Couchsurfing: travel with free accommodation

CouchSurfing was a social phenomenon that was born many years ago among Australian and American surfers. These people devised a system in which a surfer stayed at another surfer’s house, met, shared his hobby together and even created bonds of friendship. This project was expanding more and more until it became what it is today.

What is couch surfing?

Now CouchSurfing is an online social network that connects people from different parts of the world who offer travelers who are in their country a sofa or bed to sleep on. If you are traveling in Germany, for example, you can sign up to CouchSurfing and find people from the country who are offering a place to sleep for free. They will value your profile and, if you inspire confidence in them, they will accept you into their home as a guest. Couchsurfing is first and foremost a hospitality service, so the guest does not have to pay for accommodation. However, to register and verify the data on the website, a minimum initial donation of $20 is required if you are a student.

It is safe?

To avoid situations of insecurity or possible scams, Couchsurfing offers a security system based on personal references, verification and endorsements. When a traveler registers on this social network, they must fill out a profile with personal information. That profile is like a resume for companies: it allows both the traveler and the one who offers a “couch” to get to know each other and get an idea of ​​the personality and affinity they may have. In addition, this profile is completed with the comments of other users who explain their experience and rate it as positive, negative or neutral.

CouchSurfing is also in charge of verifying the data of its registered members. Both the name, the address and even the credit card are authenticated. This shows that the profile is not false and that this person is who they say they are. Likewise, users can also endorse other users, thus ensuring that that person is fully trustworthy.

How to be a good CouchSurfer?

To use this social network correctly, first of all you must create a complete profile with photographs and that shows you as you are. Next, to request accommodation from another CouchSurfer, you must carefully read the entire user profile to avoid future surprises. It is important that you feel that you can connect with that person and that you can have a conversation or spend several days together. It depends on the CouchSurfer experience being positive.

Once you think you can get along with that user, make sure you send them a well-worked request. This request will be your letter of introduction and the choice of the host will depend on it, so it is recommended that it be personalized and highlight the aspects that you have in common. If your request has already been accepted, it is a good guest to bring a gift as a token of appreciation to the host. You also have to keep in mind that, even if you are allowed to use the kitchen, the host is not obligated to feed you, so it is important that you buy your own food and drinks.

Finally, even if the experience is turning out to be extremely positive, it can be annoying to drag it out too long. It is recommended that you not be in her house for more than five days. With that time, it is enough to get to know a city and spend a pleasant time in the company of your host. More time would be heavy and uncomfortable for the person who hosts you, who on the other hand must continue with his working life and her daily tasks.

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