Private "safety" link you can send to your friends that displays info about your trip

Today we discussed the idea of a private “link” that could be generated and sent to friends/family/emergency contacts, providing information about your trip. Should something happen to you, the people who you trust with that information would know who to contact, where to look, or how to help.

Some questions to consider:

  • What kind of information would you want that to contain?
  • Would you want something like this be automatically done for you or only set up manually?
  • Do you think it would be useful?

I think this is a truly great idea! I think the default of this should be active and we should prompt people to add an email or phone number of as many contacts they trust, second step is to make this configurable, so you can choose what you want to be sent but I don’t think there’s a need to prompt that too much… About the information:
Last hosts with their contacts, last locations and dates registered in the app, last messages you sent and contact information of those users and probably much more…

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Private link is a good idea!
in my opinion it just doesnt help to put trust into the community.
It shows, that when you really need help, in the end you rely on friendships outside the plattform, or?

I dont want my emergency contact to read my last messages to users and maybe than victim blame me for being a woman and writing with man…

I would vote for an emergency button to get help from inside the community.
Like when staying at a host and you feel unsave you press the emergency button and get some options:

  • Telefonnumber of local police above all

  • Dont feel save with Host XY (where you staying at the moment- name and shame) leaving now, need emergency couch

  • Host XY did___ need someone to go to police with me

It should be shown to users in my area. You always have to take care when travelling but having the option of someone local helping me in need, would make me feel saver.
Also it could be shown on the profile how often you used the emergency button and how often it was used on you.
Some User that reaches out after pressing the emergency button can conform if it was appropriate or false alarm. The user helping could get like an guardian angel badge?

While the suspicious gets a Emergency button was pressed on me when confirmed (nothing if not?)
The help seeker gets Emergency button was pressed from me all the time he/she/they do it. So its shown when someone missuses this feature. On the other hand, if you really needed help and found someone in community that could help you- you have a storry to tell and may still have trust in community.
you always have to take care when travelling and you probably know rotten eggs can be everywhere and wont blame couchers.


My first instinct is that such a feature would be really counterproductive, but do please argue with me, I haven’t made up my mind yet:

If such a feature were necessary we would neither build nor signal the trust needed to run the platform anyway. And without it, when someone’s so worried so much that they’d use the feature if we had it – of course that’s legitimate, I’m especially thinking of rookies new to hospex altogether, we’ve all been there –, they can and should anyway tell someone they trust where they are going.

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Maybe we leave this part out if the default then? I was thinking more of a real emergency and real emergency contacts and I think in that case it doesn’t matter what they think but if they can help as quick as possible no?

All the rest you wrote I complete agree with and think would be cool to have!

Great idea!

When I travel I usually am travelling completely alone, and I don’t want to be worrying my sister every few days “Oh D is now in some random city staying with some random guy”

The button I feel would be a lot more effective (aside from calling the police) becuase it would allow people from the community to help rather than needing volunteers working in T&S 24/7 - it empowers the locals to look out for one another and bring that community aspect into play.

I am all for this idea!

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I’m not so sure about this personally.

I kind of feel like the platform should let you make the best decisions about trust before you go anywhere, and let you improve it afterwards.

But having the Couchers community help in a real emergency gives a kind of responsibility that a website can’t really do justice to. There could even be legal complications?

Of course it does depend on how it’s executed. But real emergency services are meant for emergencies.

It could even be done as a “share a trip information page” - for me it’s very common to let people know where you are staying when travelling. The emergency part can just be implied.


That’s exactly what I mean, just better expressed.

I also wouldn’t like to see safety features that in reality will probably do far less far from what they claim to do. I could also rather imagine starting off with a personal “safe trip” page, where a user can be presented with safety recommendations and nudged to be dilligent about their safety net by presenting fields like:

  • host details (name, adress, phone?)
  • host 2 details…
  • my emergency contact
  • local police contact
  • my embassy contact

Probably have a functionality to send the respective host/guest a message to “please add your details to my safe trip page”? In all the years I hosted on cs, I never had one guest explicitly asking for my full name… they all assumed the info is on the site somehow and the site would provide it in an emergency i guess. Better not to imply the site provides any information that the user didn’t ask for, but in turn make it more easy to actually ask.

On the other hand, if some users are strongly in favour of some automated feature, maybe it’s right to put much more effort to make it work?

If there’d be a personal safety/safe trip page, local communities could also put together corresponding pages to look up information, like country embassy lists and local police and medical emergency contacts. And if a community is very active and dedicated there could also be members that offer their contacts as local emergency contacts. That’s something I could see steadily growing while being transparent and not suggesting automated and generally available support channels.

Overall I think having a link or not is the minor aspect of this issue. The bigger one is which information will be part of a safety ticket and how is it collected. And on this I’d stronlgy favour better user awareness over background automation.

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I really like this idea. This could be very useful, and actually encourage more females to feel safe to stay/host males, wich is an actual problem of the community that hasn’t find a solution yet. This may be part of the solution.

I like the idea of a link where all the contact details of the people hosting/staying are saved (maybe sensitive info could be encrypted and only accessible on demand).

I also like the “panic button” idea, that could trigger several actions at once:
-showing the person local police and embassy telephones, and a list of local users numbers that volunteer to provide a phone to assist on emergencies.
-sending current location and contact info to trusted contacts
-triggering some safety internal message to be forwarded to local community. That could be a message in the local group, a private message to certain local users with contact and location info, or anything of the sorts that will help the local community to asist in case the person can’t call them or the police (I’ve had people at my place right from the airport, who didn’t have phone until they got a local chip, so calling the police or a local may not always be an option for everybody)

What if, instead of the regular reference tab, we had something more “time-line” looking?
Date, X met/hosted/surfed with Z, on (place) / reference/rrating if available / security trigger if available
Date, X met/hosted/surfed with Z, on (place) / reference/rrating if available / security trigger if available
Etc. I don’t know, maybe is a terrible idea, it just crossed my mind, I’m thinking that maybe if there’s a record that people stays/hosts/meets someone and noone leaves a review that’s also a silent warning. I’ll post this on the references discussion.


I like the idea of alerting local users (perhaps volunteers to be alerted about this sort of thing?) rather than calling the police. I don’t feel like I would trust the police here in Australia to necessarily take me seriously/take immediate action/I could think of many situations you might want to leave a host but police would not be useful here, let alone in a foreign country where they may well not speak your language, or understand the concept of couchsurfing. If I knew there were some local couchers people around to perhaps fall back on this would make me feel safer!

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