Couchsurfing

tombourlet 7 years ago Travel Tips
6

For you who don’t know, couchsurfing.org is a website set up for travellers and home owners to contact each other so that the traveller has somewhere to stay when in town. There is inevitably a higher amount of travellers than willing people to offer their home rent free, however so far my experiences have gone considerably well.

We stayed with people in America who we had only met on the day, and while we didn’t find them on Couchsurfing, they were signed up to it, yet they simply didn’t go on the site very often. Polaris and Rusty are two of the greatest people I have ever met, I will always have a home for them here in England if they ever decide to visit. The people I did meet through couchsurfing while in America weren’t as great unfortunately, however this would not put me off for the future.

The first person was a girl in Houston who offered us a place to stay for 2 nights. We were not overly keen on going to Houston, however once we received the offer, we felt it was only right to check out the area and see what we thought. Unfortunately, the place before was Fort Worth, where we had been staying with Rusty, therefore I was leaving my fondest memories of America behind.

Leading up to arrival, we were not getting any response on the website or by phone from the girl, and we eventually realised we had landed in a random part of the world without somewhere to stay and no knowledge of where a hostel is.

By this point we had given up on motels, as hostels had become the highlight of our holidays, as it forces you into making friends with dozens of new people every day, many of which I still keep in contact with now. Luckily we found somewhere to dump our bags and we left the next day, to head towards the legendary Austin.

Since returning to England I have hosted 3 sets of people, all randomly from Germany. Every single group were amazing, while I trusted them completely in the house while I went off to work. Soon as I would return, we would normally head out and I would show them all I could of Brighton. I may have bitten off more than I could chew as I did arrange for the three groups all to stay within a two week period, meaning for a while I lacked sleep, however I only have fond memories (even if they are drunkenly blurry). I will certainly be heading out to Germany to visit them all soon!

Another way you can get involved on Couchsurfing is by going along to your local meet up. In Brighton they happen once a week on a Wednesday. I have sadly only been once, and that time I had a few too many to drink, however it seemed like a great laugh and there must have been a good 25 people there. If there isn’t one set up in your local area, create one and make it in a pub offering great drink deals!

Written by | tombourlet

Tom Bourlet is the creator of Spaghetti Traveller and has been addicted to travelling ever since taking a roadtrip across the USA.

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6 Comments

  1. Stephanie sarkioglu

    August 25, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    How old are you? 20’s? Give me a break- do you know how many people couchsurf who are 40+ in age? They are overgrown hippie nomad wanderers with no life or sense of reality. Not to mention the amount of people who use this as an online dating site- and if that’s what you want, that’s fine, but don’t hide behind the spirit of couchsurfing to get laid.

    • tombourlet

      August 26, 2013 at 3:42 pm

      Ha, I’m guessing you didn’t have such great experiences? I’ve met some great people on couchsurfing, I really don’t think everyone on there is a nutter, but you do have to be careful, and yer there are definitely a few sponges who just want you to pay for their food

  2. Dale

    August 26, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    We’ve clocked up somewhere near 100 days of Couchsurfing over the past year and every single experience has been the best moment from our time in each country we’ve stopped in.

    Honestly, I don’t think there are many other travel experiences that can beat it as you already know šŸ™‚

  3. berba

    February 3, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    Couchsurfing is still great but there is 10% men being a problem on the site. In Dubai for example, if a woman is raped, she would be jailed for this. It is like in Pakistan where 80% of the women jailed are jailed because having being raped. The same law applies. Every time I try nicely to inform women about this, as I surfed not knowing, and took stupid risks, the men on the site, mostly from Pakistan, always delete my comments. And the thing is the safety team seems to always be on their side, saying no women rights activism. In fact it was so obvious the last letter I received from the safety team from a certain Caytee, that I started to have doubt about this Caytee being a woman and being based in United States. As we all know a lot of companies locate their on line services in India. And in India, a lot of workers are from Pakistan as well. So I thought but would it be possible Caytee would be a Pakistanese man, based in India? And if yes, so is it legal from Couchsurfing to pretend to have a safety team run by women in United States when it is in fact men based in India? Which would explain the lack of banner and information in Dubai and the will to not inform women about their rights.

    • tombourlet

      February 4, 2014 at 3:53 pm

      I understand your point and feel the treatment some women face in certain countries is absolutely disgusting, however I would have to disagree with you that the safety team on Couchsurfing are all evil Indian based men. I’m also sorry to disagree with you but I doubt someone from their support team would be making up a fake profile as Caytee, but then again I’m just speculating. Either way, I hope your travels are safe and you never face any of the issues you mentioned

  4. berba

    February 3, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    The safety team seems to be based in India and run by men. It is the biggest problem I can see right now. There is no safety team at all.

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