I’m a massive fan of budget travel and one of the most rewarding ways to travel on the cheap seems to be couch surfing. Now I’m sure the vast majority of people have heard of this and know what it is but I guess I’ll give a brief overview of it for those who haven’t.
Couch surfing is a way of finding accommodation which usually involves very little to no money. The trade off is quite literally that sometimes you trade cooking, items, friendship, cleaning, and experiences to repay your host. In addition to all this you usually create a contact for your future travels if you so choose to stay with them in return. Hosts can take guests out and show them the sights if it’s desired, or you can just let them roam of their own free will, it’s up to the individual. The sleeping arrangements vary drastically, but usually you stay as the name suggests – on someone’s couch. The whole system revolves around references either good, bad, or indifferent which allow you to check hosts and hosts to check guests in order to avoid unpleasant situations. It’s all run through www.couchsurfing.com so if you’re not a member and want to try it please visit that site.
I myself have never actually couch surfed just yet, but I do plan to in the future. However, I have hosted before, and did so for around four months between February – June in 2015. We hosted around 50 or more travellers from all walks of earth (over half were German, they’re everywhere in Australia) and it was a fantastic experience. In fact, if we just keep the number at 50 I can safely say that 48 of these experiences were top class and every single person who walked through our front door brought warmth, joy, experience, gratitude and most of the time food. There were only 2 people who received negative reviews and good riddance. Unfortunately, I never had a profile back then and it was all organised via my housemate Andrew, so I failed to benefit from all the references and positive feedback, but I’m happy to build my own up.
I think it’s a wonderful way to get to know locals in a warm and interesting way. We had dinners cooked for us from all over the globe, we partied hard with anyone who was interested, we made some life long friends, and I like to think we helped a bunch of people enjoy their time in Australia just that little more. I definitely think back on my experiences fondly and I’d do it again.
If anyone is on couchsurfing and wishes to friend me you can find me here: My Profile
I am curious if anyone else uses couch surfing or was thinking of trying it out and what you think about it all. Please feel free to let me know below!