Today I’m going to tell you about absolutely amusing phenomenon of couchsurfing. If you have chosen this way of travelling, you will open plenty of opportunities to visit various parts of the world, especially if you are young or limited in finance. Also, it is one of the most intriguing ways to travel.
In a nutshell, what is couchsurfing?
The main idea of couchsurfing is a hospitality exchange. Today people from Australia stop by your place, and tomorrow you are at host’s somewhere in Indonesia. You can visit someone who have already been to your house or meet up all together and go to somebody else.
You can’t let people stay at your apartment? Be welcoming! Show them round your city, give advice on best places for sightseeing/photo-shooting or invite them for a drink. This barter doesn’t require any expenses and both sides are satisfied. Because couchsurfing is not just about economy, it is a way to get new friends, an unforgettable experience and practice your foreign language.
The main web resource for low cost travelling is the portal of the same name couchsurfing.com.
It is a social network which unites over 1,5 million people from more than 230 countries. The sign up is free and takes less than 3 minutes – after email verification you become a full club member and you can start surfing.
Couchsurfing allows you to get to know people better. It is unpredictable, adventurous way to explore the world and its main advantage is an opportunity to dive deeply into the everyday life of absolutely foreign culture.
Some people even think that couchsurfing is a state of soul. Here are some advices collected to help the newcomers.
1. Set up your profile
The first impression is always important. And depending on how do you look and how you present yourself at your personal page, other people decide whether to invite you or not. Indeed, it is very important for the host to understand what kind of person you are and how much pleasure the communication will bring. Give a detailed description of yourself, your hobbies, interests or occupation. Add some funny pictures, point out where you’ve been already and which languages do you speak or you would like to improve. The more real details you give, the higher the chance that another person will get interested and will want to invite you.
2. Make sure to contact the host personally!
Find the profile of your future householder, read reviews and comments of other couchsurfers. You can easily check out how popular the particular host, how often does he/she get online, are there other couchsurfers who recommend the place. With such information you can safely go to visit there)). After you chat with the householder, send him a couch request. It will guarantee that the host will not forget about your visit and will meet you on time.
3. Talk about housing conditions soon after the contact.
Accommodations could be different – from a separate apartment with all conveniences, three course meals and guided excursions to just a free space in the common room (so you’d even have to bring a sleeping bag). You might be asked to pay for the phone expenses or share household duties. Have a conversation onthat beforehand to avoid unpleasant surprises afterwards.
4. Be friendly, keep the company!
The main stereotype that couchsurfing newcomers should get rid of is the thought couchsurfing is just a “free-of-charge accommodation”. A person inviting a couchsurfer gets a “payment”. An accommodation payment is a good mood and interesting stories. Talking with the visitor is a good way to fill up your stock of knowledge with useful information, advices, worldly-wisdom or just to have a great fun.
The luckiest couchsurfers are those who are friendly, sociable, smiling and can be an interesting to talk about the places where he had visited.
5. Respect the host
The last but not least rule of successful couchsurfing is being polite. If someone has invited you, better follow these simple rules. Behave yourself properly, don’t be rude or bold. Do not raise topics relating to politics, religion or money. You can act as a listener, but try not to engage in debate with the host (well, at least as long as you do not become a close friends). Some people just want to be listened, in this case just be patient and listen with attention and understanding.
To sum up, I’d like to say that if you like to travel on your own, want to know about the other countries more, than they write in National Geographic and you’re not afraid to make friends with people, you should definitely join the community of couchsurfers.
And even if you’re not ready yet to jump into local routine and do not want to stay at someone’s place, try to contact with local people next time you’re on a travel – I guarantee that you’ll get way more exciting impressions!
Post is written by Marylin J Ryder.
Im a professional blogger and a freelance writer. My passion is travelling around the world and participating in various volunteering programs.