Travel the world like a local with Couchsurfing

Probably you know the idea or at least you heard the word “couchsurfing”. And if not – you really should!

Couchsurfing is the world’s largest social travel network, connecting a global community of travelers. Although it is a worldwide community of more than 6 million people in 100,000 cities who will open their homes to guests at no charge, Couchsurfing aims to bring like-minded, travel-oriented people together for the sheer good of it—the cultural exchange, the personal connection. And one of the benefits is that you can obtain insider, locals-only travel advice before you leave home, and a comfortable place to sleep free of charge when you get to your destination.

I first joined Couchsurfing because, well, I needed lodging in Singapore and could barely afford a hotel or hostel. I was intrigued by the concept of staying with residents of cities I was visiting, but it was financial necessity that made me take the plunge for real. I signed up for the website, filled out my profile, and reviewed a couple friends in hopes that they might return the favor.

I went into my search for lodging in Singapore with no real reviews from actual couchsurfers, but managed to find a place to stay with a friendly host. I ended up staying for 7 days in posh condo in Orchard Road, and it made for a really lovely experience of the city.

BUUUUUT. The charm of this idea is totally not connected with this “for free”. Staying at somebody’s living room means getting immediately into a local community, local habits, family or guests of your host, sharing stories, sharing experiences. During one breakfast together you will get more information about the city and places to visit than from any of the travel guides. If your host has time – he will show you his places, places you cannot get without a local, you might meet his friends.

I love the slogan of couchsurfing: “friends you haven’t met yet”. It is like this, indeed. We met so many amazing people by surfing or being surfed!

Sounds uncomfortable and dangerous? Hmmm, like the whole life! 🙂 Of course couchsurfing is not for everyone. If you need a lot of comfort and privacy – better don’t risk. If you are difficult, complicated person, who usually fights with others – better don’t risk.

You might meet somebody, funny, boring, smart or stupid, with very different points of view. You have to be open, for new experiences, for new ways of preparing food. But, from my perspective, the worst what can happen is that somebody will snore in the next room.

Couchsurfing has been a really cool way for me to meet new people and get out of my comfort zone. I’d definitely recommend giving it a try if you have a couch to spare. Or even not.

Has anyone else used Couchsurfing in their travels? What would you show someone visiting your city that might not be on the typical tourist’s itinerary?

Sarah-Signature

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18 thoughts on “Travel the world like a local with Couchsurfing

  1. I would love to try CS someday on one of our travels. We came so close to it on our Greece trip a while ago but last minute schedule clashes prevented us from doing so. More than the money aspect it’s the local connection that intrigues me. Glad to hear you’ve had good experiences with it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So far, I have only good things to say about couchsurfing and I am glad my fiance is onboard with the experience and is open to try it one day in our future travels to Europe 🙂 When you get another chance to stay with a host through CS, grab it! It will be fun 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I take CS with a healthy pinch of salt. I was all gaga over it until I read some honest reviews that revealed the dark side of CS.

        We’ve had similar experiences with AirBnB. Some can be really good or really bad. And that is in spite of checking reviews and other travelers’ feedback. The fact is that travelers have such different standards that sometimes the reviews can be either under/over-whelming 🙂

        Now I have more realistic expectations so I’m sure that if we ever get a chance someday I’ll know what I’m getting myself into and will be better prepared 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Perfectly understandable. I’ve read those reviews myself but it didn’t deter my curiosity. But then, I am probably too curious than I should be haha but I am also cautious enough. Call me judgmental but when I see that the host looks like a player or if I feel a negative vibe at all, I won’t request a couch or even hang out or even speak to them at all.

        Just remember when you choose a host, read the profile and reviews carefully and speak to them before your visit.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I can understand it’s kinda risky but you can read the references before making plans or staying with that person. Caution should be strictly observed 🙂 But yes, it is very cost effective and you get insider tips to enjoy the place better 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I discovered about this thing 3 years ago, but I don’t exactly know what is the exact term, good thing I have checked your blog and you have elucidated much about “Couchsurfing”. Thank you so much for sharing about this, it is really interesting.

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    1. As a frequent traveler, funds run short sometimes and I had to find ways to maximize my budget. When I found out about CS, I was so thrilled. Not only because I can get free accommodation but most importantly, I can get genuine interaction with locals to get a glimpse of their local life. I think it is a more sensible way to travel.

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