Who has never dreamed of discovering new countries, meeting people all around the world, trying new experiences, all of this for free? I am sure YOU did! Well, Hibiscus & Nomada found the solution for you to realize your dream. Okay, it’s not really for free… But it might be the best deal to travel on budget.
If you are a traveler and you never heard about Couchsurfing, you definitely missed something. But don’t worry we are going to tell you everything you need to know!
Couchsurfing is a travel community of 14 million locals and travelers around the world. Locals are hosts that offer to travelers to stay for free. If you are looking for a place to stay, you just have to connect with hosts online and to wait for them to accept. Couchsurfing also provides a list of events where you can meet other travelers. The whole concept is made for people who want to interact with others, meet new cultures and share lives.
Because we really want you to be convinced, we interviewed Juan who is a Couchsurfing host in Buenos Aires, in Argentina.
Interview with Juan, Host in Buenos Aires
Can you tell us about your experience with Couchsurfing ? I discovered Couchsurfing in 2015 thanks to a friend at the university. I started as a pay member in May 2015. My first guest came in September 2015. Now I have 135 guest references, and I received almost 150 travelers from 29 nationalities.
What made you decide to start hosting? I have a Mexican friend who started Couchsurfing in 2013 in Italy; she was looking for a way to travel on a budget. In 2015, I visited her in Tulum, when I was there she was hosting Couchsurfing . This is how I experienced Couchsurfing for the first time. This is also what decided me to try it in my house in Buenos Aires.
What do you like the most with hosting people? I like to learn from other cultures, others languages, ways to see life, but also to practice my English.
What do you do make people feel comfortable at your place? I can give information about my city, maps, directions, etc. If a host a single traveler, I try to host other single traveler so that they can spend time together because on weekdays I work so I don’t have much time to share with them.
Did you have any bad experience? No bad experience. Most of the guests I received are first time Couchsurfers and young people 18-20 years old. Sometimes, they think my house is a free hostel or hotel, so I have to explain simple rules about cleanliness for example.
Do you have any anecdotes to tell? I shared two Christmas nights and one New Year’s Eve with guests and my family. It was very funny to explain why in Argentine we don’t eat like in Europe in winter time, when it’s 40°C instead of cold temperatures. We are crazy people.
What would you like to tell to people who hesitate to try the Couchsurfing experience? I read the references and try to find out what is the digital life of my future guest. If all sounds good I accept or offer to stay in my house. Sometimes Couchsurfers create fake names without references, no description; it’s a bad way to find a host. I think giving the key of your house to a stranger is the most difficult part. But if you are not ready to do it, you can implement a schedule indicating when Couchsurfers can leave in the morning and come back in the afternoon.
Julian , one of our Contributing Travel Editors and a regular user of Couchsurfing is telling us about his experience.
- Couchsurfing allows you to discover the country through local lens and make things you won't have done alone. An American host offers me to discover a river float around Charleston, i.e. grab a rubber wing, some food, some beers and some friends and let the float brings you in the river. It's a perfect way to have an American experience and talk to amazing people!
- Couchsurfing isn't just hosting people, it's a way to make new friends! A couple (a Belgian guy and a girl from Ecuador) I hosted invited me to their wedding in Ecuador, unfortunately I couldn't come. Another couple I hosted (one English guy and a Dutch girl), welcoming them with the Eye of the Tiger (the song) after their exhausting hitchhiking, invited me to their birthday in the Netherlands and it was an AMAZING party!
- Couchsurfing is a great way to be introduced to new things and cultures. A French host introduced me to Korean relaxation! A fun experience!
Now that you have a good reason to travel on budget, you can go on Couchsurfing.com to create your profile and connect with travelers ☺
IF YOU ALREADY EXPERIENCED COUCHSURFING , PLEASE LET US KNOW, WE WILL MAKE A COMPILATION OF THE BEST ANECDOTES IN A FUTURE ARTICLE!