by Kara Fiechter
When I travel, I hear, “How can you afford all of these extravagant trips around the world,” I express, I use my resources.” I stumbled upon the website Couchsurfing.com a few years ago which has opened up so many doors for me to get information about different countries and to also travel without paying any housing expenses.
The concept of couch surfing is exactly how it sounds. You get to stay on a person’s couch in a different country, for free, while experiencing how people in that city really live. The site is set up like Facebook where each person has photos, a biography, location of residence, and languages they speak, but most importantly, there is a reference section at the bottom of every person’s page where hosting people and travelers can comment about how their experience was and how the hosting went. This keeps the relationship safe. People are held accountable for their actions on Couchsurfing because of their review. If they receive a poor review, they are typically not a person that anyone else will travel with or use as a host in the future.
Couchsurfing is EASY to join!
First, you develop your own webpage, which Couchsurfing has made very user-friendly, that offers information about yourself, your interests, and hobbies. This allows your host to see if you will be a good fit to stay with them for a few days.
Next, type in the country or location that you would like to travel to along with dates of arrival and departure. The options across the globe are almost endless.
Then, type in questions about the area or what you plan on visiting there. This information can be as simple or in depth as you choose, but it helps the host see if they will be able to accommodate your dreams.
The final step is FINDING A HOST! Couchsurfing pulls up all of the members that live near or in the city that you requested and that also match up with your experiences, likes, and other information that you have published on your page. This is the fun part. You then get to sift through some of the top profiles to potentially find someone who will let you stay in their home while you travel. If you find one that seems to match your personality, then you can send them an email about your travel plans. In addition to your requested emails, the information about the dates you will be traveling and the plans you have while visiting will be sent to everyone in that area to help you try to find a host.
Lastly, enjoy the adventure of meeting new people and seeing new amazing places.