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couch surfing

If you've never heard of couch surfing, check out
This seems like a really neat idea to me, if it's done carefully enough. I'm an 18-year-old female but I'll be traveling with a guy friend.
Has anyone heard of this or tried it?
If you have any experiences or advice, please share:)

Posted by
658 posts

It's a network that is based entirely on trust. As we all know human beings come in all shapes and types from the most blessed saint to the most despicable devil.

The idea is that you trust someone you have never physically met. You rely entirely on information posted about them on the net ( the net is not always the most reliable repository of truth ).

You place yourself in the hand of someone who is, in real terms, a stranger.

I did things that were a lot more stupid than that while travelling in the late 60s and early 70s. Sometimes it worked, once or twice it was very unpleasant indeed. It was a case of - hope for the best but expect the worst.

The ultimate question is - would I be happy if my granddaughter did something like this in a few years time ? The answer is an unequivocable NO !

Posted by
272 posts

I have been on this site for about a year. I have met some really cool people. I have yet to surf someone's couch or have them stay on mine, but I have met up with people in Lisbon, Rome and Amsterdam for dinner/drinks and site-seeing. It's cool to know a "local" when you get to a place...someone to show you around, take you to a good restaurant that isn't packed with other tourists and give you tips on things to do see and what to avoid. So even if you don't use this site to find a couch to crash on, it's also a great way to meet new people. All of my couchsurfing meetings were very positive and I still keep in touch with my new friends! Based on these good experiences, I don't think I would hesitate to take it to the next level and stay on someone's couch or offer mine. Happy travels!

Posted by
1 posts

I've been traveling with couch surfing for a while now and I can recomend it whole-heartedly. You get a vastly more intimate picture of a place, and some wonderful conversation thrown into the mix. There are, of course, some dud profiles. True, but you can be extremly selective about who you bother to contact at all.

Saftey issues concern everyone, but you'll find after a while that the kinds of nightmare problems people worry about simply don't happen. The absolute worst I've ever heard of happening involves a couple of instances of petty theft and a few instances in which a young lady was hit on by her hoast. Even these stories are the accumulated "horror tales" over the course of nearly a quarter of a million different hoastings. I have never personally met a single person who has had problems with the system. Among other things it's worth noting that you aren't simply relying upon what people say about themselves, but also upon comments left by previous guests. If you're significantly concerned, do an advanced search, and specify that you want "vouched for" profiles.

On the word of advice side of things, do spend a little time with it. Fill out your entire profile, and take the time to really mull over the profiles of anyone you're thinking of staying with. This is an opertuinity to pick someone your going to live with for the week, or at least a few days. Make sure they're someone you're going to like. Make sure that you have at least a couple of interests in common. And make a point of pointing out why you'd be a lovely kind of a person to have around their house as well.

I can confidently say that I will never travel any other way again.

Benjamin A. Vazquez, U.E.

Posted by
9363 posts

I would never consider doing this. It's just too risky for a lot of reasons. What's to stop someone from posting a wonderful profile of themselves and then "vouching" for their own profile under other names? If I can't afford a room somewhere, I won't go, rather than risk my safety with a stranger.

Posted by
286 posts

I have someone surfing with me now! :-)

As a previous poster mentioned, you can use it just to have a local 'friend' to meet up with in a foreign country. I've done that all over.

You will get a better response with a complete, honest profile. Good pictures help the person make a better judgement whether the risk is worth it.

I would advise you to read profiles very carefully, click on profiles of people who left that person a reference or friend link, look at their groups they are involved with, join some groups... the Independent Women group is a great one for learning safety tips. Look at when people joined and how frequently they host or meet people.

Make sure both you and your friend agree to the host and you are clear what the accommodations will be. Don't be afraid to ask.

ALWAYS have a plan b!! Do not use CS as a way to get a free place to stay. It really is a good community of people.

Last but not least... trust your gut instinct!! I didn't listen to mine once, nothing bad happened but I learned a lesson that fortunately I have passed on my new awareness about how to use the system better.


Posted by
1 posts

I am hosting a guy from France as I write this, I have had more than 50 couchsurfers stay with me this year in California and in Brittany in France and it has been a great experience. I think that the system of vouching and references is pretty dependable so check it out!

Posted by
6788 posts

Sounds like my idea of hell on earth, but I guess there's no accounting for tastes.

I would be very, very wary of getting myself into a dangerous situation. Be careful, and leave yourself an "out".