16 In Travel/ Travel Talk

Couchsurfing- Do or Don’t? Do!

During my trip to Chicago and Milwaukee I got to experience Couchsurfing for the first time.  Couchsurfing is something that I had heard a lot of people mention, but I have to confess that I thought it sounded a bit crazy. I liked the idea, but I still had my mom’s voice in the back of my head reminding me of all the times that travelers (especially girls) are harmed or taken advantage of.  However, when Zach and I started dating he told me about all of these amazing experiences and really great people that he had the opportunity to meet through Couchsurfing, and my worries faded.  I met a couple of surfers who stayed with Zach, and when we decided to go to Chicago and Milwaukee, Zach introduced me to the wonderful world of Couchsurfing.

We stayed with a college student in Chicago and a transportation engineer in Milwaukee.  Both were really interesting people and we had two very different experiences, and I think that that was a good thing for my first time Couchsurfing.  We stayed in a fraternity house in Chicago, and in Milwaukee we had our own separate room with a lot of privacy.  In both cases our hosts went out with us and gave us recommendations of what to do.  I didn’t feel unsafe sleeping or leaving my things there, and both of our hosts were really great about working with our schedule.

Couchsurfing is all about community.  It’s not simply a free place to stay and shower (although it is helpful in making travel more affordable), but it’s about connecting with like-minded people and others who have this insane urge to travel.  I also feel like it is safe.  With all kinds of reviews, you can be selective on who you surf with or host, and trust that they are looking for the same thing you are.  I love the idea of a sense of community, and it reminds me a lot of the sense of community I’ve found here, blogging.  So, I highly suggest looking into this, even if you can’t surf, host!  We all have things to teach and contribute and Couchsurfing allows us to share those things.

I’m really grateful to have had this experience and look forward to having many, many more!  Zach has so many stories about really incredible experiences, and I now want to attempt to do this every time I travel and I am very excited to host my first surfer- hopefully soon!

I found this on Pinterest, and it’s full of a lot of interesting stats about Couchsurfing!

Couchsurfing

Seriously, guys… This is great.  Please share some of your own Couchsurfing experiences or tips!  I want to learn and help others learn more about this great opportunity!

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16 Comments

  • Reply
    ava
    April 16, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    I’ve always been scared to do this as a solo traveller but have heard such great things about Couchsurfing! Thanks for this – maybe I’ll try it on my next trip…

    • Reply
      ashleypaige4
      April 16, 2013 at 7:33 pm

      I think you should definitely try it. Like I said, if you’re uneasy, look for people with a lot of reviews and give it a shot! Thanks for reading and commenting! Cheers!

  • Reply
    Sara L
    April 17, 2013 at 12:29 am

    Really interesting article, been thinking about exchanges and enjoyed your thoughts on the experience. Thanks!

    • Reply
      ashleypaige4
      April 17, 2013 at 7:34 am

      Thank you, and thanks for reading! I think that it’s definitely worth checking out. I hope you have really great experiences, and enjoy it!

  • Reply
    inspiredanthea
    April 17, 2013 at 2:06 am

    Love the post! I tried contacting couchsurfers a few years ago when I was traveling solo to Paris, I wasn’t able to find anyone who was available to host, maybe because it’s too popular a location, but I was definitely worried at first too. I have met others who’ve used it to go to events too when they go to new places and they say it’s a great way to meet like minded travelers. Will definitely have to try in the future.

    • Reply
      ashleypaige4
      April 17, 2013 at 7:38 am

      Thank you! I hear that in really popular locations it can be more difficult to find a host, and that you should start looking a few weeks to a month beforehand. I would love to get involved in the events! I need to look into that too. I think that would be so much fun to talk about experiences and learn about other people’s experiences while in your home town. Thanks for reading! I hope you continue to read!

  • Reply
    liz
    April 17, 2013 at 5:39 am

    I started an account, but haven’t done much with it, since I knew we were moving back to the states. BUT, I entirely plan on being part of the couchsurfing community then… both hosting (besides, who doesn’t want to visit Asheville?!) and traveling as a surfer myself. Thanks for sharing your experience, it only makes me more sure that this is something Lina and I will want to be a part of. 🙂

    • Reply
      ashleypaige4
      April 17, 2013 at 7:41 am

      Um, I know I want to visit Asheville 😉 Thank you for reading! I think you and Lina would make great couchsurfers and hosts! Of course if you’re ever in Springfield, Mo my home is open to you two! (Even without a Couchsurfing account!) Thanks for the comment, and I hope things are going well with Lena! Still thinking about you two!

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    annekebab
    April 22, 2014 at 6:10 am

    Thanks for posting! I have always been curious about couchsurfing but definitely have that “mom-voice” in my head, too. I’m taking a west coast road trip this summer with a friend, maybe we’ll give it a try!

    • Reply
      PaigeBrown
      May 6, 2014 at 7:49 am

      It’s totally worth it! You meet some really great people, and I genuinely believe that it has enhanced my travels! Let me know what you think, if you use it!

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Clazz - An Orcadian Abroad
    July 15, 2017 at 3:27 am

    ANTARCTICA?!

    • Reply
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      July 17, 2017 at 4:01 pm

      Haha! Looking for a host? It looks like there might be one! 😉

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