Couchsurfing; a great way to meet the locals and stay for freeCouchsurfing is a wonderful concept where local people will let you stay in their place, be it a spare room, hammock, floor space or a couch for free. It’s a great way to make local friends and really find out about the place you are in. The hosts have often couchsurfed themselves while they travelled and are paying back the favor. Anyone can host as long as they have space for someone to stay. It’s a great cultural exchange. Initially, as a solo female traveler, I was a little cautious of using this website. I noticed many male hosts were only looking for female guests and vice versa, so I started with some caution. The best thing is to check out the more experienced hosts who have references from people who have stayed with them before.
How to get started Couch Surfing.
Sign up to the website and set up your profile then simply search for the locals who are available at the time you want to go to that location and ask if they can host you. Some hosts will have time to spend with you showing you around, some don´t. So depending on what experience you are looking for, clarify this with your host first. In any case, you will meet great people to practice the local language with, and find out all of their favorite places to eat, go out, and visit. While it is free, I like to thank hosts for their generosity by cooking something or doing something like buying pizza and some beers. The Couchsurfing website also has a lot of events for each location, like language exchange, meetups, going for drinks, going to an event or exhibition. So keep an eye on that as a good way to meet more people.
I agree with all you have to say about Couch Surfing Emer! It is a very nice option to have. I did some couch surfing myself in Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic and met a lot of cool people through it! The only thing is that you do have to contact the people ahead of time and plan accordingly. Also safety precautions are important but you should be fine if you carefully look at the profiles and read the references!
So true that you really need to think ahead and plan when you are going to be where. Also important for any potential host as they will need to know if they have availability for you. I have found dates flexible within 1 or 2 days but not much more than that!