Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing might be the best solution if you’re looking for tricks and strategies to organize your travels independently and spend as little as possible on accommodation.

If you’re seeking another way to leverage the web to organize your travels, you need to get acquainted with Couchsurfing.

Indeed, by engaging in couchsurfing, your accommodation expenses can drop to zero. How? Keep reading!

What is Couchsurfing?

The Couchsurfing “movement” is based on the principle of hospitality. It’s founded on solidarity and reciprocity among travelers who exchange free lodging.

If you’re traveling the world, you use the community to seek accommodation where you are. If you’re at home, you offer hospitality driven by the desire to reciprocate and make new acquaintances.

It was once common to host travelers in need. It was an “obligation” driven by the hostile world outside the home. Think of the Middle Ages and the pilgrims or historical periods when sleeping outside was objectively dangerous.

Today’s motivations are obviously different and in the digital age stem from

the desire to meet and interact with people from faraway countries (and somehow “travel” through interaction with different cultures) reciprocating the hospitality received when we were in a foreign country (although you’re not obligated to do so).

Joining is very simple and effective: just sign up for free on the Couchsurfing platform and create your profile trying to present yourself well, making yourself interesting and reliable.

Immediately after, you can start to “surf the world” looking for “hosts” willing to accommodate you for free in the destinations you wish to visit.

The last optional step is offering hospitality in your own home.

How does Couchsurfing work?

You can search for lodging in two different ways:

You can look for the location where you want to travel and find people willing to host you. Then you contact them. You can enter your travel itinerary and hope that hosts along your path contact you.

If you’re offering lodging, you just wait for passing travelers (or those planning a trip) to contact you. You’ll see their profile and are free to decide whether to invite them to your home or not.

Why do Couchsurfing?

The primary reason many tourists join the movement is obviously the chance to travel with zero accommodation expenses.

The reasons for seeking free lodging are not solely monetary: there are travelers who undertake long journeys and sustain themselves by doing small jobs along the way, others prefer to save on lodging to have a budget for different activities: if you were in Rome, would you prefer to sleep in a hotel or visit the Colosseum?

Another reason for couchsurfing is the desire to meet people and immerse oneself completely in the local reality of the places visited. Moreover, “living” with locals provides the opportunity to get genuine and “filtered” information, avoiding mass tourism spots and visiting more authentic realities.

If you truly want to understand a place’s culture, you must sit at the table with its people and eat with them. Couchsurfing allows you to socialize, eat real local food, and truly travel to a different reality.

If you stay in a hotel, most of the time you bring your lifestyle with you.
Living in the homes of strangers and sharing your time with them creates conditions for a true cultural exchange, not only “taking” to learn and understand a different place but also “giving” to introduce your country and lifestyle.

Want to learn a language?
What better way than total immersion in a context where you must make yourself understood?

The perfect opportunity for a full immersion that’s worth much more than a university master’s degree.

How to choose your “host”.

You can contact hosts and ask for hospitality or they can contact you if your itinerary is close to their home. But how to choose and what to pay attention to in the “hosts'” profiles?

The first thing to check is if the potential “host’s” profile is “Verified”. Couchsurfing.org indeed conducts checks on all profiles to verify banking data and the accommodation offered.

A verified account indicates greater seriousness, but not everyone does it due to the time required to complete the formalities.
Are there photos of the accommodation?
Of the house? Is there a private bathroom or is it shared?
Will you sleep in your room? On the bed or the couch?

It’s better to ask, verify, and try to understand everything before arrival.

The accommodation’s location relative to the places you want to visit. It would be pointless to save on accommodation and then have to spend all the budget on transport rather than activities.

Couchsurfing and Sex

Another aspect of Couchsurfing is related to sexuality: if a male host only offers accommodation to young, single women, you should quickly understand that he expects something other than money in exchange for lodging.

There are hosts (men but sometimes women too) who openly declare (or imply) that during the stay, they expect a very intimate level of socialization.

There are also women who offer themselves (sexually) in exchange for hospitality to travel (alone).

Therefore, during initial contacts, it’s wise to clarify this topic to avoid misunderstandings. In Australia, the site is used to look for sexual adventures. So, unless you want to have such encounters, try to clarify this aspect before your arrival.

Other uses of Couchsurfing

The site is not only for finding lodging. You can meet hosts to organize cultural meetings, ask to be accompanied around the city, or get information. There are also travelers who publish their itineraries to meet up with other people arriving from the opposite side of the world! Imagine going to Paris and meeting Americans, Japanese, and New Zealanders and spending an evening all together!

If I’m hosted, do I have to reciprocate?

Absolutely not. You’re not obliged to reciprocate hospitality nor are you required to create a “host” profile on the Couchsurfing.org site. The community operates on the principles of altruism and the desire for cultural exchange. It’s not just about “taking” to learn and understand a different place but also about “giving” to introduce your country and lifestyle.

triplannerr

If you’re reading this blog, you’re an adventurous traveller, and I want to invite you to experience something unique.

We’re forming a Community of Travellers who will exclusively try out the new digital platform we’ve created for organising and planning trips and holidays completely independently and avoiding any form of intermediation.

“We believe that the free and spontaneous sharing of information is the key to making ‘travelling’ a habit achievable by everyone.”

When you return from a trip, you possess valuable information: the Hotels, Restaurants, Tour Guides, and experiences you’ve lived through!

These are pieces of information you’ll never use again but are indispensable for someone wanting to take a trip similar to yours.

If you’ve lived an unforgettable experience, you’ve brought home all the information needed to replicate it!

So, why not share it? Why not leave other travellers the information you collected on-site or during your experience? This way, others can save time (and money) and live travel experiences based on your stories.

We aim to create a database of information available to everyone. Join the project, and you too can find the information needed to plan your next trip thanks to the help of the community!

We are creating a digital platform where you can find (and exchange) all the necessary information to plan and organise trips and holidays completely independently!

All this thanks to the “principle of sharing” and the solidarity among travellers who share information gathered during their travel experiences.

If you want to participate in the final phase of the development of this new digital platform and become a Beta Tester (for free) by sending critiques, suggestions, and new ideas…

This post is also available in: Italian

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *