Is meeting new, exciting people one of your favorite things to do? Do you prefer living like, and with, the locals while traveling? Would you like to get to know the culture in the countries you visit? Are you on a budget? Then here is 10 reasons why you should join and use Couchsurfing as your main platform for accommodation during your travels.
In the beginning we were rather skeptical about the whole Couchsurfing-thing, but after giving it a first try we quickly fell in love with it and now we can’t imagine traveling the world and not use Couchsurfing. We hope that this post will make you more open towards trying this amazing thing out.
Couchsurfing is a free (if you don’t decide to verify) platform, on where Travelers and Hosts can find each other and make an accommodation arrangement. You basically just sign up and get free access to all available hosts. Once you have joined, you can search for hosts in over 200,000 cities all over the world and you have the opportunity to message these hosts and kindly ask for them to open up their home for you – for no cost. Sounds interesting? Of course it does. And you’re not alone in thinking so. Couchsurfing was launched in 2004 and today they have more than 15 MILLION users. It’s a growing thing – and reasonably so. Here’s 10 reasons why everyone should use Couchsuring.
1. You will learn a lot of new things
Partly about yourself, partly about other people and partly about the world. You will probably get the chance to share stories about travels, experiences and life with your host or surfer. This might give you tips and recommendations for your future travels or about the purpose of life or whatever. Learning the big similarities and also the minor differences between people all around the world will make you more educated than any book ever will.
Through Couchsurfing you get the opportunity to see the day-to-day life in the countries you’re visiting, and nothing teaches you more about life than to learn what other peoples’ lives looks like. I can’t emphasis enough how much you will learn about culture, history, social systems and hospitality standards all around the world. This is not something you will learn on a hostel or hotel.
2. You will meet new friends
Everyone knows there’s something special about sleepovers. Imagine a sleepover in a new country, sharing stories about traveling and life, together with exciting, like-minded people – how special would that be? Epic. And is there a better way finding new friends, than sharing a home with new people? I don’t think so.
Every Couchsurfer out there has one thing in common – we all love to get to know new people. The chance of you getting friends – either temporary or life long – are very high. The only thing you need is to be open minded and curious about people, about your environment and about life.
3. You will get to know the culture of the country you’re visiting
Reading a book or visit museums might give you a clue about the culture of the country you’re visiting. Nothing, however, will give you a better insight than to talk to, live like/with and study the local people. And to be able to do this you must spend time with the local people. So the next question – where can you get the opportunity to do this? You know it, and I know it – you won’t find many locals and non-tourists on those recommended museums and statues, but with Couchsuring you will.
Couchsurfing will give you the opportunity to visit local homes and get to know the people. You will discover the peoples’ generosity and how they tend to treat guests – which most definitely is part of their culture. Also, you will discover what a typical home look like, how they decorate their homes and what their day-to-day life looks like. Usually Couchsurfers actually wants to talk about and discuss the differences and similarities in each others countries and cultures. So if you do want to learn about cultures, then there really is no better choice than to Couchsurf.
4. You will get inside tips on what to do and where to go
By using Couchsurfing you will get tips on what to do and where to go, that isn’t in your guidebook. The tips you can find on Travel sites and in guidebooks are the tips that everyone can easily find. Therefore, they’re usually very touristy and hence crowded. If you’re like us, then this is not something you’re a fan off. Guess what? You guessed right – Couchsurfing is the solution! The hosts on Couchsurfing will most likely be able to tell you about the real must-sees and what’s a rip-off and not. If they have time for it, usually they’re happy to take you on a tour themselves.
5. You will widen your comfort zone
Many people get a bit uncomfortable when they get to sleep and live in new circumstances, which is understandable. Some people even feel a bit out of place when hanging out with new people. If you choose to use Couchsurfing (which you should), these things will most definitely change. After a couple of times Surfing or Hosting, you will get a hang off it and feel like it’s the most natural thing in the world. Hotels really are no fun…
6. You will get a greater idea on how people live throughout the world
Living in a hotel might be comfortable with a private room and bathroom. Living in a hostel might be fun with all the parties and other travelers. They definitely have their pros. However, none of these options will give you the chance to learn how people in the country you’re currently in, actually are living and what their day-to-day life looks like. This is possible on Couchsurfing (as you’ve probably already have figured out).
With Couchsurfing you might get a private room, you might even get a private apartment. But most likely you will share a room with your host, or sleep in a public room (like the living room). You might get a bed all for yourself, you might get to sleep on a couch, you might get a mattress or just a blanket on the floor. Some hosts provide their surfers with sheets, pillows and a blanket and some don’t. It all depends on what your host have to offer and what their home look like. On Couchsurfing however, it’s not about where you sleep. It’s about the experience.
Trust me, if you sleep on a blanket on a concrete floor, you will get a much greater insight in what the locals’ lives look like than if you’re sleeping in that soft bed with that big pillow on that fancy hotel. You most likely never will regret that you decided to go with Couchsurfing, no matter what the sleeping arrangement looks like.
7. You get to decide who you stay with (and perhaps who gets to stay with you)
You decide who you write to and ask to kindly open up their home for you, and therefore you have some control in who gets to host you. Perhaps you’d like to base your requests on interests, type of room, location, reviews and so on. However, you might get declined (either because they’re not available to host or maybe because they feel like you don’t have enough reviews at the moment). Therefore, you can’t really decide all by yourself (which might be good for the Hosts). But at least you won’t end up with someone you’d, for some reason rather, not stay with.
8. It’s great for solo travelers (and every traveler to be honest)
You’re traveling alone? Great. With Couchsurfing you won’t be alone. You will get one (or more) companions for a couple of nights that will take care of you, or (if you prefer) leave you to mind your own business.
Sure, hostels are also a great way to find people to hang out with. However, that’s in a totally different atmosphere. It’s usually big groups of people, lots of parties and only tourists. With Couchsurfing you will (most often) be the only guest and hence partly be the center of the attention. It’s also a much better choice for travelers (like us) that don’t really value parties and touristy activities.
Many hosts like to offer their surfers food while staying in their homes (amazing people, I know), since it’s a big part of their hospitality in many countries. This will give you the chance to try proper authentic food. You will learn what “normal” locals eat on a regular basis, which is not something you will see on restaurants. You won’t only get stuffed with delicious food, you will also discover new recipes, flavors and spices that you usually don’t use. If they can’t cook for you, you can probably get tips on great local restaurants that serve authentic food and hopefully won’t try to scam you (they most likely can see that you’re a foreigner and some people try to use this to their advantage).
10. You will save money and make your wallet happy
As if the above reasons weren’t enough for anyone to realize that Couchsuring is the thing, then here’s the one that will make you cross the line and become one of the 15,000,000 in this amazing community called Couchsurfing. It’s free. You don’t pay any money for accommodation, not a single dime. Take one second to realize how much money this will save you during your travels…. Yes, a lot. By using Couchsurfing you will save money and with more money you can travel more and meet even more Couchsurfers and learn even more about you, them and our world.
A very important side note: if saving money is your only concern then Couchsurfing is not for you. The thing with Couchsurfing is all about give and take. Couchsurfing is not just for you to live for free while traveling and nothing else. Just coming to leave your stuff at someones house and then be gone for the whole day and evening and come back in the middle of the night, is not the spirit of Couchsurfing. The purpose of Couchsurfing is not about saving money, that’s just a bonus.
Reminder: It might not be totally free for your host. If they offer you food for example, it will cost them money. If they are like most hosts they might offer to show you around and give you a bunch of tips and recommendations and this will cost them time as well. Please remember to be very grateful – they are opening up their home for you and not expecting much in return, just because their curious about you. So show your respect and gratefulness towards your hosts. A tip could be to show your consideration by bringing a small souvenir or maybe buy them a bag of groceries before you leave.
Soooo, if you’re like us – not a big fan off the typical touristy activities, interested in the life of the local people and the culture of the countries you’re visiting and looooove trying local dishes – Couchsurfing will be your haven. There really is no reason for you not to use Couchsurfing. Just go ahead and sign up today, become a part of this fantastic community – we might come and visit you 🙂