How to couchsurf
How I did it: I found a host in France and got in touch with her through the couchsurfing website. After coordinating when we would get there, we arrived and made a plan as to how we would get back into the apartment.
I hope to someday host someone myself... it seemed like a really cool experience and we learned a lot through it. It is important to maintain communication with your host during your visit- this saves a lot of headaches. Having a free place to stay definitely saved us money... almost $100 euro during our stay! (vs. hostel prices.) It was nice to meet someone who was familiar with the area and to know where we would be sleeping each night.
Lessons & tips: Make sure you communicate about how/when you will get into your host's home. Our host volunteered to leave her key in her mailbox so we could access her apartment (and get to our stuff), but then she forgot... we ended up sitting outside of her apartment for almost 5 hours after an exhuasting day of exploration.