What is couchsurfing and how does it work?
What is couchsurfing?
As an experienced couchsurfer, I would like to
share my knowledge with all those who are not members of this awesome
Couchsurfing is an online platform/tool for cultural exchange. It is good for many things, but mainly for:
- Staying overnight at locals home
Back in the old days we would simply knock on the door of the house when we were travelling and needed a place to stay the night. In many countries of the world, this still works like that.
Now, you can do that on an „organised“ base and organise your „host“ already beforehand. The answer is Couchsurfing!
By doing this, you will learn much more about a culture and how people in this country really live.You will experience the culture and real selfless hospitality that is not based on the usual money - service exchange of modern society.
In many cities, active Couchsurfing members voluntarily organise gatherings, cultural happenings or simply a putluck dinner im the park. No matter if you are travelling or in your own town, there might be something happening just now. Join them! Come as you are. Yes, we WANT you to come alone, so we can get to know you.
Couchsurfing afternoon in the park - one example of a meeting
How does Couchsurfing work?
People create a personal profile on the platform www.couchsurfing.org and add information about themselves. It is important to say who you are and add at least one picture so others can know a little bit about you.
Then they will indicate whether they have a „couch“ available for guests to stay overnight or not. Note: Couch is only a term for a place to sleep. It might really be a couch, it might be a spare room or just floor space. You can only request a couch for profiles with couch availability. You need to request a couch by writing a personal message, called „couchrequest“.
The potential host will then read your message and your profile and decide to accept or decline. You are in full control as potential host AND guest because both have access to the profiles and the persons connections („friends“) and references (given by ther people) and vouches (vouch sb means you express trust in this person).
Let me note something really important here: Couchsurfing is NOT a hotel/hostel service and it is not easy to find a host. It means work. It is not just done by a 5 minute message sent and copy/pasted to 100 people in city X.
If you cannot offer a couch, you can simply change your status to „coffee or drink“. This means that this person is not able to host right now, but would love to meet new people. It`s ok – or even expected - then to ask those for meeting up if you are in a new town. Sometimes I had the time of my life with these people driving around or letting them show me their area.
One host took me cliff-jumping, another one let me join the family-gathering, the next one took me kanoeing, another one to the opening of a new club with view over the entire island of Lanzarote where he was a DJ, the next time my hosts took me for a train ride from St.Petersburg to Moscow on the local train, then I got invited to a swim-tour in the nature with granny-lunch AND dinner, then a bike-ride to Sansoussi castle with a pick-nick ... so many great experiences with I wouldn't want to miss.
If you wish a
time-out from Couchsurfing, there is always the „no“ option..
That indicates you the person is unavailable for the moment.There is no
must and you participate in as much as you feel like: just hosting or
surfing or gatherings or all together!
Why should you start to couchsurf?
Couchsurfing offers you all these benefits:
- unique opportunity to get to know the culture closely and
meet and surf with open minded and non-judgemental people
Yes, we are keen on meeting new, fun people!
People are tolerant and knowledgeable, learn something new from every person
Everybody can join and and participate
It is free to join and free to surf, but please be a good guest!
More questions? Now, what are you waiting for?