I thought I would do a quick post about the beauty of the Couchsurfing world. It’s an idea that I think quite a lot of folk are rather apprehensive to try but honestly, it is a fantastic way of getting around.
If you love to travel and you are looking to keep the costs down then this is absolutely the way to go… it’s free!
Well, free except a £60 registration fee for getting verified but even that is not mandatory but something we wanted to do to boost our chances of finding hosts. So why not try it out?
So here are some reasons why, if you are a traveler then you should certainly make an account on www.couchsurfing.com and if you are a traveler who is getting around by bicycle then you should also make an account on www.warmshowers.org
They are both reciprocal hospitality sites that offer hosts from around the world for you to stay with completely free of charge. All that it asks in return is you would do the same for fellow travellers and it’s something Mel and I are extremely excited to do once we return home.
1. You enjoy meeting new people?
When you choose to travel this way it opens up the doors to meet a whole host of people from all over the globe. I love making new friends and sharing stories with like minded people and this alone is my favourite reason for using these sites. We have been so lucky so far as well to meet the amazing people we have. We now have friends from all over the world.
Here is an example of our review from Santa Barbara and of a great experience through Coushsurfing.
Jessie Hall, Goleta, California.
Mel and his wife Jen are the sweetest. I enjoyed living vicariously through their travel stories and had an over all great time showing them around Santa Barbara. They are so excitable, appreciative and considerate. They are genuinely great company.
We loved staying with Jessie! She was great and a friend for life.
2. The local expertise.
It’s great fun sometimes, figuring things out on your own and fussing over a map and trying to pick what attractions you must see in a new place but it’s great when you have a local, right there you who can tell you exactly where the best place to eat is, exactly where you are going to get the best sunset views and exactly where is cheap! They know the area best are happy to show it off to you.
3. Getting out your comfort zone.
It’s a great way to challenge yourself, try something new and out of the ordinary. It’s a strange experience rocking up to a strangers house to sleep there when you have never met them. Every time we get to the door I am nervous but excited at the same time.
I will talk the back legs of anybody but my husband is more reserved and it’s great for people to put themselves in a situation where you just have to chat away and make conversations. It brings you out your shell and builds confidence.
4. An authentic experience.
You get to truly see how people live in the different countries you visit. It’s lovely being in their homes, meeting their families and pets. We have been so lucky and had lots of our hosts cook a meal for us too. So you get to sample the local delicacies.
In Austria, we stayed in a beautiful house, mountain views, a pond, a vegetable garden. We loved it there and had a wonderful evening with the whole family there, sharing stories and drinks and schnitzel 😀
In Germany we again, stayed in a fantastic house, in the mountains, met the whole family, played with dogs, they picked us vegetables from the garden.
In Munich, a stylish apartment with two very cool sisters.
America, got the all American girl experience with Jessie cooking for us and taking us the beach!
Honestly it’s so great meeting all these wonderful people!
And some of the houses we have stayed in for free, just wow!
And now for the big one…
It’s free! Free, free…Freeeee!
Can you tell I like that word. When you save in certain areas of travel it just means you can go further and that’s all we want. To stretch this out as long as possible and by the kindness of strangers we have come a long way.
It is a really incredible thing and props to whoever came up with idea. Both Couchsurfing and Warnshowers has served us so well so far.
I couldn’t believe it at first, getting to stay in these amazing locations, getting fed, great tips, our own tour guides, I even got a massage off a physiotherapist in Germany as that’s what our host did and it’s all free.
I started out saying ‘ we should give them some money’ but that’s not how it works… that’s against the whole point of it. Money isn’t to exchange hands. It really is Free.
So I always make sure to leave a note, a little doodle or something like that now. Just something to show our appreciation.
If you are travelling, thinking about travelling but wondering about expense, this is something you must sign up for.
We think it’s Fantastic, couldn’t recommend it highly enough.
It’s a huge community that continues to grow so chances of being hosted grow day by day.
And if you struggle to find a host, well this is always an option…