No, not literally surfing on a couch, but rather an alternative approach to lodging versus the traditional money-pit hotels that plague travelers on a budget. Couchsurfing entails contacting a host in a chosen destination and asking them to let you crash on their couch, futon, or bed for a short amount of time. There is no monetary exchange; all that is required is a willingness to be a good guest and a desire to meet new people. In return, you’ll likely make some great friends and pick up unforgettable stories along the way. You can also host travelers on your own couch as a way to participate in the global network of couchsurfing hosts and travelers, all of whom connect through a central website akin to many popular social media sites.
If you were wondering how safe it might be to simply find a random
person in a part of the world you’ve never been to just to crash at
their place for the night, be assured that couchsurfing.com has a system
of member feedback to address that very issue. When someone wants to
find hosts or become a host, they create a couchsurfing profile clearly
stating their location, living arrangements, expectations, some personal
details, and additional background information so that other uses can
get to know them. Then, once a member has couchsurfed or hosted
couchsurfers, others can rate their experiences interacting with them.
Was host X hospitable? Was guest Y courteous?
The site has grown
considerably since its inception in 1999, and now has over a million
members. So next time you plan a cross-country trip or a backpacking
excursion to foreign lands, consider looking up enthusiastic hosts and
travelers to share your experience with through couchsurfing. You’ll be
glad you did: You will enrich your traveling experience and your wallet
will thank you, too!
Happy hump day,