If you could travel the world and “stay with locals in every country on earth” without spending a penny, would you be prepared to sleep on a couch, an air mattress, or perhaps share someone’s spare bedroom… Well, if the answer is “yes” you are the perfect candidate for Couchsurfing!
A global travel community with over 9 million members in more than 120,000 cities across the world, Couchsurfing will connect you with travellers in your hometown and travellers on the other side of the globe, so you can meet people, stay in their home, and share your home so that you can return the favour.
All you need to do to get started is sign up for a Couchsurfing account and complete your profile. Once online, you can start surfing for fellow ‘Couchsurfers’ in your local area, check out your cities ‘Place Page’ to see if there are any Couchsurfing events happening near you, surf the world for available couches in your dream holiday destination, and list your own couch for other travellers.
Couchsurfers from around the world can then submit a Couchrequest to other members in the community, and make plans via the Couchsurfing message platform, but no money can change hands, you ‘pay’ for your accommodation by offering to cook, taking your host out for a meal, or giving them gift.
While Couchsurfing is not for me, it does sound like a good idea for students travelling in their gap year, but is it really safe?
Couchsurfing does provide its community with a whole list of safety do’s and don’ts and they have a Safety Team on hand to answer your queries, but if you are travelling solo, you need to take extra care and do plenty of research on your hosts – you are going to sleeping on a strangers couch after all!
Are you a Couchsurfer? We would love to hear about your experiences!