Catch The Couchsurfing Wave For Budget Travel

couch-surfingThrifty and not afraid of strangers? Try Couchsurfing. I’m sure you remember when you were poor and in college, you “couchsurfed,” as in, stayed on a friend’s couch. Those sorts of accommodations-options dissipate as you get older and a) have enough money for hotels or b) your friends get more money and have guest rooms with actual beds.

However, the Couchsurfing Project (355,000 members in 223 countries) and others like it have taken advantage of the Internet to organize couchsurfing to build community and make new friends. Couchsurfing.com was dreamt up by Casey Fenton when he booked an impromptu trip to Iceland.

Not wanting to be a traditional hotel-dwelling tourist, he got hold of a University of Iceland student directory, and emailed 1500 students, asking for a couch to crash on. When a chunk of them e-mailed back, an idea was born! Other sites that offer ways to hook up those with a nomadic lifestyle are hospitalityclub.org, place2stay.net, globalfreeloaders.com, and stay4free.com.

You can sign up at CouchSurfing.com as either a guest or a host. If you’re a surfee, you aren’t obligated to host your couch – but you might consider offering your services as a local culture host. You could meet a visitor for drinks, a meal, or take them to the local blues burlesque show if you are so inclined.

The experiences seem to be rewarding for both host and the hosted. Founder Casey Fenton reports that 98.8 percent of users have rated their experience a positive one. In researching this topic, I only saw ONE story that wasn’t in ecstatic praise of the couchsurfing experience – and it was only mildly negative-a girl stayed with a guy who she discovered was “really really into” her and when he didn’t take the hint that she didn’t feel the same, she went to a hostel.

Read some experiences in couchsurfing at the following blogs. Warning: reading about the incredible adventures these people have will make you want to tell your boss to shove it, sell all your belongings and catch the first discount flight to Bora Bora.

peacefrog on Travelpod : an example of a fervent couchsurfer. His profile is intimidating. His acknowledgment pages show all the folks he’s stayed with, thanks to couchsurfing. The link to his couchsurfing profile is also full of glowing recommendations.

gobackpacking.com – reflections on being a couchsurfing host

How to couchsurf effectively

Couchsurf Cologne

Couchsurfing (Mis)adventures

Green with NZ

ahfeckit.com/ the adventures of a bloke couchsurfing in the US!

zengrrl.com

Trigger Happy Tourist

Diaries of a Road Warrior

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  1. Couchsurfing Revisited | Taking off Travel blog Says:

    [...] without blowing a hole in your budget, then couchsurfing might be a great option. Since we first covered the topic at the start of 2008, the numbers of couchsurfers have grown and grown, with an estimated 1.2 [...]