So couchsurfing has been around for a while now but it’s not normally until you fall into the backpacker crowd that you hear about this bizarre method of travelling.
Whilst the majority are sceptical and think that it’s dangerous, there are a lot of people that participate and have a great time doing so.
How it works is: You create a profile on the Couchsurfing website or app. On there you can find other users with profiles and look for people in your area, people hosting (which means they have a couch to offer) or people needing a host (meaning they need somewhere to stay). Not only that but you can find events specific to the area you’re in and meet people through attending events.
Users can pay to verify their account so they purchase a membership making them appear more trustworthy but I personally prefer to go on references.
References are left once you have met someone. Kind of like eBay.. You are normally rated on your behaviour so fellow travellers know whether they can trust to stay with you or have you stay at theirs.
Until yesterday I had never actually couchsurfed officially. This is my first experience in Sydney Australia and the only reason I have chosen to trust this person is because of the 47 positive references. I also had to chat with him for a few days in order to feel better about it. I get a lot of offers from people with 0 or 1 reference and I don’t trust them, I need a bit more than that. But you can literally stay with anyone you feel comfortable with. The majority of the time the accommodation is free and conveniently located.
So far my experiences with the couchsurfing app have been really great. On Saturday I attended the event at Mardi Gras where I met some awesome people and they were all from couchsurfing. The great thing about it is it brings travellers together and then opens up future possibilities for you with couches all over the world!
I also did NYE in New York through a couchsurfing event and I had the time of my life! Even attended Sinterklass 2015 a big annual couchsurfing event in Rotterdam. Aswell as events in Belgium, Poland and the U.K.
I’d highly recommend it as a great way of meeting new people from all over the world and potentially friends for life. Not only that but it opens your eyes to new cultures. Just staying with this guy in Australia has shown me inside an Australian apartment that I never would have seen otherwise. He has a totally different lifestyle to the one I lead and it’s actually really interesting to experience.
I know some people may say it’s a risk doing things like this but a lot of travelling involves taking risks and sometimes you just have to trust your instincts and use your best judgement and you’ll be fine.