See The World For Free
If you want to see the world but are on a strict budget, the latest trend is to try couch surfing. What exactly is couch surfing you ask? Well, it’s an online forum, like social media, where like minded people get together and arrange to sleep on a fellow member’s couch for free while traveling. It’s an exciting idea, and allows people to travel the world and see exotic locations, big cities and tourist resorts at a fraction of the cost of a regular vacation. Of course couch surfing isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve decided to give it a go, here are some helpful hints to assist you in planning your couch surfing trip.
Sleep On A Stranger’s Couch
It does sound like a crazy idea, but there are over a million people registered with the Couchsurfing.com website, and countless people choose this style of vacation time and again. There are many benefits as well as the low cost, including having the advantage of knowing some locals who can help you find the best places to visit and give you guided tours, and of course, the social benefits of making new friends. Here are some planning tips to get you started on your adventure.
Choose A Destination
Where would you like to visit? The world really is your oyster as there are registered couch surfers in over 200 countries worldwide.
Write Your Profile
Create a truthful profile, making sure you include plenty of information about yourself as this will help you when it comes to finding a suitable host. Remember to add photos of yourself so that you can establish visual contact be fore arriving on your host’s doorstep, they are more likely to trust you if they know what you look like.
Find A Matching Host
Search for a host that is a good fit with you. There are plenty of search criteria that you can use to hone down possibilities until you find the ones that are likely to work well with you. Think about their age, where their home is located, whether they are male or female and any other keywords that you find relevant.
Read Profiles Thoroughly
Once you have narrowed down your selection, read through the host profiles very carefully to make sure that their lifestyle fits in well with yours. Remember, you will be living in close proximity to these people so it is essential you both feel comfortable with the situation.
Request A Hosting
Once you have found a host and location that suits you, send a polite message asking if it would be acceptable for them to let you stay on particular dates. In some areas, you need to send a message well in advance as demand is high, for example in capital cities like London. In others, it would be best to wait until about three weeks before you plan to travel in case your host forgets that you are going to be arriving! Remember to include personal information in your message, telling your potential host something about yourself, pointing out anything you have in common and why they would be a good match for you. Once you have established contact, share phone numbers or email addresses to use to communicate in future.
Have A Wonderful Free Vacation
Once you have arranged your couch surfing host, you simply plan the rest of your vacation as you would for a traditional hotel stay. Book your travel and any activities that you have planned, and enjoy saving money on accommodation costs! Have a great couch surfing trip!
The Popularity of Couch Surfing
Couch surfing has become increasingly common in recent years. A lot of young people are finding themselves without homes of their own, and so are many older people. Rents have become much more expensive. Many people are having a difficult time finding a job that is actually going to cover their rent. A number of couch surfers do have jobs, but their jobs are low-paying enough that they’re still moving from home to home in order to keep roofs over their heads. These people are technically homeless, but they are not living outdoors, and they have access to all of the normal facilities of a person living indoors, making this a good alternative in many respects. However, couch surfing is not without its own risks. Fortunately, there are ways of minimizing at least some of those risks.
Safe Couch Surfing
The people who have had the best couch surfing experiences usually did it with friends. They moved from one friend’s couch to the next friend’s couch, and they were often able to save money in the process. They completed this pattern until they were able to support themselves. However, not everyone has such a large circle of supportive friends, so this comfortable option isn’t going to work for everyone. It should also be noted that this is far from a stable situation. Plenty of people who are in this situation find themselves getting kicked out of their temporary homes unexpectedly. People in this situation are still not safe.
People who need to couch surf with strangers should go online. There are couch surfing directories online where people will share their willingness to take in couch surfers, and there will often be reviews attached. Experienced couch surfers will review specific homes, giving some direction to the couch surfers who might be interested in trying out some specific homes. Couch surfing has become popular enough that it is just another part of the new sharing economy. This should at least mean that couch surfers will find it easier to separate the safe households from the potentially dangerous ones.
Couch surfers should obviously rely on their own instincts. If they see anything suspicious about a new household, then they should reconsider whether or not they want to stay there. If they notice any obvious red flags, then they should keep in mind that there are plenty of places to couch surf these days, and there is no real need for them to get as desperate as many people may have been before the Internet. While some couch surfers may go out of their way to try to defend themselves in bad situations, they’re better off trying to avoid those situations in the first place.
The Reliability of Couch Surfing
It is possible to do couch surfing in a way that is relatively safe and relatively reliable. People at least have more resources that they can use today. However, couch surfing is ideally a temporary solution, and not something that people should rely on for long periods of time. Treating it as a temporary solution is the best defense.