For Your Next Trip, 10 Reasons You Might Want to Try COUCHSURFING


Why couch surf? What IS couch surfing you ask? If you want to save money and don’t need to elaborate B&B or 5 star hotel, its an inexpensive option that is growing in popularity.

With, a relatively new phenomenon utilizing online social networking to connect fellow travelers, you can make new friends throughout the world, surfing from couch to couch as you explore new places and cultures. Conceived by a former American college student who wanted to lower the cost of his trip to Iceland, the site was founded in 2003 and has grown rapidly over the last few years, attracting 2.5 million users. Searching for a new adventure this summer? Want to host someone else’s new adventure? Consider the following 10 reasons to couchsurf — you could be in for an experience of a lifetime.

  1. It’s free: is a nonprofit organization funded by donations from its members. All commercial activity is forbidden from the site, which is entirely free to use. Hosts who attempt to charge couchsurfers essentially break the site’s moral code and are therefore removed. Of course, nightly hotel payments can put a large dent in your budget, and for some prospective travelers, they can be the difference between going and not going. The site was created to make such trips possible for young people who otherwise couldn’t afford them.
  2. You choose the hostProfiles enable members to share their personalities, pictures and accommodations. The more information that’s provided, the more likely you are to find the right match. It’s not completely random like a hostel, and you won’t have to deal with the surprises that come with staying with a dozen random people. Ideally, you’ll find someone with similar interests as you — that way, you’re more likely to bond with them and have a more enjoyable experience as a result. When traveling, the social connections you make with new people from different cultures is half the fun.
  3. A good host is your best asset during your travels: If you’re traveling somewhere with which you’re unfamiliar, a good host can act as somewhat of a tour guide, informing you of the must-see sites and events. What food should you eat and where should you eat it? Which places are too touristy? Where are the best places to meet members of the opposite sex? Any possible dangers that should be avoided? You can’t beat the insight provided by someone who actually lives there.
  4. You choose whom you host: It works both ways. If you feel a prospective couchsurfer isn’t a good match and would ultimately be an inconvenience, you don’t have to accept them as guests. You also shouldn’t feel obligated to host someone when you’re otherwise busy and they would become a distraction. Hosting is an undertaking in itself — almost as much time and care should be put into it as when you’re traveling. There’s an unmistakable sense of satisfaction that results from inspiring an experience a fellow couchsurfer will always remember.
  5. Most couchsurfers are young people: According to the site’s statistics, 1,022,273 (38 percent) of its members are 18 to 24 years old, 867,097 (32.2 percent) are 25 to 29 years old and 396,230 (14.7 percent) are 30 to 34 years old. Couchsurfing is an activity for young people who want to explore and have fun. In all likelihood, you wouldn’t find and enjoy the best bars in Paris without a companion with similar social habits.
  6. The most desirable cities have the most couchsurfers: Couchsurfing wouldn’t be as appealing if most of its member were located in undesirable cities. Fortunately, that isn’t the case. The top couchsurfing cities — meaning those in which the most members live — include Paris, London, Berlin, Istanbul, Montreal, Vienna, Buenos Aires, Melbourne, New York and Barcelona. Been there, done that? Overall, members can be found in 230 countries and territories and more than 67,000 cities. You’re certain to find a host in a place you’ve never seen.
  7. It’s a community: Admittedly, couchsurfing isn’t for everyone. It takes a certain personality to thoroughly enjoy it and sometimes even tolerate it. But once you really get into it, you’ll discover it’s an authentic community with local meet-up groups and events. You can search for them on the events forum, where you’re bound to find something in your city.
  8. It’s an easy way to make new friends: The goodbyes you exchange with your host on the day you depart don’t have to be final. If you’ve bonded with them, invite them to stay with you at a mutually convenient time, or perhaps they’ll invite you for a return trip. The most remarkable aspect of is that members have the ability to cultivate worldwide networks of friends. If you really adore your friends in Berlin, for example, the city could become your home away from home, and a foreign haven from the mundane existence to which you’ve become accustomed at home.
  9. Your security is valued: You may have reservations about participating in such a community, and for good reason. Most people don’t trust their neighbors, let alone someone from halfway around the world. The founders of the site know this, and have implemented methods to secure members’ trust. Each profile allows personal references from couchsurfers who’ve stayed with that person and enjoyed their experience. Additionally, an optional credit card verification system ensures a member’s name and address are valid, and a vouching system highlights the community’s most trusted members.
  10. Your privacy is protected: With customizable privacy settings, members can choose what information they wish to display on their profiles and who can search and see them. According to’s privacy policy, “When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected both online and off-line.” In other words, your name, location or anything else you enter won’t be shared with third parties.

Guest post, cross posted over from the folks over at Best Colleges Online.

Renee Blodgett
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
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