Save on Accommodation and Couch Surf

Save on Accommodation and Couch Surf

As a would be backpacker, I’m looking to get around on as little money as possible while traveling the world. In the same breath I’m not looking to extort every cent I can from the people I meet. I mean you’ve gotta be tight when your getting all angry with the street vendor over what works out to be 50 cents right?

One way I hope to keep the daily spend down is to join the CouchSurfing community. I know you can’t surf a couch but I’ll buy a box of beer for any person that can ride a wave standing on a couch because that would be hilarious. What I’m talking about is opening your doors to a stranger and allowing them to spend the night on your couch gratis. Don’t believe me then read this from their website.

What Is It

CouchSurfing is a worldwide network for making connections between travelers and the local communities they visit.

How Does It Work

CouchSurfing members share hospitality with one another. These exchanges are a uniquely rich form of cultural interaction. Hosts have the opportunity to meet people from all over the world without leaving home. ‘Surfers,’ or travelers, are able to participate in the local life of the places they visit. We also give more people the chance to become travelers, because ‘surfing’ lowers the financial cost of exploration.

Not only do you save the 25 euro on a hostel bed while passing through France, but you get to meet local people and maybe even spend the night with them. If I was given the choice of a hostel or a local’s couch for the night I’m taking the couch unless the hostel has free booze at their bar all night, I mean who passes up free beer.

Meeting locals is also a great way to escape the tourist side of your travels for a moment and actually learn a bit more about where you are. You can read a guide book and search google for hours but in just 30 minutes with a local you will learn so much more and maybe even make a new friend in the process.

The CouchSurfing website is full of great information on helping you find a host for the night. There are reviews to ensure the person your staying with is legit and not about to hack you to pieces (thanks for that stereotype Hostel 1 & 2). There is also a verification option which means the member has donated to keep the CouchSurfing community running, and verified both their name and physical location so you feel safer in choosing to stay with them. Oh and obviously use some common sense in picking your future host for the night.

Having read some great posts about other peoples CouchSurfing experiences. Stories of friends and adventures they had you would be crazy not to couch surf at least once when traveling, I know I will.

If you have ever couch surfed or hosted someone, I’d love to hear your story. Let me know in the comments below.

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21 Responses to Save on Accommodation and Couch Surf

  1. BOBBI January 13, 2010 at 10:43 PM #

    This is great! I just booked my hostel for Hamburg, but I’m going to look into it for the Berlin portion of my trip. Thanks!!

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD January 14, 2010 at 10:01 AM #

      Hey Bobbi, I think it’s a great way to not only save a few dollars but meet locals at the same time. I’m really looking forward to getting into it when I hit Europe later this year.

  2. CANDICE January 14, 2010 at 5:21 AM #

    I have a CS profile but I’m still hesitant to use it. But damn what an awesome way to save money.

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD January 14, 2010 at 10:06 AM #

      I have some reservations about it but I know once I’ve had my first couch surfing night I’ll be fine. Guess you call it fear of the unknown.

  3. NOMADIC CHICK January 14, 2010 at 7:45 AM #

    I just got on CS in September, then signed on a few forums. It’s super cool to connect with travelers on a different medium. For some reason I’m not worried about doing it (safety) – but my ex was also a kick boxer. I’m wee with a good groin kick. 🙂

  4. ADAM January 14, 2010 at 9:22 AM #

    I’m really looking forward to this part of traveling, too. Though, I haven’t actually set up an account or figured out how to do it. Eh, something will fall together I’m sure….

    But, from what I understand, there does seem to be a catch-22 involved: Few people will host you if you don’t have any peer reviews. And you can’t get reviewed until you’re hosted. BLEH.

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD January 14, 2010 at 10:09 AM #

      Yeah its like the problem I had when looking for a job. Can’t get a job with no experience but need experience to get the job.

      You can get friend reviews so perhaps we should all become friends on there and vouch for each other. My profile is linked further up the page.

  5. BRANDY January 14, 2010 at 9:26 AM #

    I have surfed and hosted MANY many times. This organization is no different from everything else in life- exercise common sense, trust your instincts, and you will be rewarded.
    I have met and friended people from all over this world thanks to the amazing site. HIGHLY recommend using this- if you plan to give back. Couchsurfing- more than just a couch.

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD January 14, 2010 at 10:12 AM #

      Hey Brandy, thanks for the comment. Great to hear you’ve got so much out of it. I hope I can make a few friends along the way and then when/if I return to Australia I can do the same for others and loan my couch to a weary backpacker.

  6. MAXIE January 14, 2010 at 7:27 PM #

    It looks awesome, but I don’t know if I’d trust someone to be in my home (or me be in theirs)

    I know most people are probably fine, but all it would take is one person with an axe. haha

  7. MAXIE January 14, 2010 at 7:27 PM #

    that said, I’ve crashed on bloggers couches and would let them crash on mine anytime. For some reason it feels safer.

    • CHRIS January 14, 2010 at 7:36 PM #

      Hey Maxie, bloggers appear safer I think because you can relate to them easier. i.e. they blog for 6 months you kind of get to know them. Where as a stranger you’ve never met has a lot more mystery and therefore fear associated with.

      The whole Couch Surfing community wouldn’t survive though if there were bad people in it, so they can’t be too bad you wouldn’t think.

  8. SARA January 20, 2010 at 3:46 PM #

    I LOVE Couch Surfing! Maybe I should have had a few reservations (especially traveling with just one other young gal like myself); but, so far I have surfed 4-5 couches and hosted a few travelers as well without incident. I have met some delightful, hospitable, and intriguing individuals this way (not to mention, saved my wallet).
    Anxiety is really unnecessary. You can be as safe or reckless as you want (I’d suggest familiarizing yourself with the different verification levels, vouchers, references, safety tips, etc. to assuage any ornery fears).
    Happy Surfing!

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD January 20, 2010 at 4:15 PM #

      Hey Sara, thanks for the great feedback on Couch Surfing. I think its a great community to want to be part of. Your also right on all of the verification levels etc, so much goes into ensuring you will be staying with someone safe it’s a must for all travelers.

  9. AILEEN February 19, 2010 at 1:26 AM #

    I was an eager host last year, but decided to take a break this year as it was quite exhausting. I have had some great surfers who became my good friends, some less great, but all in all interesting people! And I am happy I hosted.

    I definitely recommend couch surfing, and as a guy I think it is safer to surf than as a girl. Remember to not copy and paste when you email a request, but put in some effort 😉

    Happy surfing!

  10. MIKE March 4, 2010 at 7:59 AM #

    I’m brand new to traveling, heading out on my first international trip in October to New Zealand and Australia. I’m hoping to use couchsurfing as I travel. Hopefully, somebody will take pity on a new traveler without any referrals. Hope couchsurfing goes well for you and I’ll be watching your blog to see what you have to say about it.

  11. KIRSTY - NO PLACE TO BE March 9, 2010 at 10:22 PM #

    We’ve signed up for couch surfing and planning to use it when we get to China. I think it is a wonderful idea and a great way to meet locals.

  12. EAGEREXISTENCE May 6, 2010 at 7:41 PM #

    I’ve been a member for a few years, but only ever hosted. These days (as the big trip draws near) I host approx 2-3 times a month. Its loads of fun, and you get all sorts of different people doing it.



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