5 Tips for Being a Courteous Couch Surfer

Have you seen the new Travel Alberta commercials? They make me want to visit Alberta, and I live here. Maybe the ads have been working, because it seems a whole lot of other people want to visit, too.

Forever indebted to friends, friends of friends, family of friends, strangers and couch surfer hosts around the globe, my husband and I have adopted a “‘Mi casa es su casa”’ philosophy. Since moving to the Rockies from Ontario, we have had the chance to share that philosophy and our humble mountain abode with family and friends.

Careful what photos you post on facebook. Friends will want to come. Friends will want to stay. Photo courtesy Chloe Vance.

A drop-in here, a visit there, a weekend off, a school holiday, March Break, Christmas, Family Day Weekend, a vacation, a relocation…. It all happened organically. Before we knew it, we were running a thriving, successful and unregistered B&B.

We enjoy the company: it keeps life exciting, allows us to keep in touch with friends from home and enables us to share our love of the Bow Valley and all of the incredible things there are to do here, which deepens our appreciation for the place we have chosen to call home.

But, having a steady stream of houseguests makes for a bit of extra work, albeit self-induced (do they really care if we’ve vacuumed?). There’’s the prepping, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping and, of course, we want to show people a good time once they get here.

We have been fortunate to have phenomenal, thoughtful visitors, who have given us great ideas of how we can be good houseguests the next time we travel. So, if you find yourself in the spare room, here are a few things that some of our mountain-loving guests have impressed us with.

5 Tips for Being a Courteous Couch Surfer

Dinner’s On! Cook a meal or offer to buy some groceries. No need for a fancy dinner on the town. We arrived home one day to find our houseguests had prepared dinner. All we had to do was sit down and relax after working all day. They could have stayed all month!

Cab Sauv or Merlot? Hit the liquor store. This is a simple one: always appreciated, always useful. We have quite the bar accumulating, which is great for entertaining!

Fill It with the Regular, Please. Top up the tank if you borrow the car to head to the local slopes or trailheads. This is Alberta, but gas ain’t cheap!

Wash. Rinse. Spin. Throw the sheets and towels in the washing machine before you go. This one really impressed us! A thoughtful returning houseguest got a jump on the chores before she left.

Say Thanks! It’s amazing how far a simple email goes. We don’’t expect a gift or anything tangible. (Though the Ontario maple syrup, pottery and hand crafted wood cutting boards were very nice!). Even a Facebook message saying “‘Thanks”’ puts a smile on our faces. Even better: an offer of a spare room next time we’’re headed your way.

Chloe Vance

Chloe Vance

Chloe’s family is confused as to how a little girl from Toronto developed such a passion for the wilderness. Wanderlust has led her to guide expeditions in the far North, circumnavigate New Zealand by bicycle, and found an organization that provides outdoor education. In 2010, Chloe and her husband Rob moved to Canmore, a natural place to grow some roots. Inspired by her new backyard and all the interesting people in it, she delved into writing, story telling and getting to know her neighbours (among an ever-evolving list of other projects).

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  1. Nice pic . . . looks like one of my favorite places to ski . . . Revy?
    Stephen Graup