I’m often asked about couchsurfing and what I think about it? Have I ever done it? Where? Was it safe? Did I like it? Would I do it again?
I have done it. In actual fact I do it a lot and I didn’t it throughout most of Europe in 2017. Do I use the website? Yes, I’ve tried to find a host few times and I was only successful once but that one time we hit the jackpot. My friend and I couchsurfed in a mansion in LA, we got put up in their pool house just like Ryan from The OC. We could eat whatever we wanted from the fridge that didn’t have a label, shared a huge bed and had our own bathroom. Personally I wouldn’t couchsurf solo of that website. I know some of my friends have and had the most amazing experiences but I also have a few friends that had really strange experiences from cameras in the bathroom to hosts being nudists. When I usually travel my moto is, Its better to be safe than sorry, so I tent do avoid putting myself in bad situations like willing going to a strangers house.
There are comment sections on those websites but I know that my mates that had issues never left the hosts bad feedback (I have no idea why). My tip is that if you do want to use it just make sure they have lots of feedback from girls and guys and perhaps try and catch up with them before hand if you can or always have a back up option if you have to leave in a hurry.
My first couchsurfing experiences was from the website but apart from that jackpot of a host the rest of my hosts have been through friends or friends of friends. Facebook is really great for this, when I am about to go anywhere I always post a status asking for tips of where to go, where to stay and if anyone has any friends there to show me around or offer a couch. If you don’t ask you don’t get, is another quote I go by because you never know what will happen. Last year I messaged all my friends in Europe that I met the year before on my 20 @ 20 trip to see where they will be during the summer. I had so many replies and I just planned my whole trip around who could host me and when, it saved me so much money and I got to experience each place from a locals perspective. My friends also hooked me up with their friends in other cities and I had no hesitations staying with strangers in this case because we had mutual friends.
*EDIT** This trip (Europe 2018) I traveled a little bit with my friend who loves Couchsurfing.com and she got us a few hosts in Eastern Europe. I was really happy to couchsurf through the website because I wasn’t alone. I then decided to try it for myself in Israel and wowza jackpot. I have had some awesome hosts and my views on it have now changed. I would now really recommend it especially in Israel. I know some cities and countries are better for it. So when I was in Tel Aviv I gave it a try and had lots of success and so did my friends the ones that tried it after I shared my experience with them.
Again, make sure you read their profile and references because yes there are still weird people out there and I had an interaction with one of them but luckily it was very evident from his profile.
You can get a pretty good idea about the person from their profile and their references. It is always a good sign if they say that you can arrive at any time and that they left the key out for you. This means that they are trusting and most likely won’t be a clinger and will give you your space.
I always like to check the sleeping arrangements and the address of the place before agreeing to be hosted. If they are weird about giving you that information then they are probably bad news. If you have any doubts at all just don’t do it. Trust me the hassles of a bad experience is not worth it.
On the website I message a few people in the area that are currently hosting but because I only use the free version I have 8 messages a month. This the easiest way to find a host is to actually create a public trip and then people will send you invitations if they have room available for the dates you want.
If you have any other questions please feel free to comment below and I’ll happily answer them!