couchsurfing

couchsurfing.com
0 Voted

Coachsurfing is a global community of travellers and hosts, boasting over 400,000 homes and more than four million surfers every year. Not only is it free, but its platform offers a unique way to meet new people and discover places through the eyes of a local.

 

It’s easy to join, using its simple website or mobile app to create a profile, and once this is done you’ll have access to hosts located in 200,000 cities across the world. There are two options for membership, either free or verified, with the latter costing $60 USD for Lifetime Verification that includes benefits such as ad-free website and being highlighted in search results.

 

Once you have created your profile, including uploading a photo and writing a short bio, you can search for hosts by city and view their profile pages, featuring verified user reviews. This gives a good idea of what to expect from each host, helping you decide on the right place for you.

 

One the features that I think makes Couchsurfing unique is the ability to discover events in the area you’re staying. Much like Facebook events, you can read details of the proceedings, see who will be attending and even leave comments or ask questions. For me, this has been a great resource when travelling to a city alone as it has given me the chance to get involved in events that I would never have normally known about.

 

A drawback to the platform is the question of trust, with regards to both guests and hosts. Both can easily make profiles and start surfing or hosting immediately, with little verification, meaning it is difficult to know exactly what the other person will be like. Although user reviews help to minimise this, when first starting out there is the risk of someone abusing the system for their own gain.

Pros
  • Over 400,000 hosts available to stay with for free
  • Option of Lifetime Verification for $60 USD
  • List of local events
Cons
  • Issue of people abusing the system
  • Sleeping arrangement not to same standard as hotel or hostel