This weekend was full of small random adventures. It started with me going to Cartagena, not knowing anyone there and never having been there before. Before the weekend was ended I had 7 new good friends, done trekking, cliff jumping, tried fishing octopus with hands (a friend managed anyway ;o), went into a military base and down into an active submarine, traveled to Murcia for a festival and survived a lot of partying and crazy driving. Sleeping I did first night at a nice girls (and her mother’s) home, and next night we slept 8 people (who did not know each other from before) in a flat somewhere in Murcia.
How was all this possible? Well it’s easy, thanks to a website called CouchSurfing.
CouchSurfing is a website where you meet people all over the world, most with traveling as a common interest. The members of the site can choose to host people, which means that people they have never met will sleep in their couch, extra bed, floor or whatever is in their apartment. The idea is NOT to offer a roof over the head though, but to meet people and learn about their culture, and making new friends all over the world. You can choose if you want to host someone at your home, [sleep at someones] couch or just meet people over a beer or show them around your city.
This is also a great way to learn more about your own city, both because people ask you a lot that you then want to learn, and because travelers tell you about their experiences in your town (or you join them in experiencing new stuff).
After creating an account on you can do a search in the town you are traveling to, or even in your home town if you just want to meet new interesting (almost all are!) people. If you want to stay at someones home there are several ways to check them before if you feel insecure with this idea. First you can see their verification level, that is, if they have verified the address where they are living. Then read their profile and get a feeling about the person. The last (and best) way though is to see the persons references. If 20 people have met up with the member before and are all writing good stuff about her/him, why would your experience be anything but brilliant?
When you have found your host, send him or her a message (couch request) and tell why you want to meet them and stay at their place. In the beginning or if you are not used to travel, you should have a backup plan if something goes wrong. A good idea is also to have the phone number of your host, and try to send him or her a message before leaving to see if the number is correct.
If you still are insecure about the idea of staying in a strangers house, then start with just meeting someone for a chat, and you will soon be as addicted to the website as I am!
Some statistics taken from the website:
|Positive Experiences||3,599,635 (99,994% of all experiences!)|
Good luck! I look forward to hear about your great experiences!
Oh and by the way, my total travel budget for this weekend was less than 9 euro.