So you want to travel the world but you’re on a tight budget? Join the club…
What if I told you that on top of recieving free accomodation you could be provided with local knowledge of the area you’ll be traveling to? For those frugal travelers who haven’t heard about CouchSurfing (CS), this is for you. Now that you know the name, open up a new web window and check it out! I’ll wait a minute while you browse…
If you’re like me, stumbling onto CouchSurfing was like someone investing a large sum of money into your travel fund. Sure you may not have the freedom to spend this cash on whatever you want but accommodation is NOT cheap and even when it is, it adds up. If you need actual figures: When my girlfriend and I first started our trip I did a calculation to find out what percentage of our expenses were tied up in accomodation. Roughly 70% was the number I came up with. Think about all you could do with this newly freed up cash. Eat a nice meal, visit another museum, travel longer!
I must admit saving money was the initial and stand alone reason we signed up. But instantly we realized how amazing this network of people is and saving money became a secondary benefit. Now, we hate to travel any other way. Crashing on peoples couches is not a revolutionary idea. CS just organizes this mass social network of travelers who are willing to help each other out into an easy-to-use website.
There are couches all around the world too, you’ll be surprised to see where — “couchsurfing” doesn’t always mean you’ll be sleeping on the beatup couch in a grungy run down basement apartment. In Zurich we stayed with an older married couple who drove a Jaguar and we slept in their ‘meditation room.’ There are not just broke people servicing this site. It’s made up of all types of folks with a wide range of financial circumstances; they do it for the experience and because they prefer it as a way of traveling. Put aside your fears about meeting some psycho or pervert because YOU pick people that you send requests to, and viceversa. And quite frankly that type of person could never exists on CS.
As I mentioned earlier, our CouchSurfing profile was born out of financial necessity. But in our travels and through CS, we have made such amazing connections with travelers from all over the world. It has become more about meeting others and exchanging culture than money, because after all, this is why we travel; to broaden our perspectives and elevate them outside of our comfort zone. If you’re interested in getting more our of your travel experience and meeting travelers from around the world while at the same time saving money, than what are you waiting for?!
Next up – more on “HOW” to use Couchsurfing.org effectively. Stay turned.