I was so inspired by the format last week of asking bloggers and online travel writers to provide their favorite posts for the Vagobond Travel Museum, I decided to do it again! This week’s theme: Couchsurfing!
First of all – yeah. I met my wife when I couchsurfed with her family here in Morocco. Our daughter is the trophy of that success story. But you guys know all about that.
For those who don’t know, Couchsurfing.com is holding a video contest where they are giving away two tickets around the world. You can see all the videos at http://www.aroundtheworldcontest.com - if you want some travel inspiration – just go watch a couple of those videos. Here’s one of them that I really liked. It’s called Couchsurfing in Prague – Espresso Yourself.
Here are some great tips and stories about couchsurfing from some of the top bloggers on the web.
Aleah Phils from Solitary Wanderer on the Couchsurfing Project.
Lee Carter of Global Goose on Couchsurfing in Winnipeg, Canada
“With a warm and welcoming smile, Jacques met us at the train station in Winnipeg and took us to his apartment in the beautiful St. Boniface area of Winnipeg. When we arrived there was a hot pot of chili on the stove ensuring that we were not hungry from our long journey. During our five day stay in Winnipeg our kind and peaceful host went out of his way to make sure that we had a great time and that we got a great glimpse of what his city had to offer.”
Alexandra Kovakova of We Travel Around the World writes about one of the big problems of couchsurfing – Sex and Couchsurfing
“Once a guy was hosting me in a big city. I came to his apartment and found out that the ”couch” was just an inflatable mattress with no space at all, breathing just against the huge TV or into his face on the bed just next to it. Not fun!”
Amy of Don’t Ever Look Back shares Why Couchsurfing Works for her
“It’s not too often you get a cultural experience while watching television. While I was staying in Pompeii, my hosts pressured me to cut my visit to the site of Pompeii short so I could join them for the Naples-Rome football match on TV. I’m not much into football, but seeing a dozen Naples fan screaming at the TV made for a memorable non-touristic experience.”
“Couchsurfing is often heralded as being a “free” way to travel. By staying with locals you can dodge expensive hostel/hotel stays. Vicky and I have made great use of this both during our time in Washington DC (hosting) and most recently in Japan (surfing). We’ve come to realize a few things, one of which is that Couchsurfing, while cheap, is most definitely NOT free.”
Lillie Teacha Marshall of Around the World L writes a great how to couchsurfing post with some tips you may not have heard elsewhere – from Ghana!
“In my case, I posted a hello message on the “Ghana” CS Group, and within a week had about seven return messages with volunteer opportunities– one of which I’m happily serving in right now!”
“All I can do is share our experiences with you and let you decide what’s right for you. Miro and I have had nothing but positive experiences. We’ve been involved in the project since 2007. We have hosted, surfed and attended and arranged events.”
Here’s another couchsurfing podcast from Heather Cowper of Heather on her Travels. Actually it’s about Couchsurfing’s older brother Hospitality Club..
Green Global Travel shares the facts and fiction of Couchsurfing in this very informative article.
“One of the first questions I get about CouchSurfing is, “Aren’t you scared?” The answer is no, I’m not. On different continents, in different cultures and in different languages, I’ve found that people are inherently good and decent. But the CS website also has some safety-minded checks and balances in place. First, there’s the profile: If someone’s profile is lacking info, don’t send them a request or accept theirs. Second, there is the vouching system“
Nora Dunn of Wise Bread takes a different tack with a great article about how to get free beds and paid jobs on boats.
“For two months, I lived and/or sailed on five boats spanning three countries. In so doing, I stumbled upon an entire culture, community, and way of life that is sustainable, adventurous, and full of variety.”
Gypsy Nurse has a great first timer article about Couchsurfing.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better couch-surfing experience. M&M were great hosts. I arrived on the Mr’s Birthday and was invited to join them for a Birthday dinner. We enjoyed a great Italian style pizza and had a home-made birthday cake for dessert. After dinner, M&M took me to St. Anthony Falls and bridge. We couldn’t have timed it any better as we arrived right as the sun was setting along the city”
Finally, my friend Annabel Candy of Get in the Hot Spot shares a few other ways you can skip paying for a bed (or how to get a free household helper!)
“I got the most amazing gift last week from my old friend Mishi Moo Cow (not her real name) in New Zealand. Mishi sent me a lovely 29 year old German woman called Handy Hilde (not her real name either) who’s staying with us for a few weeks while she looks for work in Australia.”