10 Ways To Use Couchsurfing

June 24, 2012 | By | 2 Replies More

What is Couchsurfing? Couchsurfing is a website where you can connect with travelers or locals who live in a place you might visit. You can also use it to meet travelers visiting your city to learn about other cultures. It’s a useful travel resource that can help you save money on accommodations, meet new friends all over the world, and have amazing experiences.

Here are 10 ways you can use Couchsurfing:

1. Meet locals by requesting their couch

If your looking for a place to stay and a way to save money while traveling, you can search the website for a host. A host opens up their home so you can stay for free for however many days they are able to accommodate you. It all depends on the host’s schedule and if you get along. You’ll get to learn how locals live as well as advice and information about the city you’re visiting.

While many travelers may think it’s a free place to stay, it’s really about the hospitality and culture exchange.

2. Host travelers

There are three ways you can host travelers. They can request your couch, you can invite them over to stay, or a Couchsurfer can reach out to you to meet up for coffee or a meal. Some Couchsurfers feel comfortable letting strangers into their home while others would prefer to meet up around town. You can read reviews of Couchsurfers on their profile to see if you feel comfortable hosting or meeting up with them.

Host on Couchsurfing

Find Couchsurfers to host

I’m an active member on Couchsurfing in my community. I hosts guests at home anywhere from one to five nights. I enjoy hosting because I love meeting new people, sharing my culture, as well as learning about the cultures of my guests. We exchange meals. Sometimes I cook or my guests cook a meal from their country. If I have free time, I give my guests a tour of my city and show them places that tourists may not know about or have easy access to. I give my Couchsurfers a super local experience.

3. Find a roommate

If you’re moving to a new city and need to find a place to live, you can use Couchsurfing to find a roommate. Available rooms to rent are usually posting in a forum. It’s helpful that you can read the profile reviews of the Couchsurfer who is renting out a room to see if you’d be compatible roomies or even trust them.

Find a roommate on Couchsurfing

4. Learn from others

If you host at home, stay at someone’s place, or meet up with other Couchsurfers, keep an open mind and you’ll learn from them. They’ll usually share their experiences with you.

I’ve learned a lot from my guests as well as new places to visit. A couple from Austria taught me how to play an Austrian card game. One couple from France showed me some salsa dance moves. Another couple from the French territory of Réunion told me about their island. A guy from the Czech Republic share his volunteer experiences working in disaster response. A girl from Los Angeles explained to me the process of how to get certified to teach English in Korea. My interactions from all of the people I’ve met have been wonderful learning experiences.

5. Get travel advice and information

There are groups (forums) for each city where you can post a question or ask advice from other Couchsurfers. If you need restaurant recommendations, find out what’s going on in town, where to buy a SIM card, or how far you the airport is to your hostel, you can ask the community.

I went to Toronto and wanted to try an Indian restaurant so I posted in the forum asking for recommendations. To my surprise many Couchsurfers in the community posted a list of their favorite Indian restaurants. I went through the list and read reviews on Yelp to narrow down my selection.

Indian restaurants Toronto

6. Find activities and events

You can also use Couchsurfing to find events happening in your city or where ever you travel to.

When I went to Barcelona and Madrid I was traveling with family, but I wanted to meet up with other Couchsurfers. I checked the forums and activity boards to see who was organizing an event. I was able to go clubbing by myself and meet up with a group of welcoming strangers in the Couchsurfing community. We had an instant connection because we’re all on Couchsurfing.

Couchsurfing activities

7. Organize activities

If you’d like to meet new friends or get to know the members of your local Couchsurfing community, you can organize an activity yourself.

8. Hitch or share a ride

There are forums on the site (usually a rideshare sub-group) where you can post that you need a ride. If you’re looking for company for a road trip and would like to split the cost of gas, you can offer a ride too.

9. Language exchange

Many people all over the world that are learning languages are looking for native speakers to practice with. If you’re learning Mandarin and want to speak with someone that lives in China that wants to learn English, you can arrange to meet up online and practice via Skype. You can find these language groups in the forum too!

Learn Mandarin Chinese

10. Make friends around the world

The real advantage of using Couchsurfing is to make friends around the world. If you plan to travel abroad on a budget, you can build your network without leaving your city by participating in local activities, hosting guests, or connecting with other Couchsurfers online.

I’ve actually visited a few of the Couchsurfers I’ve hosted in their home countries.

Make friends Couchsurfing

While you may have thought that Couchsurfing is just used for a free place to stay, it’s much more of a resource to enhance your life. Couchsurfing makes the world a better place through understanding other cultures.

  • If Couchsurfing is new to you, would you be open to hosting?
  • If you are a Couchsurfer, how else have you used the site?

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Category: Travel tips

Comments (2)

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  1. eemusings says:

    We’ve hosted quite a lot of CSers (I quite enjoy hosting – not so much just meeting up for coffee, etc, as I live and work in the burbs so getting into the city is a bit of a hassle). Hopefully we can do a bit of surfing ourselves as we make our way around the world, and we hope to catch up with some of the surfers we’ve met on their home turf – assuming they’re not off travelling again by then!
    eemusings recently posted…Three takeaway foods you can make at homeMy Profile

    • It’s great to reconnect with CouchSurfers you’ve already met on the other side of the world. A CSer I hosted was traveling when I was suppose to be in their city, but they had their family host me still. You might get lucky!

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