Travel is an incredibly rewarding experience. Unfortunately hotels and even hostels can be unexpectedly expensive. Couchsurfing is a great alternative to paying for a place to stay, but comes with some unique pros and cons as well.
Check out my quick pros and cons to couch-surfing (and some personal anecdotes) to get a better idea if surfing is truly worth it for you.
Pros of Couchsurfing
Couchsurfing is usually the first thought that comes to mind when attempting to travel on a budget. Sure it’s free, but there are more benefits to consider than just the price tag like it’s unique ability to let you …
Meet New People
There is no better way to visit a new place than immersing yourself within the local culture. Couchsurfing is uniquely positioned as the perfect way to meet a local person and get to know the city through their eyes.
Often times, you’ll only be able to have a truly unique local experience by meeting and staying with a resident – which will usually lead to …
Ever want to bottle a home-brewed Polish beer? How about a private tour through the back-country and ancient Mayan ruins near Cusco? A hands on experience with a honeybee colony? VIP entrance to an exclusive salsa club?
None of these stories would have ever been possible if it hadn’t been for couchsurfing, which is obviously …
Though you may not be living in the ideal situation, no-cost sleeping space may help free up some budget and extend your trip. In certain cases, you may even be able to stay in a room or apartment all by yourself.
Most hosts have couchsurfed before and feel an obligation to paying it forward to other couchsurfers that need a place to stay for a day or two.
Cons of Couchsurfing
You may already have concerns about the safety of such a situation and whether the benefits of surfing is worth that risk. Couchsurfing isn’t without its faults and isn’t for everyone, especially if you don’t like to …
Meet New People
Sometimes what you really want is some space. By couchsurfing, you’ll likely be sharing a small living space as a guest – sometimes even the same bed (yep). This doesn’t quite lend itself to giving you that space.
On top of that – like people in general – not every host is great. Sometimes your culture will clash or there will be language barriers and miscommunication that leads to an awkward or unsustainable relation. Definitely check host ratings and reviews before staying with them so you don’t end up with …
Not all crazy stories are worthwhile. I’m sure I could dig up all sorts of couchsurfing catastrophes online that support this. Especially when combined with the related world of Sexsurfing (yep), things can get pretty weird – especially when your would-be host offers you massages, related activities, and to sleep in his bed (no thanks dude).
On top of that …
It’s Not Really Free
It’s a general rule of thumb that even though you’re not paying for the couch, there is still a value that must be exchanged. Whether that be in entertainment & storytelling or a couple of local beers down at the pub.
It’s only fair – after all, you are staying for free.
To surf or not to surf?
I’ll let you be the judge for your trip. For me, couchsurfing led to incredible one of a kind experience with people that I still keep in touch with today. Definitely take it on a case-by-case basis and always read their reviews.
Have you couchsurfed before? What tips would you tell people that have never couchsurfed? Let us know in the comments below!