Eight Reasons Why Everyone Should Try Couchsurfing at least Once.
We always meant to try Couchsurfing. However for a variety of reason we didn’t get around to it until we got to Argentina (10 months in). There’s Couchsurfing hosts in every major city willing to open their doors and offer you a couch (or room if you’re lucky) for a few nights. What originally began as a money saving exercise soon turned into a lot more than saving cash. We’ve only Couchsurfed a handful of times so far but each experience has been enriching for different reasons.
1. Local Connections.
Couchsurfing hosts tend to be outgoing and ready to show you their town. This often provides a whole new perspective to a destination not readily found in the guide books.
2. Getting to Meet Real Locals.
We were invited to a graduation BBQ for our hosts friend that turned into an all night fiesta. We left at 5am after drinking and dancing to traditional Argentinian ‘cumbia’ music most of the night.
3. Discovering Secret Attractions.
Hosts know where to go to get off the beaten track. Drinking maté (local tea) while watching the sunset from remote mountain cliff tops will go down as one of our favourite memories from Argentina.
4. Making New Friends.
Legends. Every one of the hosts we’ve had have been stand up human beings. Social, kind and generous. If they’re ever in Sydney or London, we’d put them up in a flash.
5. A Break from Hostels/Traveller Chat.
Sometimes the repetitive hostel chat can get a bit tedious and you need a bit of time out. Meeting locals give you the opportunity to break out of that rut.
6. A Deeper Experience.
You get further into the culture than you could ever hope to on your own. We ate and drank with locals till the small hours, meeting family members and making meaningful connections.
7. You Get to Stay in Some Cool Places.
We’d have never got to stay in our own cosy cottage if it wasn’t for Couchsurfing. The beauty is you never quite know where you’re going to end up.
8. Free Accommodation.
While it’s so much more than a free place to stay, it’d be disingenuous of me to say it isn’t one of the benefits of using Couchsurfing. Just remember to pay back that karma further down the line.
Couchsurfing is relatively safe and most people on there are awesome. However you should always consider the potential negatives.
If it feels weird it probably is. Make sure you check reviews before arranging to meet.
Sometimes hosts can cancel last minute leaving you in the lurch. Make sure you have a back up plan just in case.
While we’ve generally been lucky, don’t expect a palace.
Check where they are and how you can get to them. It’s unlikely most hosts will be slap bang in the middle of town.
Couchsurfing is awesome and we recommend it to every traveller. However keeping a balance is also important to us. We like to mix it up and maybe connect with a host once or twice a month. With the mobile app it’s easy to find someone that you think you’ll gel with. Download and find hosts near you (Android users click here). Just remember that this is a giving community and only works because everybody pays back in at some point.
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