With hostels costing more and budgets getting tighter these days, more and more travellers are looking for alternatives for short term accommodation. Luckily there is a brilliant solution, and it’s 100% FREE.
Couch surfing is now one of the biggest online traveller networks in the world, growing dramatically in popularity over the last few years. But what exactly is it?
What is it?
It’s a huge online network of people offering beds/sofas for you to stay on for free, with stays generally ranging from one night to a week.
Why would they do it?
Many of these people have ‘couch surfed’ themselves and so they offer beds to others in a way of paying the good deed forward. Pretty charitable really!
How does it work?
You go to the website (details below) and register your details. Then you browse the hosts’ profiles until you find someone you like – or someone in an area you’d like to stay in. You contact them in good time before the date you want to stay and request their bed/sofa. If they accept you can organise all the details and keep in touch with them through the site until you finally meet. Then all you need to do is practice those charming conversational skills of yours and the job’s a good’un.
Is it safe?
Yes. Hosts need to verify their address with the site before they have a profile and all reviews of each host from their surfers (be it good or bad) cannot be deleted so what you see is what you get. As with any online meeting site it is always best to trust your instincts, so if something or someone seems to good to be true just be wary, and any abuse can be reported straight back to the Couch Surfing Trust and Safety team. More information about keeping yourself safe whilst couch surfing can be found here.
What do I do about food?
As you’re getting free accommodation, you’re expected to buy (and cook) your own food. Depending on how well you get along with your host you’ll no doubt be organising some joint meals but always make sure you’re prepared on the solo food front!
How do I know if it’s for me?
Couch surfing isn’t for everyone. As you’re getting a free bed you will be expected to bring some wit, charm and sparkle along with your bags to your host’s house, so if you’re not the conversational type or you’re just not into meeting new people, this might not be for you. Don’t be put off if you’re a bit shy or nervous about losing your couch surfing flower though – plan it well with the right host and you’re guaranteed to keep coming back for more.
Find out more about couch surfing and where you can do it here.