CouchSurfing is an online community of friendly hosts who are ready and eager to throw their convertible couches open to travelers from across the world. The service offers more than a free place to crash; it connects travelers with like-minded people who are excited to share their enthusiasm for their hometown. But aren’t you going to be immediately robbed and stabbed by the opportunistic lechers lurking on the internet, you ask?
Um, no. CouchSurfing relies on a robust reference system that discourages unsavory things like robbing and stabbing. All users fill out detailed profiles and upload pictures. It’s an awkward mishmash of online dating and Craigslist apartment hunting, but you generally end up with a good sense of your host or guest.
If you want to find a good host, fill out your profile completely and honestly, and upload a few pictures to prove that you’re normal. Use the filters to find the right couch, and send a personable request that shows that you bothered to read the host’s profile. In the bigger cities it’s not unusual for hosts to get several requests every day, so make an effort to stand out.
Even if you aren’t traveling, most cities have events for local hosts who want to meet other adventurous people with an appreciation for wanderlust.
Some people are understandably spooked by the idea of sharing a home with a stranger, but for those who can accept that most people are fundamentally decent, CouchSurfing is an easy way to have a great time.
What is CouchSurfing?
CouchSurfing is an international non-profit network that connects travelers with locals in over 230 countries and territories around the world. Since 2004, members have been using their system to come together for cultural exchange, friendship, and learning experiences. Today, over a million people who might otherwise never meet are able to share hospitality and cultural understanding.
How does CouchSurfing 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.
The CouchSurfing community continues to expand its horizons. Members are always finding more ways to connect and learn about each other. Every day, people across the world share coffee, camping trips, meetings, language exchanges, discussions and all sorts of other experiences.