As a would be backpacker, I’m looking to get around on as little money as possible while traveling the world. In the same breath I’m not looking to extort every cent I can from the people I meet. I mean you’ve gotta be tight when your getting all angry with the street vendor over what works out to be 50 cents right?
One way I hope to keep the daily spend down is to join the CouchSurfing community. I know you can’t surf a couch but I’ll buy a box of beer for any person that can ride a wave standing on a couch because that would be hilarious. What I’m talking about is opening your doors to a stranger and allowing them to spend the night on your couch gratis. Don’t believe me then read this from their website.
What Is It
CouchSurfing is a worldwide network for making connections between travelers and the local communities they visit.
How Does It Work
CouchSurfing members share hospitality with one another. These exchanges are a uniquely rich form of cultural interaction. Hosts have the opportunity to meet people from all over the world without leaving home. ‘Surfers,’ or travelers, are able to participate in the local life of the places they visit. We also give more people the chance to become travelers, because ‘surfing’ lowers the financial cost of exploration.
Not only do you save the 25 euro on a hostel bed while passing through France, but you get to meet local people and maybe even spend the night with them. If I was given the choice of a hostel or a local’s couch for the night I’m taking the couch unless the hostel has free booze at their bar all night, I mean who passes up free beer.
Meeting locals is also a great way to escape the tourist side of your travels for a moment and actually learn a bit more about where you are. You can read a guide book and search google for hours but in just 30 minutes with a local you will learn so much more and maybe even make a new friend in the process.
The CouchSurfing website is full of great information on helping you find a host for the night. There are reviews to ensure the person your staying with is legit and not about to hack you to pieces (thanks for that stereotype Hostel 1 & 2). There is also a verification option which means the member has donated to keep the CouchSurfing community running, and verified both their name and physical location so you feel safer in choosing to stay with them. Oh and obviously use some common sense in picking your future host for the night.
Having read some great posts about other peoples CouchSurfing experiences. Stories of friends and adventures they had you would be crazy not to couch surf at least once when traveling, I know I will.
If you have ever couch surfed or hosted someone, I’d love to hear your story. Let me know in the comments below.