Is Couchsurfing for You?

Couchsurfing has earned its way as the preferred traveling choice of many. Instead of opting for lavish hotels and paying huge fees, many travelers are now sleeping on couches or in spare rooms of others who open their homes up to these individuals.

Person sleeping on couch

Is Couch Surfing for You? Image thanks to Bogd

Sites like CouchSurfing.org have made this trend even more popular. Through this site, users sign up to either let others stay in their homes or to search for homes in areas they want to visit. CouchSurfing.org currently has users in over 207 countries, making it easy for travelers to find accomodations almost anywhere in the world.

Some people often wonder if couchsurfing is something that they would enjoy. In order to determine if couchsurfing is for you, you need to weigh the advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages

The biggest advantage to being a couchsurfer is that it’s absolutely free. You don’t have to pay a fee to either host or stay, and using a site like CouchSurfing.org is also free. This can be extremely beneficial to anyone who wants to travel on a tight budget.

Sites like CouchSurfing also allow you to find travel options and attractions for free too as well as accommodations. You can hitch a ride with someone driving to (or near) your destination, and you can also swipe theme park passes or tickets to an event from people who aren’t using them. This is a great way to travel to a new place entirely for free.

Another advantage to couchsurfing is that you can meet some new and interesting people in a fun way. Most hosts are usually outgoing and friendly and will introduce their guest to other friends and family members. You could build a great relationship that blossoms into a true friendship.

Having a host also allows you to find great insight about attractions and other things to do in the area. You can learn about great restaurants, fun things to do or even great places to see that you otherwise would not have known about.

Disadvantages

One of the biggest disadvantages of couchsurfing is that you really don’t know anything about where you’re staying or who you’re staying with.

Not sure if Couchsurfing is for you? Check out our guide if Couchsurfing isn’t your thing.

The accommodations may not be as nice as initially presented.  Your room may be small or the couch may be uncomfortable. Plus, there’s always the possibility that your host will be strange.

Another disadvantage is that you’ll have to follow any rules set by the host. Some hosts give you all the freedom in the world and give you a key to let yourself in and out. Other hosts have certain times that you have to be in and out by as well as which rooms in their home you’re allowed to use.

Some hosts may also require you to chip in around the home. For example, you may have to help wash dishes or keep your room clean. It may not be your idea of vacation, but it’s the least you can do to thank the host for accommodating you.

If you really want to travel on a budget and enjoy a new experience, couchsurfing can be a great way to do all of that. As long as you’re okay with following rules of the host as being prepared for strange (and possibly uncomfortable) accommodations, you can easily have a trip of a lifetime.

Lizzie L is a world traveler and Spanish instructor based out of Cartagena de Indias. She loves low cost travel and meeting new friends.