In 2015 I first started hosting guests via the website/app Couchsurfing. It was my friend Andrew’s idea, and I am thankful that we decided to do so. I had yet to do any overseas travel and hosting these travellers opened my eyes to the world. We had a nice apartment on Brisbane’s southside and the multiple couches, extra rooms and large garage space (that had a queen bed) meant we could host multiple people at once and feel no restrictions. This experience was incredibly rewarding and I enjoyed it so much so that I began to host on my own in my last year in Australia.
The friendships I gained through this website have been long lasting and rewarding. I’ve only ever hosted two people who were negative experiences (their reviews reflect that) and everyone else was a beautiful person. I am unsure how many people I’ve hosted as I never kept track in the early days but all I can say is that the positives greatly outweigh the negatives.
The hosting side of things has been a major positive in my life and my travel experiences. I’ve stayed with people who I hosted, I’ve reconnected with the friends I’ve made, and seen the towns, and countries of people who shared my home. I regret nothing and I look forward to hosting again.
Truth be told I have never been a guest. It isn’t for lack of trying. I had no need in Australia, of course, but while I backpacked Europe I tried. I found it to be a little creepy in the fact that everywhere I requested responded with some variation on “Sorry, we only host girls”. This was a common response from men and women. I have very positive reviews on my profile, and no negatives at all, and I found it immensely difficult to use the website as I putted around Europe. So much so that I never actually got to stay with anyone and instead stuck with hostels or friends (Some from couchsurfing i’d hosted) the whole way through. Again, I regret nothing as this was a fantastic time. Another negative and rather creepy side of it I experienced via my friend I had met in Prague. He and his sister had tried to use couchsurfing as they were on a budget and the responses he got were rather awful. Usually from men, and usually telling him there was one requirement for his stay. It was obviously enough to deter him from entering these people’s homes. Things like this make me wonder if it’s always worth it?
I have just organised to stay with a couchsurfer for the first time while John and I travel to Colombia. It saves us a small fortune in accommodation costs and we get to stay with a local. So hopefully the guest side of things starts to liven up! My fingers are crossed…
Have you ever used sites such as Couchsurfing? What were your experiences with it? Would you say it’s a positive or negative adventure so far?