Couchsurfing: Too good to be true?

“Couchsurfing is a global community of 10 million people in more than 200,000 cities who share their life, their world, their journey. Couchsurfing connects travelers with a global network of people willing to share in profound and meaningful ways, making travel a truly social experience.”

Couchsurfing is an online international community of travelers. You can host people traveling through your home or request to stay on someone’s couch wherever you are in the world. In our experience Couchsurfing has been an amazing way to experience a new place and get to know locals!

“We envision a world made better by travel and travel made richer by connection. Couchsurfers share their lives with the people they encounter, fostering cultural exchange and mutual respect.”

couchsurfing-image

Surfing

While staying with Couchsurfers you get the unique opportunity to stay in people’s homes and have a more authentic experience than you might have staying in a hostel or hotel. We recommend Couchsurfing when traveling somewhere for the first time.

While your away you can send a request through Couchsurfing messenger. You simply search the location you will be traveling to and hit “find hosts”. This will bring up a list of all the available couches in the area. Then, you can read people’s profiles and references and choose someone that sounds like a good fit for you. You fill out the request form and make plans from there. In your request you can include specific things that you want to see or experience and share a little about your travel style and preferences.

Hosting

Couchsurfing not only allows you to be hosted while your away, but it also allows you to connect with travelers when your at home. You can offer to host travelers anytime that works for you. Members simply send you request and you can review the dates and details and accept or decline. The site allows you to communicate using their messenger so you don’t have to give any personal contact information until you feel comfortable with the person. From there you decide how and where you meet up with them.  You can be as involved with them during their stay as you want. We have been hosted by people who hung out with us the entire time, cooking for us and taking us out. We have also stayed with hosts who are busy doing their own thing during the day and leave us alone. Whichever way you prefer, you should be clear about expectations when planning their stay.

Safety

There are a few basic things to keep in mind to make sure you are safe while Couchsurfing.

Read peoples profiles thoroughly.

Look for hosts and surfers who’s profiles are complete with multiple clear photos and detailed descriptions of their couches. You can verify your address by mail through Couchsurfing, stay with hosts who have a verified address on the left hand-side of their profile page. You can also verify your phone number and payment as an extra precaution. You can see references from people who have met them, and if they have friends through Couchsurfing all on their profile page.  We recommend that women travelers stay with women.

Communicate through Couchsurfing’s messenger.

Don’t give out personal contact information until you have met them. Ask plenty of questions before meeting. If your wondering anything about them or their home, ask before you plan to meet up with them.

Meet in a public place.

When planning your stay, you pick a place to meet up with them. Rather than meeting at someone’s house, have them pick you up at the bus station or at a shopping center. For more safety tips, visit Safety Basics.

Getting Started

Couchsurfing is simple and easy to use. You can sign up for free in just a few minutes on their website.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Couchsurfing: Too good to be true?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s