hosts have lives, too, and their weekend plans may (or may not) include you. 

5. Always leave a thank-you note. 

Post hammers home the importance of leaving a thank you note, and also suggests that you give a thoughtful gift. Try to tailor the gift to your hosts' interests. Nothing says "thanks" quite like a bouquet of flowers, or a coffee table book that satisfies their nerdy passion for rare birds. 

What are your budget traveling tips? 

Last updated: Jul 17, 2014


Zoë Henry is an editorial assistant at Inc. She also serves as managing editor of the independent online literary journal Atticus Review.

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