Couchsurfing.com is closing in on one million couches surfed; no small feat since this free, internet based hospitality service launched in 2004. With more than 230 countries represented and almost 55-thousand cities with couches to crash on, one can travel the globe on a budget, meet cool people and even get some insider travel tips. The mission of the innovative site is: Participate in Creating a Better World, One Couch at a Time. For a small fee, that includes a personal vouching system, (much like E-Bay) members can coordinate their free accommodations with like-minded folks from Brazil to Belgium, Israel to Indonesia.  I haven’t officially joined but I do recall staying in a lady’s home in Prague soon after the Velvet Revolution. The sheets were the whitest and crispest I’d ever seen and the generosity immense. Tea bags were still precious and used numerous times. Breakfast was a homemade, simple type of pound cake… I’ll never forget that experience. In broken sign language and French, we learned that our hostess was a ‘peepee lady’ at an Opera House. She worked cleaning the ladies room and was supplementing her income by taking in foreigners for a fee. CouchSurfing.com doesn’t charge, but guests are allowed to offer a thank you gift. It seems like more than just a free place to stay, friendships are created and folks act as ambassadors for their culture, counteracting, perhaps, some of the negative effects of globalization.

Filed Under Budget Travel, Culture, Feature, Hostels, Student Travel, Travel, Travel Tips


Comments

One Response to “Couch Surfing”

  1. Lisa F. on March 18th, 2013 11:49 pm

    My husband and I have been Couchsurfing members for about 6 months. We have hosted twice so far and both have been positive experiences, meting wonderful people we never would have met otherwise. We look forward to experience being hosted in the near future. Learning about your destination from actual residents and interacting at a personal level is what I believe travel to be all about.

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