4 pros to traveling by CouchSurfing.
There are dozens of pros to CouchSurfing, one being that it WAS totally free, but for brevity, here are 4 pros to traveling by CouchSurfing.
I’ve discovered CouchSurfing (CS) in 2012 from an Italian friend. I will never forget that evening, I was hanging out with her in her small Italian apartment and she randomly asked me if I wanted to go with her to a “CS meetup”.
I asked her what that was and where it was. She responded and a couple of hours later we were at the event, it was “okay”.
It was a free social networking event that was arranged by another person, who we might or might not have met that evening. There are CouchSurfing etiquette, there are dozens of things you shouldn’t be be doing while using the CS platform.
A couple of days after that, I was hanging out with her again and she mentioned that she would be hosting a Couchsurfer (CSr) later that evening.
Surprised and shocked, my thoughts were: are you crazy? Do you even know this person? They could be a serial killer or worst?
Those questions are all valid, I’ll add and whenever I tell my friends of CSr I will host or have hosted, they would always ask me those same questions, verbatim.
Ahhahah! We humans are somewhat predicable, which is somewhat sad and boring.
Little did I know how those 2 small introductions to CS would allow me with life long survival skills, helped me make friends with people from all over the planet, and permits me to have dozens of local adventures unbeknown to the majority of tourist and travelers alike.
Below are 4 pros to traveling by CouchSurfing.
#1: CS was
free but now charges a small fee (post the COVID-19 Pandemic)
Prior to May 2020 you could create a CS account for free and send out requests to dozens of potential hosts and if they accept you, you could stay with them for free.
Unfortunately due to COVID-19 pandemic one of the many negatives that resulted from the pandemic is that CS announced it now requires a subscription fee to use their platform.
As a result some of its alleged 14 million users have either jump shipped or temporarily stopped using CS.
In addition, CS provides many resources like a extensive directory of its users, groups, blog posts, a virtual traveler community.
When CS was free I used it as both a host and as a surfer which is why I generally praise the idea behind the concept of CouchSurfing. Click her to read 3 things you shouldn’t do when you are staying with a host.
That’s one of many ways I’ve been able to travel so frequently and with little cash. I was able to save a huge amount of money by not paying for hotels, hostels or Airb&B for most of my travels! Click here to read about my first trip to Japan where I CouchSurfed with different Japanese hosts and had one of the best adventures of my life.
I’ve met over 100 people from various ethnicity, religions, genders, and class.
Either way I had less than a handful of not so misadventures on CS mainly because of the surfer’s personalities, they were weird/ they had personal issues.
However, that is a small number when compared to the dozens of other out of this world positive adventures I had while CouchSurfing!
#2: The CS platform has structure and is more transparent
Just like any good thing, there are always alternatives and competitors to everything.
But in relations to CS, many of it’s competitors lack structure, they run solely by hiring volunteers.
This might not seem like an issue for you if you just want to experiment with these platforms but for me I always caution on structure, plan, and transparency.
In case something bad happens I know who to contact for accountability or for reporting a crime/ my concern. Many of CS’s competitors lack CS alleged 14 million users, they also lack transparency.
Transparency in the sense that you cannot contact support for an emergency, you might be lucky if you can find an email address but good luck getting a reply in a timely manner or a response at all.
My account was created on two of CS’s competitors and I sent an email to test how effective/ efficient they are, this was last June 2020, as of Feb 2021 I still have not received a response to my inquiry.
Yes I’ve also checked my spam and junk folders to no avail. -____-
Not bashing them, I know how difficult it is to run a business especially when their is little to no funds being generated from it.
#3: CS has notoriety and is also very popular amongst Travelers
CS is popular amongst the in crowd, it’s mainly known by well connected tourists and is generally used by experienced travelers. Click here to read the differences between tourist and a traveler, which are you?
Either way though, just like all popular things, some bad people have used the platform to satisfy their own selfish nefarious needs which has caused the platform to be in the spotlight.
There are several cases where mainly predatory boys have used CS to lure, drug and rape naive and vulnerable tourists.
There was also another case where a 25 year old Egyptian-American woman allegedly used CS to travel to Nepal and was never seen alive again.
Some people also use the platform to hook up with people.
It’s unfortunate that those people suffered by using CS however, that is a minority of cases. Just like with everything else you use in your life (i.e. your phone, using the internet, driving, cycling, or walking day to day) please use common sense and protect yourselves.
There are ways you should use CS and ways you SHOULD NOT use it.
Look for red flags and if you see them get yourself out of that situation ASAP! Don’t allow yourself to become a victim!
#4: CS’s objective was and is still revolutionary in it’s unique way
You can have your own beliefs about CouchSurfing’s platform however many pros or cons you can think of, I still think they are leading the way for travelers to connect with locals in a foreign country.
Though some people prefer to have a tourist experience, I prefer to have a local experience in contrast to an over-hyped, congested, and shallow tourist trap laden adventure any day!
But to each their own, if you haven’t used CS, check them out and maybe give it a try or nah.
Have you used CS before? How was your experience?
Please share and comment.