If you want to travel the world and get accommodation for free, you should join the Couchsurfing community.
What is Couchsurfing anyways?
Couchsurfing was founded by Casey Fenton, Daniel Hoffer, Sebastian Le Tuan and Leonardo Bassani da Silveira in 2004. It is a global community that connects travelers with more than 200,000 cities wherein they can share their life with the people they encounter, fostering cultural exchange and mutual respect. There are over 10 million people in the community who are willing to share their home and time with you for free.
How to join the community?
- Simply sign up and create a detailed profile at their website. Write there your lifestyle, mission in life and what is it important to you. You don’t have to pretend to be someone you’re not. Show the community who you really are.
- Join weekly events in your area so you get a feel for how it works. Check out your city’s page and browse through the events you’re interested in joining in.
- Plan your next travel adventure. Search for cities you plan to visit within the next 4 weeks and browse local hosts with available couches. Read their profiles thoroughly and send personalize request for the dates you will be there.
- Be a host. If you have a spare room or coach available for travelers, set your couch status under “Couch Information”. You can set it to; Accepting guest, maybe accepting guest, not accepting guest or wants to meet up.
Is it safe?
I’m sure some of you are kinda skeptical with this kind of concept. Even if you see verified profiles with good references, there’s no guarantee that they are good people. Let’s face it, the world is a dangerous place to live in, nothing is safe anymore. There are always potential dangers, but most of it can be easily avoided. If at any time, you aren’t comfortable with your Couchsurfer be sure to tell them why. The problem might be unintentional or cultural differences. If you feel uncomfortable, have a backup plan and move to the nearest hotel around you. Always stick to your common sense, adhere to the community guidelines and you’ll be fine.
Learn about your host’s culture
It is wise to do your own research before traveling to a new country. Become self-aware by working out your values, personal biases and beliefs. This might have a big impact on your approach to understanding cultural difference.
Always pay attention to the do’s and dont’s in their country and follow them at all times. When I was in Thailand, I learned that you can’t touch or handshake with the monks if you are a woman. They said monks live forsaking sensual pleasures, and to touch female energy could lead to desire or lust.
Be more accepting. Even if you heard or read something about a certain culture, it’s important to realize that doesn’t mean everyone from that particular background acts or thinks the same thing. Not everyone has identical beliefs.
Couchsurfing is a great tool for brave people to travel the world and learn about other culture. It offers an authentic cultural exchange in a local setting, which enables individuals to save money while traveling. I want my future children to experience the same thing; learn about different cultures, foster cultural exchange and share their lives with an open heart.