Most of us have crashed on a friend’s couch during our travels in order to save a bit of cash, but the Couchsurfing website takes the concept to a whole new level. Founded in 2004 by American Casey Fenton, the Couchsurfing community has grown to include over 6 million members living in 100,000 cities, meaning that these days, you can Couchsurf almost anywhere in the world! Let’s take a look at the top reasons to choose Couchsurfing over other forms of accommodation on your travels:
1) Free accommodation
Definitely the biggest advantage to Couchsurfing is being able to eliminate the cost of accommodation on your trip. Youth hostels are not cheap everywhere in the world, and when they are, it likely means you’ll be sharing a room with several other people. By contrast, crashing on someone’s couch is free, though it’s a nice idea to bring a small gift for your host when you arrive.
2) Meet interesting locals
Meeting new people is an integral part of travel, as it will help you shape new perceptions about the world. If you stay at a hostel, your social network will likely be limited to other travellers, but through Couchsurfing, you get the opportunity to meet locals. Doing so will enrich your understanding of the local culture and customs, give you the opportunity to practice a foreign language, and help you make long-lasting connections in your intended travel destination. The possibilities are endless!
3) Truly local events
As well as listing free accommodation options, Couchsurfing is a great resource for finding local events in your intended travel destination. These meet-ups and events may be too small to be listed in a guidebook, yet they’ll truly allow to you experience the city the way a local does. With Couchsurfing, then, your social network is not limited to just your host, though you’ll likely find that he or she will also be willing to show you around the city one afternoon or take you to the best bar in town for some drinks after work.
The Couchsurfing website attempts to minimise the risks associated with staying at a stranger’s house by allowing guests to leave comments rating their host and/or their stay. By browsing a host’s profile, you can quickly determine if other guests have had positive or negative experiences with them to get a better picture of the experience you’ll have. Make sure to do your research before you depart, and always have a back-up plan just in case. Pay it forward by leaving feedback on the Couchsurfing website after your stay is over to help other travellers make a more informed decision.
Ready to explore the world? Sell my old iPod and other electronics back to musicMagpie to raise funds for food, transportation, and sightseeing on your trip.