Is “Couch Surfing” Right for You?
You’re young, you want to see the world, you want to meet new people… but you’re short on cash. If this sounds similar to your current situation then couch surfing should definitely be something to think about – but you should take many other factors into consideration.
Couch surfing (the idea of staying with hosts while you travel) has become more common in recent years mostly due to the success of the website couchsurfing.com – a social platform through which travellers (couch surfers) can meet hosts from all over the world to arrange for their travel accommodation. But although couch surfing is readily available and provides a great alternative for travellers on a budget, it’s not meant for every traveller.
Here are a few ways to tell when couch surfing is not for you:
- Comfort is an absolute priority for you.
When you decide to couch surf, you really don’t know what you can expect from your host. Sure, you can chat with them online and even get to look at their social media profiles but “comfort” is a subjective concept and you never know what you might find at your host’s home. Of course, that’s part of the excitement of couch surfing – but if that sounds like too much of a gamble, then couch surfing just isn’t for you.
- You are expecting a free ride
Although couch surfing does allow you to stay at someone’s house with paying rent or a fee per night, this concept does not, in any way, mean that you are entitled to whatever you find in your host’s home. So, if you grab some food from their fridge or have a few of their drinks, it’s only right to make sure you restock what you’ve taken before you leave. Otherwise, think of another type of accommodation for your travels.
- You are travelling with a large group and/or a family
While you may find many hosts who are flexible as to the size of your party, couch surfing was designed for single travellers or couples on a budget. Not many hosts will be able to receive a large group into their home so maybe think of an alternative for your accommodation arrangements if you’re not willing to go through a long selection process.
- You cherish your privacy and alone time
Couch surfing is all about meeting new people – especially your host(s). For that reason, you may end up rooming with your host or sharing a small living space with them – and that’s all part of the fun! You may, on the other hand, end up surfing in someone’s couch who is too busy to spend so much time with you. But, again, there are no guarantees so if you are someone who needs to have their own tidy, private space and some alone time, you may have to reconsider.
All in all, couch surfing is your perfect accommodation choice if:
- You love meeting new people, especially locals, when you travel
- You want to immerse yourself in different cultures
- You are a flexible traveller
- You feel comfortable sharing a (possibly) small living space with someone you don’t know
- You know how to be a polite and pleasant guest to your host
- You love unpredictability!